Mike Tannebaum is heading into his sixth draft as the New York Jets General Manager. Like every other man in his position around the league, his track record has a few blemishes, which make you cringe when looking back at the decision. However, on the whole Tannenbaum has proven himself to be bold, creative, and a very good decision maker.
He built the core of this team by taking two offensive lineman in the first round of his first draft as GM, when many were clamoring for a quarterback. D'Brickashaw Ferguson is a Pro-Bowl caliber left tackle and Nick Mangold is arguably the best center in the NFL. The following year he supplemented those selections by trading up for Darrelle Revis and David Harris, who are currently the Jets top two defensive players. Revis is the best cornerback in football and Harris is one of the top young inside linebackers in the league.
Tannenbaum moved up to get his franchise quarterback in 2009, who already has four playoff wins in two seasons. Beyond that, he has added productive starters like Dustin Keller, Shonn Greene, and Matt Slauson, along with key role players like Drew Coleman, Eric Smith, and Brad Smith. Despite all the headlines their free agent moves and trades receive, the Jets team that has been made two consecutive AFC Championship Games was built through the draft and mostly through Tannenbaum's selections.
The decision to draft the "core four" and trade up for Sanchez, give Tannenbaum a little slack for bombing with the Vernon Gholston pick. You can't pin the blame of that selection all on Eric Mangini because Tannenbaum ultimately had to sign off on it. He also may have missed with Kyle Wilson, Vladimir Ducasse, and Joe McKnight who were alarmingly unproductive in their rookie year. Hopefully, they will turn it around in year two or the class of 2010 may turn out to be a dud. Regardless, Tannenabum has the faith of the fan-base, which isn't an easy thing to do in this city.
You have to respect his aggressive style, which is frequently criticized until those players he aggressively pursued are leading the Jets to playoff victories.
Tannenbaum doesn't have much to work with this year, as the Jets have the 30th overall pick in the first round and only six total selections (they are without a second rounder). However, don't underestimate his ability to pull a manuever or two, whether it is moving up or down, that will allow the Jets to have a productive three days of drafting. The Jets need to make the most out of these six picks, witha roomful of free agents staring them in the face and holes to fill on both sides of the ball.
The Jets GM has five full seasons under his belt with four winning records, three playoff appearances, and four playoff victories. In such uncertain times around the league, the Jets are in good hands.