By Ernie Palladino
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It’s nice that the Jets got a potential pass-rusher in the middle front like first-round DL Quinton Coples of North Carolina.
But the draftees you really want to watch for the next couple of years came in the sixth round, where Mike Tannenbaum used his two compensatory picks on a pair of guys from Baylor. Assuming a steady progression path for both, Terrance Ganaway and Robert Griffin could become a run/block combination of the future for Gang Green.
Wait a second, you say. Didn’t Robert Griffin go in the first round? Like the second pick? And what’s a quarterback doing blocking?
Well, no, that’s a different Robert Griffin. He’s RGIII, as opposed to the Jets choice of Robert T. Griffin, a 6-6, 335-pound guard who plans to take the “T” out of his name as soon as he pulls a Jets jersey over his head. We assume fans will have no problem differentiating the two in future non-conference matchups with the Redskins.
We’re not saying this combination is going to have the same explosive potency as the offensive punch Indianapolis put together by consecutively drafting Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck and his favorite receiver, tight end Coby Fleener, with the top overall pick and the second pick of the second round. That one could turn into a Peyton Manning-Dallas Clark type of connection in a year or two.
But Ganaway, a beefy 6-0, 234-pound running back, and guard Griffin could make for a productive combination down the road, especially if Shonn Greene doesn’t get back to the power style that earned him a starting spot two years ago.
“He’s an aggressive back that runs through tackles and hits the hole,” said Griffin, nicknamed RGII one day in practice, of his once and future teammate. “He can also burst out and score touchdowns.”
Ganaway proved that by setting Baylor’s single-season record with 1,547 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns as a senior. His three 200-yard rushing games equaled the total number of those the school collected in 109 previous seasons.
It will be nice having an All Big-12 guard who can also slip in at tackle blocking for him. Griffin knows Ganaway’s moves, knows what to expect, and that always makes things smoother.
Considering new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano appears hellbent on returning the Jets to the Ground-and-Pound game of their two Championship Game runs, Ganaway fits right in. Of course, he’ll have to wait his turn behind Greene and Joe McKnight.
But if he and Griffin wind up starting together down the road, it will make for a nice combination. In their case, familiarity won’t breed contempt, but could foster much productivity.
And for those who want to pass these guys off as throwaways because they were comp picks, keep in mind that Giants featured back Ahmad Bradshaw was a 2007 seventh-round comp pick. He was just a hair away from undrafted free agent status.
Anybody want to argue about his worth?
Even if Ganaway and Griffin prove out as a great short-yardage team, the picks will have been well worth it.
And it certainly will make training camp a lot of fun between defining Ganaway’s place in Sparano’s run-based offense, and the opportunities 2010’s second-round bust Vladimir Ducasse has created at guard.
Sometimes the best picks are the ones you make down the line.
Keep an eye on these two.
What are your expectations for the Baylor boys? Be heard in the comments below…