FLORHAM PARK, N.J.
Mike Tannenbaum has earned the nickname "Trader Mike'' for his penchant for making deals on draft day - or any other day, for that matter. The list of deals is long and impressive: Darrelle Revis, Mark Sanchez, Shonn Greene, Dustin Keller, Brett Favre, Antonio Cromartie, Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards. All of them acquired either in draft-day move-ups or straight-up deals for picks.
But through the first two rounds of this year's draft, Tannenbaum did not live up to his moniker. In fact, by his standards, he was downright boring: Two rounds, zero trades.
After his second-round selection of Massachusetts offensive tackle Vladimir Ducasse, I asked Tannenbaum if he was going through any withdrawal symptoms from not making any moves.
"We tried [to trade]," he said. "We did a lot of practice trading. I thought I made some really good ones."
Actually, he tried to make a few small moves in the first round - in hopes of getting the player he eventually landed without having to make a deal. Once the Patriots took Rutgers cornerback Devin McCourty at 27, it cleared the way for the Jets to take Boise State cornerback Kyle Wilson, a kid who was regarded by some teams as a top-half-of-the-first-round prospect.
In this case, patience paid off.
"We really felt like we wanted to add a corner," Tannenbaum said. "Once we had signed Jason Taylor, he allowed us to break the tie between getting a pass rusher or a corner. They kept falling, and we felt that something good was going to happen there. There was a group of players, and we felt like we could let the board come to us."
That kind of patience is anathema to Tannenbaum, who sometimes seems addicted to making trades. Unlike most NFL general managers, who aren't nearly as aggressive in dealing away players or picks - or both - Tannenbaum is quick with the trigger finger.
But this time he got his guys without making any moves. And even though he didn't have a pick in the third round, which he surrendered in last year's deal to get Edwards, Tannenbaum looks at it this way: "We've got Kyle, Vladimir and put Edwards in for our third-round pick,'' he said. "I think we've helped our team."
Wilson's aggressive style fits in perfectly with Rex Ryan's hyper-aggressive defense. He joins a secondary that boasts the NFL's best cover-corner in Revis and a ball-hawking corner in Cromartie. In a system that relies heavily on using defensive backs, Ryan can never have enough corners. And by all accounts, Wilson figures to be a good one.
Ducasse might take a little longer to contribute because he's still somewhat raw. He came to the sport after emigrating from his native Haiti to Stamford, Conn., late in his high school career. He starred at Stamford High and went on to excel at UMass.
No, he didn't play against the best competition in college. But scouts were in general agreement that Ducasse has the kind of talent to make it in the NFL. And with a highly regarded offensive line coach in Bill Callahan, there's no reason to think Ducasse can't emerge as an eventual replacement for aging right tackle Damien Woody. Or possibly left guard Alan Faneca, who might be phased out.
Tannenbaum coveted both Wilson and Ducasse and appeared willing to deal to get one, or both. In the end, he didn't have to make any sacrifices - and got his guys anyway.