|Keller, Henry hope to add new dimensions to Jets' offense|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 03 May 2008 00:39|
After a few minutes, Henry stood up to give everyone a better view. He stretched out his 6-foot-4 frame and towered over much of the crowd.
That's exactly the type of presence the Jets want Henry to have on the field.
``I don't know what the fans can expect, but I think I'm the type of receiver that's a big target and can go up and get the ball,'' Henry said at the start of the Jets' rookie minicamp Friday.
Henry and first-round pick Dustin Keller, a 6-2 tight end, could add another dimension to the Jets' offense that they were sorely lacking last season. New York's tallest returning wide receiver is Brad Smith, who's 6-2.
The Jets went into the draft targeting some bigger and faster targets, starting with Keller. The front office was so impressed with the Purdue star, New York traded back into the first round, acquiring Green Bay's pick and making Keller the first wide receiver or tight end taken in the draft.
``I was surprised by the trade,'' Keller said. ``I was on the phone as the trade was going on, so I didn't know they were going to move up to the 30th pick. I had an idea that in the second round they might pick me. But it was kind of a surprise for it to be at 30.''
It also stunned the large contingent of Jets fans gathered at Radio City Music Hall - so much so that they booed loudly when the selection was announced.
Not so fast, Jets fans.
Keller is certainly not the prototypical tight end who blocks and occasionally goes out for passes. Rather, he's a speedy receiver who just happens to line up at tight end. Keller gives quarterbacks a big target in the middle of the field and he has the speed to beat pursuing linebackers.
``Right now, I think that's the thing I bring most to a team,'' Keller said. ``Hopefully, I can improve on the little things as well as the big things, such as blocking, and become a complete tight end.''
Keller, who originally went to Purdue as a wide receiver, had a terrific senior season for the Boilermakers, catching 68 passes for 881 yards and seven touchdowns while earning team MVP honors. That came a year after he had 56 catches for 771 yards and four scores.
Linebacker Vernon Gholston, the Jets' other first-rounder at No. 6 overall, went head-to-head against Keller last season when Ohio State beat Purdue 23-7. Keller had seven catches for 101 yards in that game.
``He's a great athlete and, going back to our game against Purdue, he was one of the main threats we were worried about,'' Gholston said. ``He made some big plays in that game and I'm sure they're expecting the same things from him here at the Jets.''
Because of his ability to catch passes, Keller has often been compared to Indianapolis' Dallas Clark.
``He's a great player,'' Keller said. ``I watched him over the years, but I'm trying to be my own player and be the best I can possibly be.''
Henry has also heard his share of comparisons during the past few weeks, with some bringing up the Giants' Plaxico Burress.
``Plaxico is a good receiver,'' said Henry, listed at 207 pounds. ``I don't think I'm anywhere near him. Hopefully, I can develop my game here with the Jets and be that type of receiver.''
That's the plan, at least. Henry, who isn't the speediest of receivers, is expected to give New York a goal-line option who can reach over smaller defensive backs, providing a complement to veterans Laveranues Coles (5-11) and Jerricho Cotchery (6-foot.
``I don't have any (expectations) right now,'' Henry said. ``I'm just focused on learning the playbook and trying to get on the field.''
Henry had a breakout season last year for Kansas, catching 54 passes for 1,014 yards and 10 touchdowns. Jayhawks coach Mark Mangino was so impressed with Henry's development over his four years, he called the receiver ``a steal'' in the sixth round.
``When I hear something like that, it boosts my confidence up a lot,'' Henry said. ``I'm just excited to be here and help out anyway I can.''