Hudson graduate Brian Winters drafted by New York Jets

by Allen Moff | Staff writer Published:

Kent -- It took the New York Jets only minutes to inject Brian Winters into the middle of their six-headed quarterback controversy.

After taking Kent State's star offensive lineman in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft with the 72nd overall pick on April 26, the Jets lobbed a question at Winters that caught him completely off guard.

"They asked me what quarterback do you feel should start," Winters smiled. "At first it kind of shocked me they would ask me that. It was an out-there question, but I had to answer it. It was kind of funny."

Winters came through with a politically correct answer, the kind that will help keep him out of trouble with the New York media.

"I asked which one, there's six of them," said Winters. "I'm a fan of (Tim) Tebow. (Mark) Sanchez is a great quarterback, (West Virginia rookie Geno Smith) is a great quarterback, too. I said they're all great quarterbacks, it just depends on the scheme."

The light moment was welcomed by Winters, who has admittedly been "edgy" in the weeks leading up to the draft.

"This whole month leading up to it was very stressful," said Winters. "I was edgy the whole time, didn't know where I was going to go."

After watching the first round of the draft April 25 night with his family, the former 2009 Hudson High School graduate chose to isolate himself from almost everyone on April 26 - the day he expected to be taken.

"I just knew the second day I wanted to be alone and not near anybody," said Winters. "That was how I wanted to handle it, the right way to handle it because I didn't want any extra stress on top of me during the process. (My family) respected the decision I made. They said it was my day, and they knew my stress level at the time.

"I went to the Residence Inn in Cleveland and was just hanging out waiting for the call, just me and my girlfriend in the room."

Isolation did little to calm Winters' nerves as the draft unfolded.

"I was a little nervous coming out of the second round. I was biting my fingers, wishing for the best," said Winters. "Then I got the call from a New Jersey number, and it lifted a weight off my shoulders."

Jets coach Rex Ryan was on the other end ready to welcome Winters with open arms.

"Rex Ryan called and said we want you to be our guy here playing left guard," said Winters. "We want the tenacity you played with at Kent State. Then I talked to the owners. I was really excited about the call."

Winters was a little surprised that the Jets wound up being the team that picked him.

"I thought they were kind of interested, but I really didn't feel they were a team that was going to be after me," said Winters. "Obviously they needed offensive linemen with their season last year. It's a great situation to be in."

After the draft process finally came to a close, Winters was able to truly relax for the first time in months.

"I met (my family) later that night. They drove out (to Cleveland), and we kind of celebrated a little bit," said Winters. "We went to the Corner Alley bowling alley and just hung out as a family, just relaxed. A big weight was off my shoulders."

Winters strolled into Saturday's Kent State Spring Game shortly after opening kickoff and spent time talking with teammates and fans at Dix Stadium.

"I'm so happy with the opportunity that's in front of me," he smiled. "I'm excited."

Winters will report to the Jets' rookie camp on May 9.

Email: amoff@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9445

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