‘Tis the season of speculation, and with our “pals” in the mainstream media relentlessly pushing their tired, negative agenda, I figured what better way to ignore the pessimism, than with little Draft Day trade foolery?
Sitting with a grand total of seven picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, and with a number of roster spots still needing to be filled, General Manager John Idzik & Co. could certainly benefit by increasing their odds this April. As we witnessed from 2008-10, poor drafts can have a devastating impact on an organization. And as the Jets attempt to regroup following the Mike Tannenbaum Era–one that saw the Jets trade up at least once in five of the last six drafts–a change in philosophy would certainly be as refreshing as it would be effective.
While reports have surfaced that the Jets are willing to trade down in the first round (a rumor that can be attributed to almost every team in the league this time of year), the absence of top-tier talent in this draft class has the Jets in a precarious position.
Consequently, the perceived value of the No. 9 pick is diminished, and with it so are the trade down possibilities for New York. But while there may not be as many opportunities to add picks this year, there are opportunities nonetheless.
Although some fans are torn between using the first round pick to address needs on the offensive line or at the quarterback position (if you’ve been reading the past few months, you know I’m not a fan of either of those options), it’s outside linebacker that tops the wish list of most. And judging by the turnover at the linebacker position this off-season, it’s easy to see why. While the addition of free agent Antwan Barnes will offer the team a talented situational pass rusher, by no means does it fix the overall issues at the position.
So while draftniks everywhere speculate about the Jets’ selection at No. 9, debating the potential of guys like Dion Jordan, Ezekial Ansah and Barkevious Mingo, I’m left wondering if there are any other scenarios the Jets faithful can hope for on Thursday, April 25th?
Obviously, this can all change if Darrelle Revis is sent packing and the Jets are handed a first round pick in exchange for the All-Pro corner–the recent report that Tampa Bay is willing to give up the 13th pick is currently dominating my TL. But for the sake of this article (and my sanity) let’s assume Revis and the Jets agree to a contract that keeps him in New York for the next five or six years.
So what needs to happen for the Jets to acquire additional picks?
Well, to put it bluntly, the Jets will need some luck. Ideally, a team in the 20-25 pick range will be compelled to move into the top 10 in search of one of the top quarterbacks. But with the less than exceptional group of QB’s in this class, the likelihood of that happening is slim. So while Geno Smith, Matt Barkley or Mike Glennon could go in the top 10 picks (anything can happen), it’s unlikely that a team will be pressured into giving up picks to climb into the top 10 for one of them.
Maybe a team will want to move up to grab an OLB such as University of Georgia stud, Jarvis Jones or FSU defensive end Bjoern Werner? This too doesn’t seem likely, as both have the potential to be gone by No. 9, or still available for the taking in the 15-20 range. As is the case with the quarterbacks, teams will likely be compelled to either leapfrog the Jets and secure a pick in the top 5-7, or sit back and hope the prospect slides to them.
OK….So the trade down opportunities are thinning. But I saved the best for last, leaving us with what may be the deepest first round talent pool in the entire draft; the offensive line.
With six offensive lineman capable of going somewhere in the draft’s top 15-20 picks, there’s a decent chance one of the teams trailing the Jets may be compelled to move into the top 10. And while tackles Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher will almost certainly be off the board at No. 9, Lane Johnson, Chance Warmack, Jonathan Cooper and D.J. Fluker should all still be available. With that in mind, teams in search of help up front (Chicago, Indianapolis, Green Bay, and Pittsburgh, among others) may have interest in improving their draft position in order to secure first round talent on the offensive line.
Based on the NFL Draft Value Chart, the Jets’ No. 9 pick has a value of 1350 points, while the 20th pick (Chicago) is valued at 850. So what’s that mean?
Well, in short, it means the Bears (or whichever team trades with New York) need to make up the difference somewhere. Most likely, they’ll offer additional picks, coming either in the 2013 or ’14 draft. And while a trade from No. 9 to No. 20 won’t net the Jets a ton of picks, it could result in an extra third rounder–if not more.
In this scenario, the Jets could move out of the top 10, still come away with a quality contributor in the first round, and add draft picks–which translates to more prospects, and of course, a happy fan base.
The idea of a team trading into the top 10 isn’t as far fetched as some may think. There’s talent in this draft, and although there currently aren’t any clear cut favorites emerging in the top 10, some of the highest-rated prospects can be found on the offensive line.
If there’s one thing we can count on, it’s that there are prospects in this draft class that current NFL teams hope continue to fly under the radar. And as we approach the draft, many of those names will heat up, leading to altered big boards and increased trade intrigue within the top 10.
So while we continue to speculate on who the Jets will select in Round One–debating the upside of guys like Mingo, Warmack, Jordan and Ansah–don’t forget the possibility that the patient “Lord Idzik” is already plotting his move down the draft.