It has been an excruciatingly long wait but we are here. NFL Draft weekend. This is an absolutely critical three days for the New York Jets. Let’s jump right into a final batch of observations, predictions and whatever information I have been able to gather, which is likely all smokescreens anyway!
1. The New York Jets have done an inordinate and noticeably high amount of pre-draft work on quarterbacks. Does that mean they are necessarily taking one at 18? No. It could be for scouting purposes or to bait teams into trading. Despite the surprising amount of time spent focused on the position and increasing rumblings that they would strongly consider one in the first or second round, it would come as a major surprise if they select one before the third round. The Jets are going to leave this draft with a quarterback but I don’t think it is until late Friday night or Saturday. Two names to keep an eye on in the late rounds: Tahj Boyd and Logan Thomas.
2. They have had an aversion to the tight end position in recent drafts but I think this is the year the Jets add one, if not two new players at the position. CJ Fiedorowicz is somebody to watch, along with Troy Niklas. Even if the Jets find their way to Jace Amaro early in the draft, I don’t think that stops them from adding a more blocking focused tight end in the later rounds.
3. Despite some reports to the contrary, the Jets aren’t seriously considering Kelvin Benjamin with the 18th pick.
4. What of all these TRADE UP REPORTS? The latest buzz is them targeting a swap with the Tennessee Titans (pick #11) which sounds more like smokescreen guesswork since John Idzik has worked with Titans GM Ruston Weber in Tampa Bay and Seattle. Unless Mike Evans or Sammy Watkins inexplicably drops that far, I can’t see them that aggressively pursuing Odell Beckham Jr or maybe Darqueze Dennard or Eric Ebron. Moving up 3 or 4 spots? I could see that. Into the top ten or even to #11 would be very, very surprising unless somebody unlikely is tumbling down the board.
5. I will say this, don’t expect the Jets to leave this weekend with 12 players. They are going to move up at some point or look to acquire a veteran (watch the cornerback and safety market). The standard line of thinking is that John Idzik is super conservative but I think he may surprise some people with the nature of some of his moves in the next three days. As I referred to in point 4, a major trade up would be very surprising but a few spots? Not so much. Also keep an eye on them being aggressive in the second and third round.
6. Have heard from more than one person that the Johnny Manziel to the Cowboys talk is legitimate, even to the point of a few people guaranteeing it will happen. It sounds INSANE to me but you know who is INSANE? JERRY JONES!
7. Despite fervent efforts to trade out, my money is on Houston staying put and taking Jadeveon Clowney.
– Will the Jets stay at 18? Yes
– Will that be the Jets only 1st round pick? Yes
– Who will it be? Brandin Cooks, WR
– Will the Jets stay at 49? No
– Will they make a 2nd round selection? Yes
– Who will it be? Jace Amaro, TE
– Will the Jets ignore OLB in the first three rounds again this year? Yes
– How many final picks will the Jets make? 9
– Who is a mid-late round player who will end up a Jet? CJ Fiedorowicz, TE
First Round Happiness Meter:
– Realistic players I’d love at 18: Beckham Jr, Cooks, Dennard, Ebron
– Realistic players I’d like at 18: Lee, Dix, Pryor, Fuller, Barr
– Realistic players I wouldn’t complain about at 18: Verrett, Su’a-Filo, Gilbert, Mosley, Amaro, Ford
– Realistic players I don’t want at all at 18: Quarterback, Benjamin, Roby, Shazier, Ealy
9. IF the Jets do trade up in the first round to land a wide receiver, I’d guess Stephen Hill is traded by the end of the weekend for a late round conditional pick.
Enjoy it, Jets fans. MUCH more to come throughout tonight and tomorrow.