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Could the NY Jets trade down in the first round of the draft?

Calijah Kancey, New York Jets, NFL Mock Draft, Pitt Panthers
Calijah Kancey, NFL Draft, New York Jets, Pitt Football, Getty Images

The NY Jets could choose to trade down from the No. 13 spot in the draft

The New York Jets have looked to make a splash in the last couple of drafts.

In 2021, it was swapping first-rounders and sending two third-round picks to the Vikings to draft Alijah Vera-Tucker. Last year, it was trading up for Jermaine Johnson and Breece Hall, leaving the Jets with no picks past the fourth round.

This year, though, the stakes are different. Joe Douglas has signaled that he is going for a championship with his pursuit of Aaron Rodgers. That means filling specific needs, not just looking to increase the overall talent level of a team severely lacking it, as it meant in the past.

This begs the question: will the Jets look to trade down from the 13th overall pick if there’s no player who fits their needs? Douglas has never traded down in the first round before.

No. 13 needs

The Jets’ most obvious need is at offensive tackle. Relying on any two of Mekhi Becton, Duane Brown, and Max Mitchell to start is a risky move. Doing so with a 40-year-old quarterback at the helm is outright boneheaded.

The problem is that all three top tackles could be off the board by No. 13. The consensus big three are Pete Skoronski, Paris Johnson Jr., and Broderick Jones. Interestingly, the current “consensus” mock draft has Broderick Jones going to the Jets, while Skoronski is not the consensus to any team.

Still, the Raiders (No. 7), Bears (No. 9), Eagles (No. 10), and Titans (No. 11) could easily take a tackle. In that case, the Jets could be torn between trading for a lower-ranked tackle, picking at a different position, or trading down.

The other need the Jets could theoretically fill at No. 13 is defensive tackle. Al Woods is visiting the team, but signing him would not preclude taking a DT. Jalen Carter would obviously be a dream, but he’s not meeting with teams outside the top 10 because he’s confident he’ll be taken before then.

The next-best graded DT is Calijah Kancey. He has the speed and penetration that the Jets like in their IDL but is small (6-foot-1, 281 pounds) and has short arms (30 5/8 inches, seventh percentile among DL). Kancey is ranked 23rd on the consensus big board and is considered more of a late-teens, early-20s pick. The same situation could arise: overdraft or trade down?

The problem

The biggest issue with trading down in either of these scenarios is simple. The only way anyone can trade down is if they have a partner. In what is considered a relatively weak draft, how many teams will want to trade up?

Of course, if one of the top quarterbacks slides, it’s possible that a team does trade up. Will Levis is the most likely candidate. Still, if he does slide, that likely means teams don’t like him enough to draft him early. Will someone trade up to 13 to take him?

The other player who could theoretically be available at 13 is Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Of course, if the Jets don’t sign Odell Beckham Jr. (or DeAndre Hopkins if he is released), they can and likely should draft JSN themselves. Still, if they did sign another receiver already, there could be several teams who would want to trade up.

JSN seems unlikely to go past the Texans at No. 12, though. That is his spot on the consensus big board.

If not a quarterback or JSN, who else is someone trading up for?

Overdrafting

If the top three tackles are off the board and the Jets can’t find a good trade partner for the No. 13 pick, chances are that they’ll just take the next-best tackle on their board at that spot. Darnell Wright is gaining momentum, as his current consensus mock draft slot is No. 19 to Tennessee. If the Titans went tackle at No. 11, taking Wright at 13 is not the end of the world.

The issue with Wright is that he’s a right tackle. However, if the Jets are going “best tackle available,” they might decide that fortifying the position group as a whole is most important.

There are also a couple of decent tackles who could fall to the second round. Dawand Jones and Anton Harrison both have second-round grades. Each one has knocks—Jones for his sheer size, a la Becton, and Harrison for his mediocre ceiling and lack of athleticism.

In this case, the Jets could also choose to simply go best player available. This could well be a tight end in Michael Mayer or Dalton Kincaid. It’s not the most likely proposition, but adding weapons to the offense is never a bad idea.

Overall, the chances that the Jets trade down in the first round are not all that high. The main reason would be the lack of a trade partner. If one of the top three tackles is on the board there, I don’t think there’s too much of a question. If they’re not and JSN is gone, things could get interesting.

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dudizt
1 year ago

I think I’m weak drafts, teams are more willing to trade up then in strong drafts. Weak drafts have limited top options whereas in a strong draft teams may be ok waiting as there are more options on the board. They may not give up future picks, but see as lower picks this year as less valuable, given it’s a weak class.

I don’t know if the Jets and 13 fall into that sweet spot, just my opinion on that philosophy.

Matt Galemmo
1 year ago
Reply to  dudizt

I think “weak draft” is too broad a statement. I think the consensus feel is that there are few top-end talents in this draft, but the middle rounds feel pretty stacked to me–and then if you look at specific positions the picture becomes even clearer. 13 might not end up a good spot for the Jets, but depending on how the first twelve go, it could be a very good spot for another team.

Rivka mentioned Levis, but a run on edge in the first 12 could be in play. If four of Wil Anderson, Tyree Wilson, Luke Van Ness, Nolan Smith and Myles Murphy are gone, the 13th pick jumps in value. Same can be said for CB, with Gonzalez, Witherspoon, Banks and Porter being the consensus top tier.

That said, who’s likely to give up a day 2 pick to move up for an edge or CB? I’m hoping it happens, because I would like the Jets to be somewhere around 20 and select whomever falls to them–Broderick Jones is not out of the question at 20, Wright, O’Cyrus, or Kancey. Odds are one will slide.

Maybe we see 4 QBs, 3 edges, 3 CBs, Carter and JSN go top twelve, and all three of the tackles are there. It could happen.

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