Darnell Wright, NY Jets, Trade, Aaron Rodgers, NFL Mock Draft,
Darnell Wright, New York Jets, Getty Images

Will the New York Jets’ first-round pick swap have a substantial effect?

The New York Jets finally completed their trade for Aaron Rodgers.

While the primary components of the deal are a 2023 second-round pick (No. 42 overall) and a conditional 2024 second-round pick that has a high likelihood of transferring to a first-round pick (Rodgers must play 65% of the Jets’ offensive snaps in 2023), there was an interesting quirk thrown into the deal: a first-round pick swap in 2023.

The two teams are situated very close together in the draft order, so it’s a relatively trivial pick swap. Green Bay will move up into New York’s No. 13 slot and New York will take a two-spot drop into Green Bay’s No. 15 slot.

How does this pick swap affect the Jets’ outlook in the first round? Let’s dive into the ramifications of this specific aspect of the Rodgers trade.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba is likely off the table, further increasing New York’s odds of drafting an OT

One of the major storylines surrounding the 13th overall pick was whether the Jets would pass on an offensive tackle in favor of Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba if he were available.

In all likelihood, that discussion can now be put to rest.

The Packers were already expected to have a high likelihood of drafting a wide receiver with the 15th overall pick. Now that they’ve moved up to the No. 13 spot, they’ve leapfrogged the Patriots at No. 14, who are also expected to be in the market for a wide receiver. This means the Jets now have two more WR-needy teams ahead of them than they previously did, which all but eliminates the chances of Smith-Njigba being available when New York is on the clock.

It’s not even a guarantee that Smith-Njigba even gets to No. 13, but if he does, it’s highly unlikely the Packers pass on him; after all, many believe the Packers’ primary motivation for the pick swap was to beat New England to Smith-Njigba. And even if the Packers somehow pass on him, the Patriots will be waiting to scoop him up.

Barring a shocking turn of events, Smith-Njigba will not be on the board for New York. This further increases the odds of New York selecting an offensive tackle, as it seems unlikely that any other non-OT prospect would tempt the Jets enough to pass on an OT. The Smith-Njigba storyline was based around the idea that New York might have seen Smith-Njigba as the best player available if he were on the board, but there’s a noticeable drop-off at wide receiver after Smith-Njigba.

There no longer seems to be a realistic scenario where the Jets come onto the clock in the first round and view a non-OT as a good enough prospect to bypass their greatest need.

The Jets’ odds of getting a preferred OT may have decreased slightly: Could this mean a trade-down is now more likely?

Green Bay and New England are both considered strong candidates to draft wide receivers. However, I don’t think either team can be ruled out from selecting an offensive tackle.

The Packers’ projected starting tackles are David Bakhtiari and Zach Tom. Bakhtiari is a star when healthy, but he will turn 32 in September and has played only 24 games over the past three seasons. Green Bay needs to prepare for life after Bakhtiari.

As for Tom, he was a fourth-round pick in 2022 and started only five games as a rookie. He showed promise but is not a player who should be considered a penciled-in starter.

With the Packers preparing to usher in Jordan Love for his first season as a starter, their primary goal in this draft will be to strengthen Love’s supporting cast as much as possible. Wide receiver might be their primary goal, but if they don’t like how the board shakes out for them at wide receiver, they could pivot to the offensive line.

The Patriots’ projected starting tackles are Trent Brown and Riley Reiff. Brown will probably retain his starting role and is a good player, but he will be a free agent after the year. Reiff is a middling 34-year-old starter on a one-year deal.

Now that Green Bay is ahead of New England, there is a stronger chance that Green Bay takes a wide receiver New England was planning to take (specifically Smith-Njigba), which could push New England into pivoting to the offensive line.

When the Jets were in the No. 13 spot, there appeared to be a good chance that two of the consensus top-four tackle prospects (Peter Skoronski, Paris Johnson Jr., Broderick Jones, Darnell Wright) would be available – with Jones and Wright being considered the most likely prospects to reach No. 13. But now that New York is at No. 15 with two teams ahead of them who could take a tackle, the outlook is a bit murkier.

It seems very unlikely that both Green Bay and New England draft a tackle, but there is a realistic chance that one of the two will go the OT route. In that case, the Jets would be left with only one player from the consensus big four.

If the Jets like each of the top four tackles enough to draft them at No. 15, then this scenario wouldn’t be a problem. They’ll just gladly take whoever is left.

But what if the Jets don’t like the best available tackle enough to draft with the 15th overall pick? Whether this player is Broderick Jones or Darnell Wright, there is certainly a chance they are not high enough on New York’s board to be considered worthy of a top-15 selection.

As we discussed earlier, it doesn’t seem likely there will be a can’t-miss prospect who slips to No. 15 and forces the Jets to take them over an OT. So, if the Jets are sitting at No. 15 with three of the top tackles off the board, and they don’t like the last one enough to draft him there, could they trade down into a sweet spot of the first round where they can grab an OT for better value?

That definitely seems like a more realistic possibility today than it did prior to the Rodgers trade. In comparison to staying put at No. 15 and forcing themselves to reach for a prospect they don’t love enough to draft in that slot, the Jets might be happier with taking a slightly lower-ranked prospect later in the first round and adding extra draft picks in the process.

It all depends on how the Jets’ board looks. If they agree with the consensus, they will have no problem drafting Broderick Jones or Darnell Wright at No. 15. Both players are generally considered worthy of the 15th overall pick by outside observers.

But if the Jets are much lower on a prospect than the consensus, there is a good chance they will try to trade down into a spot where they feel better about the value they can get at the tackle position.

The pick swap increased the chances of this scenario happening. At No. 13, it seemed likely the Jets would have at least two of the top four tackles available to them. With two options at their disposal, the Jets would almost assuredly like one of them enough to select them. But there is now a realistic scenario where only one of the top four tackles is available, in which case the Jets could very well not like that particular prospect enough to draft him at No. 15.

Don’t overlook the effects of this pick swap being included in the Rodgers trade. Sure, it could end up having no impact whatsoever, but it could definitely end up having a substantial impact – and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a negative impact. The Jets could end up feeling great about the altered outcome that stems from the swap.

Stay tuned. This pick swap will certainly play a pivotal role in what happens on Thursday night.

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Michael Nania is one of the best analytical New York Jets minds in the world, combining his statistical expertise with game film to add proper context to the data. Nania scrapes every corner, ensuring you know all there is to know about everyone from the QB to the long snapper. Nania's Numbers, Nania's QB Grades, and Nania's All-22 give fans a deeper and more well-rounded dive into the Jets than anyone else can offer. Email: michael.nania[at]jetsxfactor.com - Twitter: @Michael_Nania
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7 months ago

Hit me like a ton of bricks before. What if they don’t love any of the OT at 15, trade down and take Torrence the consensus best guard and move AVT to tackle for the year? AVT, whoever wins the other OT competition in camp and the best of McGovern or the rookie we draft at C? Best 5 players available

Last edited 7 months ago by Jimjets
Peter Buell
Peter Buell
7 months ago

I’ve read that KC Is looking to move up with a possible trade with the Giants to draft Jalen Hyatt of Tennesse.
They need to jump ahead of Dallas who have eyes on him as well.
If Pete Skorinski isn’t on the board at 15, which I feel is unlikely Joe D should be talking with KC.
Moving up to 15 gives them more potential options at WR and for a bit more in draft capital they might assure noone jumps them and have an outside chance at Njigba. A good chance at Zay Flowers and a surety of tge afore mentioned Hyatt.
Since they’re always near the bottom of the draft, the chart says we should get ther 2nd and 3rd this year and maybe a 4th-5th next.
So trading #15 gets us 31, 63 and 95 added to #43 and 112
I like a guy on the line who will go at the bottom of the 1st or too of 2nd so this is who I would draft.

#31 Cody Mauch OT N. Dakota 6.36 score..Will be a good starter.

#43 Mazi Smith DT Michagan 6.40

#63 Rashee Rice SMU 6.00 From everything I’ve read Rice has all the talent in the world but gets lazy and takes plays off. A great deep valley guy who wins 50/50s…He can be Deebo Samuel’s or Denzel Mims but woth a shot in round 3 based on talent and NFL style kicks in the ass from the staff
#95 Dawand Jones OT Ohio State 6.32

#112 Tuli Tuipuloto DT/E USC 6.38

Nevada Buck
7 months ago

I don’t think the Packers will draft an OT if the Jets are intending to. IMO before agreeing to the swap Douglas would have gotten the Pack to agree not to draft their chosen OT ahead of them.

7 months ago
Reply to  Nevada Buck

I’m with Nevada Buck here. The 1st round swap was said to have been the last facet of the deal getting done. I’m of the mind that Joe and Gutekunst struck a deal to screw the Evil Hooded One at 14. I think GB takes JSN to help their new QB. We were never going to take him, but we believe that Belicheat would have. NE then takes the best available OT (to screw us back) and we either trade back (easier said than done at 15) or take the remaining OT.

Matt Galemmo
Matt Galemmo
7 months ago

“There no longer seems to be a realistic scenario where the Jets come onto the clock in the first round and view a non-OT as a good enough prospect to bypass their greatest need.”

I have to disagree. It might not end up true but it is a realistic scenario that the Jets had no intention of drafting OT at 13, and now none at 15. There’s also an even more realistic scenario that the Jets had no intention of drafting Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Daniel Jeremiah sees him as a late first-rounder, and we know DJ and JD tend to see things alike.

But in that vein, DJ loves Dalton Kincaid and Bijan Robinson, and now I think it is at least a realistic scenario that the Jets are targeting one of those two and will look to add OL depth later in the draft.

Imagine what Rodgers could do with Kincaid, or alternatively, Bijan and Breece for the flat. With Lazard and Davis in front of them, it’s not completely hyperbolic to say a simple flip to the flat could be end up a touchdown. Imagine what that threat does to your premier edge rushers around the league.

I don’t necessarily believe it’s likely…I lean towards they’ll probably just draft whatever of the four tackles are left…but I think it passes the bar of ‘realistic scenario.’

7 months ago
Reply to  Matt Galemmo

I think they pick Kincaid. I think they never liked the OT’s and he’ll be the pick.