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What if the NY Jets trade down? | Post-Free Agency Mock Draft

Troy Fautanu
Troy Fautanu

New York Jets’ free agency additions give them the option to trade down

The 2024 NFL Draft is almost here!

With free agency in full swing, many teams have seen their potential draft targets change after their signings. Like many other teams, the New York Jets are not in the same position they were just a week ago.

New York Jets Live Free Agency Tracker

Specifically, they are in a much better spot on the offensive line. The recent additions of All-Pro tackle Tyron Smith, guard John Simpson, and rock-solid veteran tackle Morgan Moses have at least solidified the starting unit.

Thanks to these moves, the Jets’ options in the draft have become far more expansive. While selecting an offensive lineman is still on the table, the need is much less desperate, which means the Jets can now target an offensive weapon.

One possibility is trading down to address both needs.

With the 2024 draft having strong classes at wide receiver and offensive line, the Jets could move down a few spots, address the offensive line in the first round, and then take a receiver with a later pick.

Using the PFF mock draft simulator, this three-round mock draft will look at the possibility of trading down and what the Jets’ draft haul could be if they go that route. Without further ado, let’s dive into it.

First round

NY Jets Receive: #12, #76 (Third round)

Denver Broncos Receive: #10

#12 Overall Selection: Troy Fautanu, OT, Washington

With J.J. McCarthy still on the board, the Denver Broncos trade up to No. 10 overall. The Jets opt to trade down a few spots, recouping another third-round pick to build their roster. Sliding into the 12th selection, New York takes Washington’s Troy Fautanu.

Due to his length, strength, and athletic ability, Fautanu is versatile enough to play both guard and tackle. With an offensive line that has dealt with injuries in the past, the Washington product offers excellent insurance.

More importantly, Fautanu would not be pressured to start immediately. He would be able to learn from Tyron Smith and Morgan Moses, setting him up as one of the Jets’ future bookend tackles.

Selecting a weapon like Brock Bowers in the first round is very appealing, but considering the impact Fautanu can provide in the present and future, selecting him is almost a no-brainer in this scenario.

Third round

#72 Overall Selection: Javon Baker, WR, UCF

The Jets get a new weapon with the first of their two third-round picks.

Standing at 6-foot-1 and weighing 208 pounds, UCF’s Javon Baker is not the most athletic receiver but has the skills to become a playmaker in the NFL.

Baker is a weapon in the contested catch area of the game, having a 51.5% contested catch rate in his time at UCF. Baker can make these plays due to his strong hands at the catch point and good body control, showing the ability to make sure he comes down in bounds.

Additionally, Baker is a good route runner and knows how to get open against different types of coverages. Baker’s swift movement skills help him evade defenders after the catch – he had 318 yards after the catch in his 2023 campaign.

Once given some time to develop, Baker would have the potential to form a fun duo in New York with Garrett Wilson. Both players utilize high-level route running and can make incredible plays at the catch point. The Jets’ offense would be difficult to defend if Baker panned out as expected.

In 2023, Baker could slide in as the third or fourth receiver and make an instant impact while the Jets will presumably add a veteran receiver to start beside Wilson (they’re hosting Mike Williams for a visit today).

#77 Overall Selection: Cooper Beebe, IOL, Kansas State

This was the toughest pick for me to decide on in this mock draft.

At this point in the draft, New York had already added a top-tier offensive lineman and a possible day-one contributor at wide receiver. This meant the 77th pick could go in various directions.

New York could easily select a developmental quarterback in Spencer Rattler. They could have gone with Texas’s T’Vondre Sweat, an interior defensive lineman. Or, they even could have doubled down at receiver, as USC’s Brendan Rice was still available.

All of these possible selections have warrant and should be on the table for the team in this spot. However, I decided to further bolster the team’s offensive line with Kansas State’s Cooper Beebe.

Beebe was a great pass blocker at Kansas State, only allowing five sacks in 1,341 career pass-blocking opportunities. He also was a good run blocker in his last three seasons, having above a 77 PFF run-blocking grade in all of them.

Beebe would provide insurance for the team’s current guard situation while also being a projected building block for the future. Not being under pressure to perform immediately, the Kansas State product would be able to learn the game at his own pace.

If Alijah Vera-Tucker cannot stay healthy, John Simpson does not pan out, or a guard position opens up due to a tackle’s injury, Beebe would allow the Jets’ offense to continue rolling ahead.

This mock draft showcases just one of the many paths the Jets could take in their current situation. There is still over a month until the draft, meaning that more signings could occur that change the team’s draft strategy.

At this current juncture, though, trading down to load up on offensive line depth and wide receiver help should be the team’s primary focus. Sliding down two spots and getting a haul of Fautanu, Baker, and Beebe would be a great way to achieve those goals.

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christian herzeca
christian herzeca
2 months ago

with two good but oldish starting OTs now, I like the trade down to take Mims, who I think has high upside but could take a redshirt year.

Peter Buell
Peter Buell
2 months ago

With that trade and more than a couple mockers having Bowers available at 10, it would mean only one other team would need to pass on him and the Jets could get both Bowers and Brown or Bowers and a 3rd rd OL.