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NY Jets’ best draft option depends on answer to one question

Brock Bowers
Brock Bowers

The New York Jets’ ideal draft pick depends on whether they trade or stay put

Should the New York Jets draft [insert a prospect]?

The most nuanced answer to that question is it depends on where. That applies to all of their picks, but most prominently to their first-rounder.

I’ve been on the record heavily criticizing various prospects. That doesn’t mean I think the prospect is bad — just not worthy of the No. 10 overall pick, less worthy than other prospects, or not the Jets’ best use of resources.

Still, this would be my order of Jets draft picks depending on what they decide to do.

Trade up

  • Best prospects: Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers
  • Other good options: N/A

To me, these are the two clear-cut best receivers in the draft. Harrison Jr. is a better route-runner, while Nabers is more explosive after the catch and perhaps has more long-term upside. I think a team taking either player is getting an instant star.

I’m not discounting the possibility of the Jets trading up. Drafting either of these prospects would give the Jets one of the best (if not the best) receiving trios in the NFL. My biggest questions would be a) their plan for the backup tackle position and b) what assets were required to give up. I’m not willing to give up a 2025 first-rounder, though I might consider the second-rounder.

I don’t think Joe Alt is worth trading up for. Now that the Jets have plugged their tackle spots, they can afford to stay put and take the best tackle available at No. 10.

Stay put

  • Best prospects: Joe Alt, J.C. Latham
  • Other options: Olu Fashanu

If the Jets stay put at No. 10, I think they should go with the best available tackle. Obviously, if Nabers or Harrison somehow fell to that spot, the Jets should run their names up. If not, though, I would look for the insurance and heir apparent at tackle.

I think Alt and Latham are the top two tackle prospects in the draft. Alt is a somewhat better pass-blocker, while Latham may be a better overall prospect. Latham is more technically sound than Mekhi Becton was coming out of college, alleviating some of the concerns about a bigger prospect.

Fashanu is not as good a prospect here because of his severe splits between run and pass-blocking. He could probably step in as the left tackle from Day 1 in the passing game, but he’s a very raw run-blocker. I think he’s still worth the selection at No. 10 because pass-blocking is king in today’s NFL.

I would not take Rome Odunze, even at No. 10. It’s not that I don’t think Odunze could be worth the No. 10 pick or could succeed in Year 1. I simply think his skill set is redundant to Mike Williams’ and that he might struggle against press coverage until he gains more strength. I don’t think he would fill any of the Jets’ primary needs.

Perhaps Odunze could be a good replacement for Williams, but I’m just not willing to take him at No. 10 for that purpose. Then again, while route-running is the most important skill I look for in college pass-catchers, maybe Odunze’s ridiculous contested catch ability alone will propel him to NFL stardom.

Trade down 2-4 slots

  • Best prospects: Latham
  • Other prospects: Fashanu, Odunze

If the Jets move back a few slots, I would want to pick up at least a third-round pick. At that point, with the way many draft boards are currently falling, one of Latham or Fashanu should still be on the board. If Odunze somehow falls past 10, I would be more on board with taking him while having additional draft capital to fill other needs.

I’m not listing Taliese Fuaga because I think guard is his position at the NFL level.

Trade down 6+ slots

  • Best prospects: J.C. Latham
  • Other prospects: Fashanu, Troy Fautanu, Brock Bowers, Brian Thomas Jr.

According to the Jimmy Johnson draft chart, the Jets would need to trade back six slots to recoup the No. 64 overall pick. Unfortunately, the team at that spot, the Seattle Seahawks, does not have a second-round pick. Still, if the Jets are going to trade back that far, they must get back a second-rounder.

If the Jets can get back a second-rounder, that opens up their options. I’m still inclined to say to take a tackle because the starting-caliber players at that position will almost exclusively be taken in the first round. Still, I could listen to the argument that the Jets should take Brock Bowers here, as he could fill their slot threat need. I’d also consider Brian Thomas Jr., even though I think he’s more of a 20s prospect.

If the Jets do go down into the 20s, I would consider Thomas Jr., Adonai Mitchell, and Amarius Mims.

Why?

Perhaps this whole exercise seems foolish. After all, if a team gets a good player, it shouldn’t necessarily matter where they were drafted. Still, the NFL Draft is all about opportunity costs. It’s not just about the one player drafted but about who could have been in their place.

If Dan Marino hadn’t been available on the draft board in 1983, Jets fans would likely remember Ken O’Brien a lot more fondly, as he made two Pro Bowls and was one of the longest-tenured Jets starting quarterbacks. The Jets’ trade for Alijah Vera-Tucker has a bit of a sting attached when considering that the Vikings took Christian Darrisaw at No. 23. Jermaine Johnson was a much better pick at No. 26 than he would have been at No. 4 or No. 10 because he was a developmental pick.

If the Jets trade up, they need to do it only for an instant star. I think Harrison and Nabers fit that bill. At No. 10, they want to take someone capable of playing at an above-average level for their position in Year 1. As they move down, though, they can afford to take a player with upside but more questions.

I don’t believe Joe Douglas will follow this philosophy. If he wants Bowers, he’ll take him at No. 10, and if he doesn’t, he won’t take Bowers even if he trades down. Still, I think it’s possible that the Jets move on to Fautanu for his inside-outside versatility if they trade down, while I don’t think they’ll take him at No. 10.

What do you think, Jets fans? Does draft slot matter for prospects, or is it simply about getting the best player available regardless?

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Jonathan Richter
Jonathan Richter
1 month ago

I’ve been in the trade back camp from the beginning, months ago. This draft is deep at our positions of need, but we just don’t have enough valuable picks right now.

The teams that make the most sense to me are Jax at pick 17 (950) and 48 (420), for 10 (1300) and 111 (72), or Philly at 22 (780) and 50 (400). At that point either they could also give us a 4th, a 5th and a 4th next year, OR they could take Zach Wilson’s contract off our hands, giving us some desperately needed cap space. Philly has the 4th most cap space in the league right now, and I think Zach would fit in a QB room with Hurts and Pickett. I think Zach still has more upside than Pickett.

I would be willing to trader up for Harrison/Nabors, I just don’t see Arizona, the Chargers, or the Giants wanting to pass up drafting one of them to trade back. I wouldn’t if I were them.

Staying put is my least favorite option, as I feel like we’re in a bad “value for player” area.

Last edited 1 month ago by Jonathan Richter
Peter Buell
Peter Buell
1 month ago

I’m probably in the bottom 10% of Jets fans who dosent want to take a tackle at 10.
Move up to take Harrison Nabers or Odunze…like Rivka..no more than 2nd rounder.
Stay at 10..one of those 3 or Bowers.
My preference considering we have some luck this year with the two biggest needs are also the deepest positions in the draft.
No guarantee we’re getting a better tackle at 10 than lower in 1st or 2nd round.
Trade back 7 or so, add a 4th rounder for what would be a mid 2nd round pick.
Probably safest to take OL then WR but all depends on who’s left.

DHB
DHB
1 month ago

I’m not really in the trade up camp. At 10 it’d be MHJ/Nabers, Latham, Alt then Fash. If we trade down a few spots then Latham, Alt, Fash and you can add Bowers/WR4 to the end of that list at that point.

I’m still OT then WR unless MHJ or Nabers drop. If we did get one of those two then it’s hope for the best at 72 regarding OT, but if we go OT at 10 I think we still have decent WR options at 72.

If we trade into the 20s then I can get on board with a QB at that point. Otherwise we’ll probably wreck another rookie by throwing him straight in after Rodgers goes. I like the idea or having a guy sit for a year or two behind AR.

christian herzeca
christian herzeca
1 month ago

I expect jets to maximize their 2024 season at some risk to seasons beyond. so look for a skill position to add for AR to utilize. WR, but if the top 3 are taken, then Bowers. if Jets >30 year old OTs get hurt, then jets are in deep dog doo, but what else is new.

Jets71
Jets71
1 month ago

I love Brian Thomas, and if they trade back and get a second round pick plus him, I’m in. The reports are the tackle class is good, I add Guyton to the list, as well as some other “more developmental” players Jordan Morgan and Patrick Paul.

You make a great point about Latham…you can’t just look at size and say “another Becton.”

Personally, I’m a fan of just take the best player. Yes, we may have “x” position filled but someday they won’t, and having a good player is always a good thing. I also think it’s a “must” that offensive lineman drafted in round 2 and 3 can develop into starters…like Tippmann.

Peter Buell
Peter Buell
1 month ago
Reply to  Jets71

The scouts know alot more than I do so if the Jets “war room” believes that Bowers is indeed a generational TE…we’ve seen what teams with star TEs can do.
They take so much pressure of both qb and recievers.
However, a draft like this where the draft is very deep in our top two positions of need so a tackle and reciever getting a 2nd round by moving down does that I’d love that as well.
What I won’t do is trade down for anything less than a 2nd. If we throw in a 4th and move down 7-10 spots that should do it.

mlesko73
mlesko73
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter Buell

The term “generational TE” has been thrown around a lot. To me, Winslow, Gates and Gronk are generational TE’s, Kittle is not and he is what Bowers most closely resembles; big YAC guy but not a complete TE.
I go OT b/c our current OL has 33 yr old OT’s. Surprised no mention of Fuaga here…I rate: Alt, Fuaga, Fautanu

mlesko73
mlesko73
1 month ago
Reply to  Rivka Boord

Using your own reasoning, I am not using pick 10 on a TE (regardless of definition of generational). Not using a player properly is our forte, Conlin’s route running is actually very good. TE is not a hole we need to fill.
I watched the combine and listened to O’hara, I disagree abt Fuaga being a guard, time will tell

Last edited 1 month ago by mlesko73
Peter Buell
Peter Buell
1 month ago
Reply to  Jets71

Tippman was a fking steal…Everyone, including me mocked John Michael-Schmidtz who went to our co-tenants.
It’s not even close! Barring injury, Tippman will be a far better player for a decade and easily slides to G if need be.

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