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Peter Schrager’s mock draft presents juicy opportunity for NY Jets

Malik Nabers
Malik Nabers, Getty Images

Could New York Jets have the chance to make a blockbuster first-round trade?

NFL Network’s Peter Schrager unveiled his first 2024 NFL mock draft on Tuesday morning.

Schrager’s mock is particularly notable because he bases it off what he’s heard from conversations with general managers, head coaches, and other league sources. He’s not just throwing stuff at the wall and hoping it sticks – he’s making educated predictions.

It’s led to some accurate results. Consider that on draft day in 2022, Schrager nailed the New York Jets taking Sauce Gardner and Garrett Wilson. Last year, while Schrager did not foresee the Jets taking Will McDonald, he correctly predicted they would select an edge rusher, as he had them taking Lukas Van Ness.

Schrager’s prediction for the Jets at No. 10 is no surprise: Georgia tight end Brock Bowers. This is a run-of-the-mill prediction, as Bowers has emerged as the clear-cut consensus favorite to be selected by New York.

But Schrager’s mock draft is not interesting for Jets fans because of his Bowers prediction. It’s interesting because of the tantalizing opportunity that Schrager leaves wide-open for Joe Douglas to pounce on.

Take a look at the top 10 of Schrager’s mock. Are you seeing what I’m seeing?

2024-NFL-Schrager-Mock-Draft-NY-Jets
via Peter Schrager/NFL.com

Because he has Washington wide receiver Rome Odunze going to Arizona at No. 6 (after they trade back two spots with the Giants), Schrager has LSU wide receiver Malik Nabers shockingly slipping to No. 9, where the Colts trade up with the Bears to end his fall. However, if Nabers truly did fall that far, Joe Douglas and the Jets would be hard-pressed not to try and beat Indy to the punch.

If I were Douglas in this situation, I would do everything in my power to trade up into Atlanta’s No. 8 spot and take Nabers before somebody could jump the Jets and nab him. The moment Rome Odunze’s name is announced as Arizona’s selection at No. 6, moving into No. 8 for Nabers should be the only thing on Douglas’ mind.

Badly in need of an offensive line overhaul, Tennessee is unlikely to move out of No. 7, where they will most likely have the luxury to select any offensive lineman they please. That leaves the No. 8 slot as Douglas’ target to catch the free-falling Nabers.

Atlanta is widely expected to take Alabama edge rusher Dallas Turner at No. 8. With that in mind, I believe the Jets can convince Atlanta to slide down a couple of spots to No. 10. Turner will likely still be available at that selection, as Chicago’s No. 9 slot is a popular trade-up slot for QB or OL-needy teams. Even if he’s not, the Falcons can fall back on Florida State edge rusher Jared Verse, who is projected to go only one spot lower than Turner in the consensus mock draft.

According to the classic Jimmy Johnson trade chart (which is outdated but apparently still used by teams), the No. 8 pick is worth 1,400 points while the No. 10 pick is worth 1,300 points. The Jets would have to give up the equivalent of 100 points to make the package even, which is the value of the 100th overall pick (last pick of the third round).

However, the team moving down usually wins the deal in terms of trade chart points. So, to convince Atlanta to tango, the Jets will probably have to part ways with their third-round pick at No. 72 overall, which is worth 230 points. To balance it out a bit, the Falcons can give back their No. 109 overall pick in the fourth round, which is worth 76 points.

Here’s my proposed trade:

  • Jets get: No. 8 (1400), No. 109 (76) – 1476 points
  • Falcons get: No. 10 (1300), No. 72 (230) – 1530 points

I see this as a win-win. By moving down only two spots in the first round to turn a fourth-rounder into a third-rounder, Atlanta significantly increases the value of its overall draft capital while still having the chance to draft one of the top-two edge rushers with a top-10 pick. Meanwhile, New York pounces on the opportunity to secure a blue-chip offensive weapon who should have never fallen this far.

Losing the third-round pick would hurt for the Jets, who are already without a second-round pick. But look at this way: Would you rather the Jets have Malik Nabers and the 109th overall pick or Brock Bowers and the 72nd overall pick?

Bowers is a special prospect, but Nabers is equally special (if not more so) at a more valuable position. Even if Bowers goes on to become a top-5 tight end, he wouldn’t be close to as impactful as Nabers would be if he hits the same ceiling. Wide receivers simply offer higher upside than tight ends. Just compare the contracts they earn in the league.

Schrager seems to be quite plugged-in when it comes to draft buzz, so his opinion is worth placing some stock into. He seems to believe Odunze has a real chance of being taken before Nabers. If that happens, it could send the consensus No. 5 overall prospect (and No. 2 non-QB) into the Jets’ neck of the woods due to Tennessee and Atlanta’s desire to attack other needs outside of wide receiver.

If things play out from Nos. 1-7 as Schrager predicted, the Jets would be wise to strongly consider making an aggressive move to grab Nabers at No. 8.

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christian herzeca
christian herzeca
1 month ago

rather have Thomas and second round pick than Nabers and no second/third round picks. i think Bowers is a luxury pick that Jets should pass on, rather have an OT than Bowers

Jets71
Jets71
1 month ago

I listened to your pod with Blewett, and he makes a great point about how we as fans have been trained to overvalue draft picks. Having 2 fourths vs a stud WR isn’t even a fair fight.

This is a draft the Jets need 4 players. A playmaking WR, OL (depth, someone who can play some games now, and development, someone who can become a starter next year), a safety, and RB.

I think they can trade up twice and land that WR, and OL. Blewett also mentioned there are other backup OL available in FA they could fill out the depth chart with after the draft.

A different line of thinking (I get a lot of thumbs down on this but…) if the Colts really want a WR, and Nabers is there at 10, do we trade back with them to 15? Pick up Brian Thomas Jr. AND get one of the OL?

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