In the year of our Lord 2019, no quarterback attempted more passes under pressure than Sam Darnold. After the departure of Robby Anderson, his cast of receivers are currently among the worst in the entire NFL, with guys like Breshad Perriman and Vyncent Smith being counted on to contribute in starring roles.
And so, it isn’t surprising that most Jets fans have written themselves a post-it note like Kevin Costner in “Draft Day”. “ROUND 1- OFFENSIVE TACKLE NO MATTER WHAT. ROUND 2- WIDE RECEIVER NO MATTER WHAT.” That’s been our plan since December. The Jets have not drafted an offensive lineman in the first round since they selected D’Brickshaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold back to back in 2006, and that worked out pretty well. Draft pundits generally agree that there are four brilliant offensive tackle prospects worthy of the 11th overall pick, and it’s a historically great wide receiver class. So fix easy, right? Not exactly.
Mock drafts are increasingly showing a run on tackles just before the Jets pick at #11, and a big run on receivers right before the Jets pick at #48. There is a very plausible scenario where, should the Jets commit to this strategy, they are forced to take their fourth ranked tackle and their 12th ranked receiver. Should the Jets still zero in on these positions if they don’t actually love the players they’re taking?
Jerry Reese, the Giants’ former general manager, certainly would! In the 2015 draft, the Giants were besotted with Iowa guard Brandon Scherff. Unfortunately for them, so were the Washington Redskins, who snapped him up before he could reach the Giants at the tenth overall pick. So, Reese pivoted to the next offensive lineman on his board, one of the biggest draft busts in Giants history and soon to be one of the biggest free agency busts in Dolphins history: Ereck Flowers. Yikes. A whiff that huge can leave a smoldering crater in a club’s roster for years and years.
So how do the Jets add premium talent around Sam Darnold if all the players they want are gone by the time they pick? Should they just reach for need and risk an Ereck Flowers calamity? Fortunately for the Jets, the solution is clear…
The Jets need to BE AGGRESSIVE and enact one of these two moves:
Trade for Trent Williams and
draft a receiver in the 1st round!
Per multiple reports, Washington’s current asking price for All Pro lineman Trent Williams is a 2nd round pick. Fans are put off by that price tag, Williams’ age, and the contract extension he’ll likely require after trading for him. I say to that: stop being a giant baby. Over the past 25 years, only 19% of offensive tackles drafted in the first round have gone on to make an All Pro team in their career and a mere 30% made a Pro Bowl. That gamble comes at the cost of a first round pick, whilst you can use a mere 2nd round pick to acquire a player with a 100% chance of being an All Pro…you know, because he already is one. If you were hoping on coming out of the first two rounds with a top tier tackle and receiver, this is absolutely the way to go. You can settle for the 4th best rookie tackle and the 13th best rookie receiver… OR, you can get an All Pro tackle and the top receiver in the entire draft (*cough* Jerry Jeudy) for the same cost! Be aggressive!
Trade up for a better tackle prospect!
If the Jets are too squeamish to trade for Trent Williams, then they should at least ensure they are getting a good lineman prospect in the first round. Most insiders are fairly certain that both Arizona and Cleveland (who pick right before the Jets) are drafting tackles, and despite what the Draftniks are telling you, not all OT prospects are created equal. The odds overwhelmingly suggest that at least one of these tackles will be an enormous bust. Why resign yourself to a “Reaganomics” approach to the draft; waiting for the top teams to have their fill and hoping that their leftovers trickle down to the 11th overall pick? When Joe Douglas worked in Philadelphia’s front office, they made moves like this all the time; when they identified that the Texans were honing in on promising OT Andre Dillard, they traded up a few spots and stole him away. The Jets could trade up with the rebuilding Carolina Panthers and snatch Tristan Wirfs (who, by the way, fits Adam Gase’s scheme like a glove) and let Cleveland and Arizona fight over what’s left. The Giants missed their chance to trade up for a great Iowa offensive lineman…the Jets shouldn’t miss theirs. Go get your guy! Be aggressive!
This April, the Jets need to take control of their own destinies. Only by doing this can they build around their young signal caller whilst simultaneously avoiding a crippling mistake.