The last time the New York Jets possessed the sixth overall pick in the NFL Draft was in 2015, when USC defensive end Leonard Williams magically fell into their laps despite being regarded as arguably the top player in his class.
Two years later, the Jets are in the same position and general manager Mike Maccagnan is probably praying a similar fall occurs. The Jets seem to be in love with LSU safety Jamal Adams, but even they seem skeptical that he’ll be on the board then they come on the clock. New York might be dreaming of Adams at No. 6, but dreams stray from reality.
Just inside the threshold of reality is perfection. It can be attained, but is a rare feat. The Jets will achieve their dream scenario if Adams fell all the way to No. 6, but what would be the perfect result in the first round?
The perfect outcome is simpler than it seems: Trade back.
The Jets proved in 2016 they weren’t close to contending and tore down a roster that is even further from contention and bordering on competitive. Maccagnan is doing what he probably should’ve done when he first took the job in 2015. He released a bunch of overpaid veterans (some of whom he acquired himself) and is entering 2017 with a younger roster that could blossom as the season continues.
The pressure might be on Maccagnan to land a star at the top of the draft after last season’s abysmal result. But the “hot seat,” shouldn’t stop Maccagnan from trading back and stockpiling picks. The Jets don’t need one player. They don’t need help at one position. They need multiple impact players before truly being considered for any sort of playoff contention. Trading back might sound like deferring, but it’s the best move possible.
Allow me to use a scenario to further accentuate my point. You’re at the local gas station and you have two options while buying lottery tickets: Buy one ticket with a 10 percent chance of winning, or buy three lottery tickets that carry a 5 percent chance of winning each and are cheaper than the single ticket. Which one do you choose? Option two, of course.
That’s the situation the Jets will be confronted with as they get ready for the 2017 NFL Draft. It’s clear Maccagnan would at least entertain a trade — he said so himself — but a trade is a two-way street. Finding a willing partner offering fair value in return will be the toughest task.
The Cleveland Browns seem to be the most enticing option for Gang Green. The Browns seem interested enough in Mitchell Trubisky to take him No. 1 overall, but might take Myles Garrett instead. That could leave them scrambling to jump back into the top-10 to ensure they get their quarterback too.
The Browns possess five picks within the top-65 overall and could offer an enticing package to jump back into the first round. Rumors have already surfaced suggesting the Jets and Browns are discussing a deal, but the Browns would be better off waiting to see how the first five picks actually play out on draft day before swinging any trades.
If there’s any team more desperate for a quarterback than the Jets, it might be the Browns. Maccagnan could take advantage and gather more draft capital to build a steady roster around whoever the future quarterback turns out to be.
What could the Jets get from the Browns in a potential deal? Well, let’s take a look at the NFL draft value chart to help us.
As you can see, states New York’s sixth overall pick is worth 1,600 points. Cleveland would likely offer the 12th overall pick, which is worth 1,200 points. That leaves 400 points in draft value to make up. The simplest solution would be for Cleveland to fork over the 52nd pick (the 19th selection in the second round), but that might be too steep a price. Another option could be for Cleveland to send the 12th, 65th (first pick in third round) and 108th overall picks (first pick in fourth round) to the Jets. That would add up to 1,543 points and a nice haul for Maccagnan.
The Jets might pray Adams somehow slips to No. 6, but the front office should do whatever it can to trade back if he doesn’t.