New York Jets Mock Draft: Trade Up/Down Scenarios for First 3 Rounds
The infinite possible scenarios surrounding both the upcoming 2012 Draft and looming free agency market has quickly turned the National Football League into a mathematician's dream.
The perfect storm of issues swirling around the Jets organization these days may set the stage for a very aggressive Gang Green in Radio City this April.
With the deep talent pool that will comprise this year’s draft and free agency, and the number of disgruntled employees currently on their roster, the Jets may be best served by using these players as bait too tempting for needy teams to pass up.
There are plenty of positions on the football field that the Jets need help filling via the draft. Here are just some of the possible moves General Manager Mike Tannenbaum may consider making on draft weekend.
Round 1: Bart Scott and Calvin Pace to Tampa Bay for 5th Pick
Both Bart Scott and Calvin Pace seem to be trending downward in production as they enter the twilight of their defensive careers, but may have enough gas left in the proverbial tank to help resurrect a porous Bucs defense. Ranked 30th in total team defense and dead last in run defense, the Bucs could use the solid turnkey linebacker tandem of Scott and Pace to jump start their once-vaunted defense.
The reason why the fifth pick stands as such forbidden fruit for Rex and company is the potential availability of former USC All-American offensive tackle Matt Kalil. It is widely recognized that the Jets offensive line took a substantial step backwards in 2011, and much of the blame would be justifiably placed on the shoulders of right tackle Wayne Hunter.
Hunter was routinely decimated by quicker, stronger, more technically sound defensive ends and was a main contributor to the Jets offensive troubles. Although Kalil is a natural left tackle, a position currently held by Pro Bowler D’Brickashaw Ferguson, I think it is safe to say relocating either of these two tackles to the east side of the football would be better than the Jets current situation.
The potential for Kalil being available on the board at this point is slim, but it is there. Should quarterback and wide receiver talent distract the four teams preceding them, the Bucs and Jets could find themselves in a mutually advantageous position.
Round 1 (“plan B”): Antonio Cromartie to Kansas City for 11th Pick
The coin toss that will decide whether the Seattle Seahawks or Kansas City Chiefs obtain pick 11 is immaterial here. Should the Seahawks gain the higher pick, they are highly unlikely to pick an offensive player in this position. This leaves the Jets an opportunity to deal with Kansas City in hopes of securing a franchise running back in Heisman Trophy winner Trent Richardson.
By all appearances, the early returns on Shonn Greene are not what the Jets had hoped. Greene has performed above average considering a weakened Jets offensive line, but has fallen well short of the brass ring offered to him by Rex Ryan.
The hiring of new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano insures that the Jets will actually follow through on their promise of returning to a ground-and-pound offensive attack this time around, and there may be no more tempting of a player in this draft than Richardson as the do so.
The Chiefs would also stand to benefit greatly from a strong cover corner who may serve as a solid counterpart to standout cornerback Brandon Flowers. Flowers had an impressive 60 tackle, four-interception season that plays well to the defensive strategy of newly cemented Head Coach Romeo Crennel. The high profile acquisition of Cromartie would be a welcomed addition to the surging Chiefs.
Round 2: Shonn Greene and 3rd-Round Pick to Washington for 39th Pick
Before everyone loses their mind in their defense of breakout superstar Roy Helu, the potential for this deal does not make any commentary whatsoever on Helu’s performance in 2011.
At different times during this past season, Helu was definitely one of the most explosive rushers in the entire league. It did appear though, against stronger rush defenses Helu was hamstrung by the Redskins' lack of diversity in the run game.
Helu was forced to carry the weight of the entire Redskin offense on many occasions as the season went on, and the responsibility clearly began to take its toll on the young back.
Shonn Greene was also unable to shoulder the responsibility of being an every-down rusher for the Jets. It seemed that after every rush Greene was on the precipice of exhaustion, nearly collapsing from a three-yard rumble.
The Jets could be significantly interested in this trade given the availability of Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill, widely regarded as a strong project quarterback with the skills to become a serviceable starter in the NFL, could be the perfect solution for the Jets' lack of competition provided to Mark Sanchez.
The younger and stronger-armed Tannehill could pose a serious threat to the future of Sanchez as the Jets' starting quarterback, at the very least driving Sanchez to perform at a higher level to keep his job.
The Redskins, desperately in need of viable depth at quarterback, could afford to deal this first-round pick to the Jets and still draft a solid talent in the third round.
Round 2 (“plan B”): Bart Scott and 4th Round Pick to Dallas for 45th Pick
The arithmetic behind this proposed move is quite simple. Dallas needs a solid inside linebacker presence in place of the suddenly ineffective Bradie James.
Since the arrival of defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, James’ production has been cut nearly in half. That is unacceptable under a Ryan family defense. Who better to correct this trend than Scott, a disciple of the Ryan football family tree?
The Jets could be interested in this draft position because of the talent available around this point on the defensive lineman.
Defensive ends Chandler Jones of Syracuse and Ronnell Lewis of Oklahoma will more than likely still be available at this point and could finally serve as the strong pass rush the Jets have been searching for.
This would be far from a blockbuster trade, but it would certainly be a meat-and-potatoes move that would benefit both organizations.
Round 3: 4th and Conditional 2013 Pick to Jacksonville for the 71st Pick
The only proposed move I believe the Jets could make on the first day of the 2012 draft that would not include sending any current Jets out of town. The Jacksonville Jaguars have a variety of deficiencies on both sides of the football.
Historically speaking, it is in situations like these where underprivileged teams like the Jaguars can begin stockpiling draft picks and build for the future (see Detroit). There is no one cure-all solution for the Jacksonville quagmire, so they would be wise to remain open to offers during this draft.
If they had not already done so in earlier rounds, the Jets would find themselves in prime position with this pick to procure a solid challenger to Sanchez’ quarterback throne.
It is highly likely that quarterback talent the likes of Arizona’s Nick Foles, Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins, Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson and even Boise State’s Kellen Moore will be available at this point in the draft.
Should the Jets have one of these players in particular pegged to be the heir apparent, they could be tempted to move up the draft board to secure the passer they want.
Trade-Down Scenario: Pick 16 to Pittsburgh for 3rd, 4th and Conditional in 2013
I hate the idea of the Jets, or any truly needy team for that matter, trading down in the NFL draft.
The infrequency in which passive hoarding of draft picks works out for an above-average team not coached by Bill Belichick is evidence of why I feel this way. Potentially trading away the one last piece to the win now puzzle for two or three players, who will most likely be long-term projects, only complicates matters.
I believe this draft, perhaps more than others in recent history, is one that the Jets should attack early and often as the potential for the Jets to out think themselves is always looming on draft day.
The one and only caveat I would add to this would be if the Pittsburgh Steelers decide to restructure their aging linebacker corps in one fell swoop on draft day.
With linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Dontari Poe both likely first-round picks, the Steelers would be in prime position to snag both in picks 16 and 24. The Steelers defense could theoretically turn back the hands of time in one day this April.
The Jets could benefit from this renewed Steelers vigor by demanding at least two picks in 2012 and one in 2013. The depth of talent at quarterback in the later rounds and as well as the potential talent in day two and three defensive players could tempt the Jets to deal this pick.