To say the draft has gotten extremely tense these past few days has been quite the understatement. While we do know where the top two quarterbacks are going, there's been enough draft, trade and other rumors to make a NFL version of US Weekly.
Among those teams that have been under the microscope, none has been more exposed than the New York Jets.
The Jets have been connected to people as high as Alabama runner Trent Richardson, and as low as Syracuse defender Chandler Jones, with plenty others in between, like offensive stars Justin Blackmon (through fan speculation), Alshon Jeffery and Michael Floyd, and defensive stalwarts Melvin Ingram, Courtney Upshaw,and Mark Barron.
To add even more frustration, Rex Ryan has said his draft strategy includes targeting the best player available, thus making this draft one of the hardest ones to predict.
The question is, whom do they really need?
To make a prediction, let's collect all the players mentioned and put them in a pool. That's eight players right here. Four are offensive stars, four are defensive stars.
Offense: Richardson, Blackmon, Jeffery, Floyd
Defense: Jones, Ingram, Upshaw, Barron
All of these players fill a position of need. Richardson, if drafted, would give the Jets a solid rushing attack that they have desired since drafting Shonn Greene, while any of the wide receivers would give them a vertical threat who would complement Santonio Holmes.
Any of the defensive ends would be good pass-rushers who would add pressure on Tom Brady, while Barron would solidify the safety position that has a few kinks in the system.
However, let's start off with the obvious no's.
Trent Richardson is too high to draft 16th overall and too expensive to trade for. It would take a similar package that the Redskins offered to St. Louis for them to go to the No. 3 or 4 spot. The same goes for Blackmon. The Jets would have to go as high as sixth overall in order to get him, but the Rams may want a big bounty for that choice as well.
On the defensive side, the Jets may not want Jones because he's projected to be a late first-round option. Unless they trade back in to the first round, it's highly improbable they take him.
With that, we're down to five.
Now onto the somewhat yes/somewhat no's.
On the offensive side, Michael Floyd has drawn considerable attention from Buffalo, with Jacksonville also looking for some offensive production. The Jets could look at a possible deal with Jacksonville and/or Carolina, but it's more likely they'd use that trade to get someone else. Floyd should go to Buffalo.
Melvin Ingram has been high on the Jets list since the beginning, but his target has fluctuated between the eighth and the 16th spot. The Jets have explored trading up to secure Ingram, but it may not be necessary, Therefore, it's a possibility they could get him.
Courtney Upshaw has been the popular option as well for the Jets, but his lack of special skills could hurt him, and he may plummet down as far as the early second round. It would be high risk/low reward to get him, so they should cross him off.
This leaves the final two.
Mark Barron vs. Alshon Jeffery.
Barron is a teener pick, meaning he could go as high as 13 and as low as 16 He's a highly probable choice, with only one other team going after him. That team sits at the 14th slot.
The Jets may want to trade with Arizona so they can leapfrog the Cowboys in order to get their man. I see this as a possibility because 13 and 16 are so close, and there might not be any extra picks needed in order for this trade to go through. Otherwise, the Jets could get him 16th overall.
Then there's Alshon Jeffery. Jeffery has been called one of the best receivers in the draft by B/R draft expert Matt Miller, and he has had him fall to the Jets at 16 in most of his drafts. Nobody else seems to want him and, given Jeffery's talent, it would be highly probable to see him in a Jets uniform.
If the Jets take him, they will be getting a premier talent who could contribute immediately, becoming a solid No. 1 option at wide receiver quickly. Jeffery would give the Jets the offense they need in order to win certain games.
Therefore, the Jets should pick him and then use their remaining picks to address other needs.