Rather than come up with a unique angle and craft a concise, coherent and interesting article, I've decided to just list my last-minute thoughts on the draft. Enjoy.
- The Patriots are rumored to be talking about trading up, either for Mark Barron and Chandler Jones. They're the Patriots, so we know for sure that they will not be trading up.
I think they're doing this just to mess with us. I now want no part of Barron or Jones. I think the Patriots are just trying to get us to jump on one of those guys. Last time this happened, the Jets ended up with Vernon Gholston and they got Jerod Mayo. I don't trust them.
- I'm praying the Bills don't pull the trigger on a trade from No. 10 to No. 3. Their biggest hole by far is left tackle, and getting Matt Kalil would make them real threats. If Ryan Fitzpatrick plays the way he did early last year, with a real offensive line and a much-improved defense, the Bills would be dangerous.
It's also a double whammy. If the Bills move up to No. 3 that means the Jets can't. I'm still holding out hope that Trent Richardson is a possibility.
It does my heart good to see the Dolphins missing on yet another quarterback. Of course, that doesn't mean I won't enjoy it if they pass on a quarterback for a kick returner again. Honestly, I'm excited for whatever the Dolphins do.
- I think the most likely outcome is that the Jets trade up a few spots. The Jets' needs match up with the needs of the teams in front of them. Arizona needs a receiver, Dallas needs help on the offensive line and Philly needs a safety. I'm worried that Tannenbaum panics and moves up to get his guy (whoever that is).
I'm against this. I wouldn't want to give up picks unless it's for Trent Richardson. Is the difference between any of the pass-rushers really that big? There isn't a player outside of the top six that I would want to trade up for.
- If the Jets move down (perhaps someone jumping ahead of Cleveland for Brandon Weeden), two names to keep your eyes on are Dont'a Hightower and Coby Fleener.
The Jets are actively trying to shave salary, so if they can find a taker for Bart Scott, inside linebacker becomes a need. Luke Kuechly will be long gone, but I'm a fan of Hightower. He was a leader on the best defense in college football and has 3-4 experience.
Another guy the Jets have reportedly talked about moving is Dustin Keller. If so, Fleener is a guy I really like in the pros. He sort of reminds me of Dallas Clark in that he's really just a bigger slot receiver. He's incredibly smart and has experience in a pro-style offense at Stanford.
- I've argued in favor of trading Antonio Cromartie several times, and now I think there's an excellent opportunity. The Jets want to move up to No. 3, and the Vikings have a big need at corner. Why haven't the Jets talked about sending Cromartie to Minnesota in that trade?
The Jets would not only get to save a pick they otherwise would have had to send to Minnesota, but they'd also shed about $8 million in cap space. Suddenly, signing Braylon Edwards, Yeremiah Bell or Vernon Carey (or even two of those guys) becomes possible.
You're a capologist, Mr. Tannenbaum; I hope you realize that and dangle Cromartie in a trade up. Kyle Wilson is ready to start. Cromartie is a luxury the Jets just don't need.
- My favorite day two target is LaMichael James from Oregon. Why can't he be the same type of gadget player as Darren Sproles?
He's a graduate of the University of Oregon's prestigious option offense program. Wouldn't that be helpful for Tim Tebow?
The Jets need to do something for their running game in this draft. If that isn't Trent Richardson, then it should be a fast back to complement Shonn Greene. This seems like a match made in heaven.
- My favorite day three target is Boise State's Nate Potter. He's not an elite physical specimen, but I don't think that means too much on a line with Nick Mangold and D'Brickashaw Ferguson.
He played well during his senior year, and he actually has pretty good size. If it doesn't work out at tackle, I think he could seamlessly slide over to guard. Even as a tackle, we have to ask ourselves a very simple question: could he possibly be worse than Wayne Hunter?
- I have this sneaking suspicion that there's going to be a shocker somewhere in the top six that's really going to shake things up.
One possibility is that Minnesota passes on Matt Kalil and takes Morris Claiborne outright, not bothering to trade down. This would be awful for the Jets, because the next team in line for a tackle would be the Bills. When it comes down to it, I'm really starting to think this happens.
If the draft plays out as expected in the top five, I really think St. Louis passes on Justin Blackmon. I think there's just enough doubt on him, enough less-than-encouraging stories have come out, and there are just enough other players that fill needs available to make it happen.
I could see them shocking the world and taking Michael Floyd (who is a better physical specimen, but a worse prospect) or going defense with Fletcher Cox or even Dontari Poe.
If that happens, I could see the Jets working the phones to try to jump up as far as No. 7 to take Blackmon. I can't see him falling past No. 9 (Carolina), but I think if he doesn't get taken sixth, then the Jets would start to make some calls to explore the situation.
- Look out for the Jets to trade back into the first round if they don't move up earlier. There are a ton of pass-rushing options projected to go in the late first, so if the Jets to choose to go somewhere else at No. 16, they might want to assure themselves of one of the other guys by moving into the late 20s or early 30s.
Let's say the Jets grab Michael Floyd at No. 16. Between Nick Perry, Courtney Upshaw, Whitney Mercilus and Quinton Coples, I'm fairly sure one of them makes it to the late 20s. I think all of these guys are fairly similar players, so they could be a bargain at that point.
If the Jets want to not only assure themselves of a top pass-rusher, but also make sure to keep one away from the Patriots, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see them jump up to No. 26 (costing them their second- and third-rounders) to grab whoever's left.
This was the same strategy the Jets used to assure themselves of Dustin Keller before the Giants had a chance to pick.