With marquee free-agent signings behind us and the 2014 NFL draft approaching, it's time to turn up the volume on the "hot-stove" conversation. Not only shall we consider who could best help the New York Jets, but we'll explore various strategies for getting them.
Keep in mind that it's the Jets we're discussing. Too much fancy footwork on draft day often leads to disaster. Think Dewayne Robertson. Think Johnny "Lam" Jones. Think 1984, when the Jets had four selections in the first two rounds. Only one of those picks, offensive lineman Jim Sweeney, made a long-term contribution.
Trades that reduce a team's number of picks, as the workable scenarios herein depict, are most appropriate for a well-stocked team that is missing one or two pieces to be great. The Jets are not in that category. They need immediate help in the offensive skill positions and the defensive secondary. In fact, they need starter-caliber help. So far, they've found two starters through free agency: wide receiver Eric Decker and right offensive tackle Breno Giacomini. They need more, and the draft may have to provide them.
That's a major factor in this list's organization. It's almost the only factor. The scenarios that provide the most flexibility get higher rankings. Free agency even plays a role.
Trading up in the first round has its price. It lets the Jets get a higher-demand player at the cost of missing opportunities in later rounds. That's why the trades on this list rank lowest.
In that same spirit, a trade that compromises the Jets' drafts in future years is verboten. If John Idzik wants to build through the draft, he needs draft picks, and good ones. He can't afford to mortgage his team's future on a "player du jour." No draft prospect is a sure thing. Some, however, are more sure than others.
There is another part of each scenario's ranking. It's the scenario's ability to fill three major needs: wide receiver, tight end and cornerback. In most cases, the Jets are going to have to find a diamond in the rough to fill at least one of these needs. The scenarios that make this easiest rank higher.
As for the draft's lower rounds, we'll leave it to the folks in the Jets' war room to pick the best player on the board. Feel free to make suggestions.
Those are the ground rules. Now check out the scenarios.
- Draft pick trade value chart: DraftCountdown.com
- Draft prospect profiles and grades: NFL.com Draft Tracker
- Draft rumors and pro day visits: NFL.com