Does Jets' Pick of Kyle Wilson Open Window to Trade Leon Washington?

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Does Jets' Pick of Kyle Wilson Open Window to Trade Leon Washington?
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

When the Jets' dream scenario was developing prior to pick 29 of the 2010 NFL Draft, "Trader Mike" Tannenbaum had no reason to live up to his moniker.

He simply had the need and the best player combined in one Kyle Wilson.  A local product from Piscatway High School, Wilson can now play all of his home games in his home state—an opportunity he declined in 2005 when he turned down a late scholarship offer from Rutgers and instead went to Boise State.

The major reason the Jets angled in on Wilson was his remarkable flexibility.  With a similar profile as Patriots first-round selection Devin McCourty, Wilson also possesses the speed and cover ability to shine in Rex Ryan's defensive system.

Ryan's system relies on playing defensive backs to cover one-on-one while linebackers, safeties, and other DBs are sent to blitz the quarterback and make plays in the backfield.  

Wilson's speed, and his 11 career interceptions at Boise State, many of which he took the other way for touchdowns, make him a perfect fit for the Jets.  

But it is the second part of his game, his kick-coverage—and kick and punt-return ability—that has Leon Washington on thin ice as a Jet.

A few days ago to little fanfare, Washington signed his second-round tender with the Jets, which means Washington is a Jet for now, but can be unloaded for a pick in the second round.  

Currently, the Jets do not possess a third-round pick, but must mull over this opportunity to try to add another second-rounder.  

While the Jets continue to state that Washington is in their plans as a playmaking running back and special teams return man, the pick of Wilson does make him expendable.

An observer has to question what Washington will be after a devastating knee injury that cost him half of 2009. His absence allowed for Shonn Green's emergence as the Jets primary ball carrier.  

The Jets signed former All-Pro LaDainian Tomlinson mostly because of his ability to pick up a blitz, run in short-yardage situations, and his ability to catch passes out of the backfield, something the Jets really lacked with Thomas Jones and Shonn Green as the only running backs last season.

You have to wonder where Washington's touches will come from now.  Will he return punts?  Run the ball?  When will that happen?

Of course, you must consider that the Jets rush the ball more than anyone in the league. But now, with the acquisition of receiver Santonio Holmes and the re-signing of Braylon Edwards to go with an underrated Jericho Cotchery, you have to figure the Jets plan to sling it around in 2010.  

So, the Jets must ask themselves what is more valuable: a third-string running back off major surgery, or a second-round pick?  

It isn't definite that Washington will be dealt, but the situation bears watching. Of course, I don't think Tannenbaum can go a full draft without dealing someone to somebody!

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