2011 NFL Draft: Should the New York Jets Trade Up in the First Round?

Chris Dela Rosa@chris_deezyContributor IApril 24, 2011

NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 21: New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan (R) attends the NFL Annual Meetings at the Roosevelt Hotel on March 21, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Despite a NFL owners imposed lockout in effect since March 12 the league is conducting its annual owners meeting in New Orleans.  (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

In 2009, the Jets traded up for the fifth overall pick. Most will argue that it was a successful trade. They traded with the Cleveland Browns, giving them players that did not have a giant impact and drafted quarterback Mark Sanchez. 

Since being drafted, Sanchez has helped lead the Jets to two consecutive AFC Championship Game appearances and have come as close to the Super Bowl as one more quarter of playing smart football. The Jets' collapse against the Steelers proved too much to overcome as the game progressed.

One of the key pieces missing in the Jets lineup is a high-caliber defensive tackle or end. Last year the Jets acquired Jason Taylor but the process of signing older veterans to one- or two-year deals will not be too effective fiscally or production-wise.

Therefore, one of the key pieces the Jets need is a defensive lineman. They currently have Sione Pohua, but he is an average player. They also had Kristopher Jenkins, but he missed nearly two full seasons in 2009 and 2010 after having two knee injuries toward the beginning of each season.

Most of the great prospects will be drafted early, and because of their appearance in the AFC Championship Game, the Jets will now have the 30th overall pick in this year's draft. If the Jets could do what they did in 2009, which is to trade away unwanted players and late draft picks in order to draft a high ranked prospect, it would really help Rex Ryan's defense.

Granted, there is always the possibility of trading up and having that player be a bust like their first draft selection from 2008 was (Vernon Gholston), but the likelihood of getting someone better than Gholston with a top-15 pick in the draft is very high.

Last year the Jets had a good team, and this year they will have many players returning (if the lockout ends), but in order to have a great team and achieve their goal of winning a Super Bowl, they will need to have an all-around team. 

In order to have an all-around team, some risks may need to be taken to improve certain positions, and right now that position is on the defensive line. If the Jets want the Lombardi Trophy it would be in their best interest to repeat what they did in 2009 and select a top defensive lineman.