Heading into the 2019 NFL draft, the New York Jets find themselves in a unique position with something they aren’t used to having: choices.
In a perfect world, it is so easy for the idyllic fan GM to create the most beneficial scenario to help his or her team heading into the upcoming season. While Mike Maccagnan operates in reality, my 40-plus years of being an expert in New York Jets history helps to put forth the following utopia …
Despite a very impressive start to their 2019 season with the offseason moves that he has made, Maccagnan still has many holes to fill. The offensive line has a few major holes including at center.
As of March 27, the Jets have three selections in the first three rounds of the 2019 NFL draft (3, 68, 93). That is not enough to make the impact that would put them on par with the New England Patriots as a threat to win the AFC East.
The Jets trade the No. 3 (first round) and 68th pick (third round) to the New York Giants for their No. 6 and 17 picks. The Giants helped their ability to rebuild faster this offseason when they traded Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns and acquired the No. 17 and 95 picks.
NFL Draft Value Chart:
- No. 3: 2,200 points
- No. 6: 1,600 points
- No. 17: 950 points
- No. 68: 250 points
Jets would be trading 2,450 points to the Giants in exchange for 2,550.
Eli Manning will be 38 this season and the Giants would love to find his successor as soon as possible. Acquiring the Jets third pick would allow the Giants to accomplish that this draft by taking Dwayne Haskins of Ohio State. The Giants currently have 12 selections in the 2019 draft, so they are in a unique position to handle such a move.
NEXT MOVE AFTER TRADE WITH GIANTS
Once they are able to secure obtaining both the Giants first-round selections for the third pick, the Jets would then do one of two things with the Oakland Raiders:
- Offer the Raiders the No. 6 pick for C Rodney Hudson and the Raiders No. 27 pick in the 2019 NFL draft.
- Offer the Raiders the No. 6 pick for their No. 24, 27 and 35 picks in the 2019 NFL draft.
Hudson is a stud. Pro Football Focus has rated him the best pass blocking offensive lineman among grade and efficiency in the NFL since 2015.
Last season, Hudson allowed just five pressures all season (four hurries, one hit) to match his 2017 pass blocking efficiency rating of 99.6 (Pro Football Focus). His 2017 season was the best ever for a center, as he allowed just three pressures (one sack, hit, and hurry) all season. In his four seasons with the Raiders, Hudson has allowed just two sacks. Obtaining a center that excels in pass protection would make the biggest impact in helping secure their most valuable offensive weapon, QB Sam Darnold.
That would give the Jets four of the first 94 picks in the 2019 NFL draft (17, 27, 35, and 94). This would allow them to fill many of their remaining holes with young, impact players along with saving money they would spend filling those holes in free agency.
WHY WOULD THE RAIDERS DO THIS?
Despite my delusions, the Raiders aren’t just going to hand the Jets the best center in the NFL, so perhaps the Jets would have to forfeit collecting another first-round pick from Oakland and ask for their second-round pick.
Two things the Jets have going in their favor is that Hudson is in the final year of his contract signed in 2015 and his cap hit is $10 million dollars this season. He will also be 30 on July 12 (just 17 days younger than Kelechi Oseleme whom the Jets acquired earlier this offseason from Oakland).
Looking ahead the Raiders have just 26 players under contract for 2020, but Derek Carr ($21.5 million), Trent Brown ($21.5 million) and Antonio Bryant ($17.3 M) are all major cap hits that they wouldn’t cut (Carr) or wouldn’t release (cutting Brown would be a $21.5 M cost against the cap).
IS THERE ANY HISTORY OF THE JETS GETTING THE IDEAL SCENARIO ON DRAFT DAY?
Not much. However, in the 1993 NFL draft, the Jets swapped their No. 3 pick with the Phoenix Cardinals for the No. 4 pick and RB Johnny Johnson.
The Jets then selected LB Marvin Jones with the fourth pick, who went on to become one of the best LB in team history. Johnson led the team in rushing and yards from scrimmage in both 1993 and 94 (combined for 2,696 yards and nine TD). He also holds the NFL record for longest run in NFL history that did not result in a TD (90-yard run against the Bears on 9/25/94).
Timothy W. Smith of the New York Times had this to say about the Jets move that day
“In negotiating with the Cardinals, the Jets pulled off something of a ruse — a variation on the old bait-and-switch — although given the talent of the two rookies involved, it should be considered a victimless crime. Both teams left the scene happy.”
Johnson retired after the 1994 season despite being only 27 years old.
FANTASY DOES NOT HELP FANS OF THE JETS FRANCHISE
Before anyone suggests that I’m the eternal optimist with zero brain cells operatic on unrealistic chaos, I fully understand that these suggestions are the most ideal one could ask for.
In any event, the New York Jets are in a great position to add to their already impressive list of offseason moves in the draft.