Garrett Bradbury
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The New York Jets trade-down scenario for N.C. State center Garrett Bradbury may represent the perfect 2019 NFL Draft play.

Robby Sabo

One area has stuck to Mike Maccagnan’s negative resume more than anything he’s done in four-plus years as the New York Jets front office boss.

Offensive line.

In 2015, it wasn’t a drastic concern. Maccagnan was gifted a solid five-man unit. Today, it’s as dire a situation as the state of Jacoby Ellsbury’s health. Fear not, Jets faithful; Maccagnan can immediately solve the critical issue in one fell swoop if he plays the appropriate cards. (“If” remains the critical question of the hour.)

For years, the reaction has oddly remained mixed. Many have screamed from the rooftops for three years about Maccagnan’s lack of premium offensive line draft interest. The Jets general manager has selected a mind-boggling two big heavies over 28 total picks in four draft seasons, both of whom heard his name called in the fifth round (Jarvis Harrison in 2015 and Brandon Shell in 2016).

Others pundits (and much of the fan base) have accepted the rationalizations. The favorites include “there isn’t offensive line talent in this year’s talent pool” and “next year is when it’ll finally be solved.”

In heroic and contrasting fashion, the rookie tandem of Eric Mangini and Mike Tannenbaum turned one of the worst units in the league into a powerhouse over the course of a sole offseason. The duo flipped three starters (drafting Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson), leading to one of the most surprising seasons in Jets history.

The Jets 2018 offensive line finished dead last in adjusted O-line yards (3.59), via the best damn football analytic site in the world, Football Outsiders. The unit finished 26 on the ground and 18 in pass protection.

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The unit is in terrible shape. Kelechi Osemele, 30 (by the time camp opens), could help, but the overhyped nature of his arrival rings true at the moment. At least two premium offensive linemen are necessary to remake the current collection.

Meet Garrett Bradbury.

Bradbury, a red-shirt senior, is rumored as a top-20 pick after a blistering NFL Combine performance. The N.C. State product wowed talent evaluators with attributes that smoothly blend with the NFL’s crazed zone-rushing scheme that promotes offensive line athleticism.

Standing 6-foot-3 and weighing 306 pounds, Bradbury’s most nagging negative is his size and length. Quite literally his only question relates around bigger defensive tackles overpowering him at the center position.

Don’t hang yourself up on the size concern. Adam Gase runs a zone-rushing scheme that would feature a dominant athletic center if the role fit. Bradbury ran an insane 4.92 forty-yard and 4.52 shuttle at the combine. This alone placed him in the first round.

The potential fit could only be described as football heaven.

Naturally, Bradbury remains a dream at the moment. Holding the No. 3 pick coupled with the fact NFL executives enslave themselves to the public, rigid big board, Nick Bosa, Josh Allen and Quinnen Williams are the names currently bandied about in Florham Park.

Bradbury can only come through a trade-down scenario yet it may represent the ideal situation.

New York’s greatest need lies at center. Edge, cornerback, tackle and even guard arrive at the “needs party” as well, but the center is the man whose big behind is graced with Sam Darnold‘s young fingers too many times a game.

The three teams that could trade up for a quarterback that makes sense in the Bradbury scenario are the Denver Broncos (10), Miami Dolphins (13) and Washington Redskins (15). Miami is unlikely given the rivalry. The Giants could make sense, but it’d be tough to snag Bradbury at No. 6. Even the No. 10 hole is a tough spot for the young center. It’s not out of the question, either.

The football world would have gone crazy if a top-three team selected Derwin James a year ago. The Los Angeles Chargers graciously accepted the gift at No. 17 and one First-Team All-Pro season later, that ridiculous rigid big board once again didn’t fail to entertain us.

A trade could allow Bradbury in the first, an edge in the second (and possibly third), a corner and a tackle in the third and the rest is history. More crucial than Bradbury is the idea extra assets are required. The holes are far too great to think differently. Texas A&M’s Erik McCoy in the second or third is a solid center choice as well.

Garrett Bradbury, however, is the bread and butter not only at the position but in terms of the ideal scenario.

Trading down to snatch up the center who best fits the zone-rushing scheme at the greatest position of need is the New York Jets perfect 2019 NFL Draft scenario.

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