Let's face it folks, there's one staggering statistic wil become Mike Tannenbaum's legacy. No, I'm not talking about the contracts he gave to Mark Sanchez, Santonio Holmes, or even the Time Tebow trade. Over the course of his tenure as GM, no team in the NFL made fewer draft picks than the Jets. They weren't just in the bottom five, they were the bottom.
I'm sick of people telling me the Jets had too many busts. What, the Patriots haven't had busts? If they haven't, why are they always looking to free agency to get wide receivers? Why is it that in spite of stock piling drafts picks they they're always full of holes on defense? No friends, they Jets, relative to the rest of the league, didn't make poor choices in whom they picked, they just traded away too many picks.
This leads us to the real problems with the Jets right now: not enough depth, and not enough young players coming up through the ranks. They have holes now because they gave away picks to trade up for star players and acquire veteran outcasts. This offseason they still lack quality starters and need:
-at least one guard
-at least one OLB
-a running back
-a tight end
And they lack depth at pretty much every position. Ouch. This teams doesn't need Jordan or Mingo. They don't need Warmack. They don't need Patterson or Austin. No, they don't even need Geno Smith or <insert arbitrarily chosen QB here>. They need bodies, they need youth, they need speed, they need depth. They need to stockpile picks, otherwise any one player will do them little good. Even if they get the 13th pick from Tampa Bay, I'd still advocate trading down from #9 or #13 (or even better, both!) because in a few years they'll lose the next wave of players and be just as hopeless at now. What? You though Mangold and Ferguson would be in their primes forever? Nope, give it time and we'll be even more desperate on the offensive line.
Ok, so what could we expect from trading down? Here's a list of teams that might want to trade up and what the Jets might be able to get from them. I based this all on the standard draft pick value chart, if you want a look at it there's a version here: http://www.draftcountdown.com/features/Value-Chart.php . Keep in mind, this is all rough, if the Bills and Cardinals want to trade down, the Jets pick loses value in a trade, for example. As this is not a top heavy draft, I've tried to be a little pessimistic rather than a little optimistic. Here I ignore the 13th pick as the Jets don't own it yet, these potential trades are all for the 9th pick.
Potential Trade(s): 9th and 105th (Jets) for 16th and 46th (Rams) OR 9th (Jets) for 22nd, 46th, and 113th (Rams)
The Rams become a potential partner because they have two first round picks and already drafted a boatload of players last year. The two biggest needs for the Rams are offensive line and wide receiver, and if they want either Chance Warmack or Lane Johnson, the 9th pick would be a good spot to grad one of them. Would they need to move up to #9 to get Cordarelle Patterson or Tavon Austin? I doubt anyone knows, as their stock seems to change on a daily basis, but they remain possibilities.
Potential Trade(s): 9th (Jets) for 18th and 50th (Cowboys)
Why do I include the Cowboys? Because they're the friggin' Cowboys, they're always tempted to trade up! 9th is early for Kenny Vacaro, who would be a great fit for Dallas, but then again if the Cowboys want him badly enough, they'll find between the 9th pick and the 18th pick there aren't a lot of teams looking to trade down. If they want a 3-4 pass rusher to play opposite DeMarcus Ware like Mingo or Jordan or a potential nose tackle like Star Lotulelei, they may be disappointed at 18.
Potential Trade(s): 9th (Jets) for 20th, 50th, and 117th
This is where it starts to get awkward, as it reality the Bears probably don't want to give up three picks for one pick, but the Jets can always throw in a 5th rounder to assuage such concerns. The Bears need offensive line help badly. Badly. This is a playoff team if they can just keep Jay Cutler upright, and yet they continue to fail at this task. Imagine the Bears leapfrogging Miami and San Diego to snag Lane Johnson? That would be a great move for a team buit to win now that doesn't have a ton of holes. Their defense is aging, but if they could protect Cutler better, their offense has the talent to make up for it. They'll likely be tempted to stay put as they could address a need at linebacker without moving up, but they have to at least be considering finally making a move to shore up their dismal pass protection.
Potential Trade(s): 9th (Jets) for 23rd, 52nd, and 83rd (Vikings) OR 9th (Jets) for 25th, 52nd, and 83rd
This is actually even more awkward as even giving up a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round pick, the Jets still get shorted on this deal just a bit (at least according to the chart). In theory the Vikings two 1st rounds picks plus a 4th or 5th rounder is worth about the same as the 9th overall plus the Jets' 3rd round pick, but I just don't see the Vikings going for such a deal. They have two late 1st rounders to they'll likely consider moving up for Cordarelle Patterson or Tavon Austin, but like I said before with the Rams, it's unclear if they'll need to move into the top ten to snag either one. However, keep in mind that the teams that come after the Jets aren't likely to be looking to trade down, though there are a few teams picking ahead of the Jets who might be looking to trade out of the top ten. If they Vikings want Austin, for example, would they wait, risk losing him, and overpay for a pick in the teens or get aggressive and take the certainty that they get the type of player they need? Hard to say. Come draft day Austin and Patterson could be gone before the Rams pick, they could both be available at 23rd, they're draft stock just keeps changing and everyone says something different about these two (and remember: teams have their own scouts, they don't use mock drafts!)
Potential Trade(s): 9th and 141st (Jets) for 31st, 34th, and 74th
The 49ers are loaded for with talent, have plenty of depth, and have more draft picks than any other team. Why would they not trade up with somebody? The word on the street is the player that they truly want is Tavon Austin, and again there's no telling if they really think there's a need to move up to 9th overall to get him. If not Austin or Cordarelle Patterson, the next best option for the 49ers would be a safety, and there's no need to move up to 9th overall to get Kenny Vacaro. Matt Elam may fall to the 49ers if they stay put. The dark horse here is if they want to find a replacement for Justin Smith. Consider this: after Justin Smith went down, Aldon Smith had zero sacks. Zero. Yes, sacks are not the be-all-end-all stat for pass rushers, but the guy records 19.5 of them and suddenly can't get any? Imagine if they could snag a top-tier defensive tackle, like Star Lotulelei or Sheldon Richardson? If the Raiders pass on Sharif Floyd, look for him t be available and a great value at 9th, the 49ers would be salivating at the chance to get that type of player maker if not for their need at receiver. Honestly, I know this is a popular theory among most writers and fans, but it would be a really aggressive move by the 49ers when they might only need to jump to the middle of the round. If the Jets get the 13th pick, this trade becomes a lot more likely (but for the 13th pick, not the 9th).