This is much less of a mock draft as it is a Draft Day strategy to use our 12 picks as assets to move around in the draft and acquire players who can make a difference on this roster while having the ability (due to 12 picks) to go for higher risk/higher reward strategies that other teams may not be in position to make.
Our picks are currently as follows:
Round 1 - 18
Round 2 - 49
Round 3 - 80
Round 4 - 104, 115, 137
Round 5 - 154
Round 6 - 195, 209, 210, 213
Round 7 - 233
I have used the Walters Football draft value chart for computing trading strategies. While this is obviously a chart used by NFL GMs, a market is truly determined by what buyers are willing to pay and sellers willing to sell. So just because a pick is worth 800 points - doesn't mean that you can add 400+200+100+75+25 to get 800 points.
As many people have been speculating, I think there is a good shot that at least 1 (if not 2) highly rated QBs fall in the first round. Bridgewater and Manziel both seem to be strong candidates to fall.
We all know that Cleveland needs a QB, however at the fourth pick - I think there is a high probability that they will target either Sammy Watkins (paired with Josh Gordon would be nasty) or Khalil Mack (we all know Pettine is a Defense first guy). With their 26th pick in the draft, they may target a falling QB or attempt to trade up to get their QB.
Assuming that a QB falls to us at 18, I would look to move back in a trade with Cleveland. Cleveland would likely need to trade us the 26th pick and their third rounder (pick 71).
Now we would have 13 picks in the draft with picks 71 and 80 in the third.
I think the most reasonable way to get an additional pick in the first round would be trading into San Fran's pick at 30. I would trade our 2nd rounder(49) and our own 3rd rounder (80) to San Fran to get their 30th pick.
This would enable us to get 2 potential impact players at 26 and 30 in the first round. We then wouldn't be picking again until the 71st pick (the early 3rd that we picked up from Cleveland). Ideally we could trade back into the second round, but it becomes a multi pick package. A team that I think might have interest in trading out of their 2nd rounder (47) would be the Cowboys, due to their salary cap situation. We would likely need to trade our 3rd (71 - which we acquired from Cleveland) along with our 3rd rounder next season (this might work for Cowboys as it allows them to gain a pick while pushing back salary obligation).
I would look to trade back into the mid to late third by once again targeting San Fran. They would have already had the 77th pick (from Tenn) and the 80th pick (from us for pick 30). Their pick in the third is pick 94. I would look to package 2 of our fourth rounders (pick 104 and pick 137) for the 94th pick. This would give us 4 picks in the first 94 (3 in the first 47).
Any trades past the first 3 rounds becomes much more difficult to mock out - due to declining pick values and what is left on the board.
Assuming those trades were to work out, our draft board would look like this:
Round 1 - Pick 26 - Dee Ford - Dee will give us our next potentially dominant pass rusher at the OLB position, and the heir apparent to Calvin Pace. I still believe that Pace will have a solid 1-2 years left in the tank, so will be a great mentor to both Coples and Ford and Ford will allow Rex to keep Pace fresh in passing downs. I would look to address ILB in the mid rounds - as we will ultimately need to replace David Harris in 2-3 years, and we need depth for the present.
Pick 30 - Brandin Cooks/Odell Beckham Jr/Jace Amaro - One of these 3 playmakers will likely be on the board at the 30th pick. I think the most likely candidate is Cooks and Amaro. I would lean towards going with Amaro, as he is going to provide the safety blanket of a big target in the middle of the field for Geno Smith which will be invaluable in his development. However, I wouldn't be upset to see Cooks take that speed position on the outside of the field opposite Decker. A big factor in this pick will also be the progress of Stephen Hill throughout the offseason, and if the Jets coaching staff thinks that Hill will benefit from being opposite Decker. If the coaching staff have faith in Hill, I am going with Amaro.
Round 2 - Pick 47 - Jordan Matthews/Jimmie Ward - Assuming that we went with Amaro at the 30th pick, and that Matthews is still on the board here (I think unfortunately he will be gone) I don't hesitate to add Matthews to the receiving core. This will give the Jets offense a receiving core of Decker and Matthews on the outside, Kerley in the slot, Hill as a speed guy and Amaro and Cumby at the TE. This is a huge improvement from last season. The other option for me here would be to go back to the defense, and solidify our secondary by adding Jimmie Ward. I think Antonio Allen is going to be a long term fixture at 1 safety spot, Jimmie Ward can be the other. While we will still have the hole at Corner this season, I think that solidifying the pass rush and the safety play along with continued growth from Milliner will allow Rex to hide their other corner spot next season..
Round 3 - Pick 94 - Dri Archer/Donte Montcreif - This pick allows us to continue to rebuild the offensive side of the ball. Archer gives us that change of pace RB who can add value in the return game and catch passes out of the backfield. I look at him as a potential Leon Washington type. Montcreif gives us another option at WR, particularly if we go with Ward at the 47th pick.
Round 4 - Pick 115 - Telvin Smith - I like picking guys from big time college programs with great coaching and a winning tradition. Fresh off a national championship and Jimbo Fisher's eye, Smith can instantly add depth at the ILB position while contributing on special teams. Whether he ultimately becomes the replacement for Harris is unsure, but at the least, he will push Davis to improve and add depth in the event of injury.
Round 5 - Pick 154 - Brandon Thomas - While Brandon was expected to be a 2nd or 3rd round pick, this would allow us to IR him for the year while penciling him in as our starting RG next season when Colon is finished. He will benefit from a full year in the facility with our training staff, coaching staff, learning blocking schemes in OL meetings and watching film. This is a value pick for the future.
Round 6 - Pick 195 - Colt Lyerla - I am not convinced that Colt will still be on the board here, but I wouldn't wait any longer to take a shot at him. At this point in the draft, the potential for guys making an impact on the roster go way down. Colt is a first round talent but has numerous character red flags. He is rumored to be working out hard in Las Vegas for months, and could give us a great receiving threat out of the TE position. I would not wait any longer to make this selection.
Pick 209 - Aaron Colvin - This is another red shirt candidate, who was expected to be a day 2 pick before his senior bowl injury. At this point in the draft, Colvin offers tremendous risk/reward. Like Brandon Thomas, he will have a full year to rehab with our training staff, sit in on defensive meetings, watch tape and really learn the nuances of the Jets Defense. It is not unreasonable that he could be a starter the following year opposite Milliner.
Pick 210 - depth pick
Pick 213 - depth pick
Round 7 - Pick 233 - depth pick
*****I would look to package any sixth rounders necessary to get an additional pick in either the 4th or 5th round later round trades really become situation specific.
By using this strategy, we are positioning ourselves to get 4-5 Year 1 starters while also having the ability to use picks to gain roster depth.
Following the draft, we should have added the following players:
Brandin Cooks or Jace Amaro
Jimmie Ward or Jordan Matthews
Dri Archer or Donte Moncreif
This allows us to add 3-4 year 1 starters, RB/special teams depth, LB depth, perhaps the highest risk/reward player in the draft in Lyerla and 2 potential Year 2 starters in Brandon Thomas and Aaron Colvin. The key to this draft is trading down from 18 to 26 and then trading up to the 30th pick. It also gives us flexibility to really go BPA while addressing team needs.
What do you guys think?