Although many might not love to hear it, there is a possibility the Jets will trade up in next week's Draft in the first round. There might be a player they love who falls. It might even be worth it. Then again it might not be. Let's take a look at the four times the Jets moved up in the first round since the turn of the century. I'm talking about trades in which the Jets gave up their original first round pick so I'm not including their trade back into the first round for Dustin Keller in 2008.
Jets traded 17th and 52nd picks, Abram Elam, Kenyon Coleman, and Brett Ratliff to Cleveland for 5th pick.
Selection: Mark Sanchez
Actual 17th pick: Josh Freeman
Notable players who went in next ten picks: Percy Harvin, Clay Matthews
Actual 52nd pick: David Veikune
Notable player who went in next ten picks: LeSean McCoy
Was it worth trading up? Not even close in this case. Despite some early team success and flashes of promise, Sanchez never approached becoming the franchise quarterback this team was hoping to get. Looking at the players the Jets could have taken instead is quite depressing. They also gave up solid defensive line depth in Coleman and a playmaking safety who felt like a great fit in subpackages in Rex Ryan's defense.
Jets traded 25th, 59th, and 164th picks to Carolina for 14th and 191st picks.
Selection: Darrelle Revis
Actual 25th pick: Jon Beason
Notable players who went in next ten picks: Anthony Spencer, Joe Staley, Ben Grubbs
Actual 59th pick: Ryan Kalil
Actual 164th pick: Tim Shaw
Notable players who went in next ten picks: William Gay, Corey Graham, Legadu Naanee
Was trading up worth it? As much as Mike Tannebaum took heat for constantly trading away Draft picks, moving up for Revis was probably the best single move he made during his tenure as Jets general manager. Revis developed into the top cornerback in football, the most valuable defensive player in the league for a short stretch, and the best player on a team that contended for championships. Unfortunately egos, both player and team, eventually conspired to get us where we are today, but Revis was a grand slam pick. The 2007 first round was legendary. Five players went who later on would be considered the best at their position, Calvin Johnson, Joe Thomas, Adrian Peterson, Patrick Willis, and Revis. The top overall pick? JaMarcus Russell.
Jets traded 13th and 22nd picks to Chicago for 4th pick.
Selection: Dewayne Robertson
Actual 13th pick: Ty Warren
Notable player who went in next ten picks: Troy Polamalu
Actual 22nd pick: Rex Grossman
Notable players who went in next ten picks: Dallas Clark, Larry Johnson, Nnamdi Asomugha
Was trading up worth it? It was not. Robertson drew Warren Sapp comparisons coming out of Kentucky but never came close to meaning them in part because of a degenerative knee conditions. Adding insult to injury is the fact the addition first round pick the Jets traded was consolation from botching Laveranues Coles' free agency and letting him go to Washington. If you really want to get depressed, think about how the Jets passed on Ed Reed to take Bryan Thomas the year before, which was just as inexplicable even then at the time as it sounds today. The Jets were that close to a Reed-Polamalu safety tandem. I know every team can look back a decade later an lament stars it passed over, but geez.
Jets traded 19th, 111th, and 181st pick to Pittsburgh for 16th pick.
Selection: Santana Moss
Actual 19th pick: Casey Hampton
Actual 111th pick: Mathias Nkwenti
Actual 181st pick: Rodney Bailey
Was trading up worth it? The question is complicated by the fact the aforementioned botching of Coles' free agency in 2003 led the Jets to trade Moss to Washington in 2005 to re-acquire Coles. Moss had a productive career. I think things would have worked quite well had Coles and Moss been allowed to grow with Chad Pennington and compliment each other. Ultimately there are not many players the Jets could regret passing. Sure in hindsight you'd rather have Moss' college teammate Reggie Wayne who went 30th, but that isn't like Stephen Hill over Alshon Jeffery. The Jets were never going to take Drew Brees a year after using a first round pick on Pennington. Sometimes trading up makes sense because there is a legitimate dropoff in quality. I think the move up for Moss is a good one.
Sometimes moving up backfires, but it can also work out. Don't dismiss the idea out of hand.