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Say it Ain’t So Joe

The great and the not so great of the draft

NFL: Combine Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Hey I get it. Joe Douglas killed it on Thusrday night. He didn’t get three first round picks. He got three great first round picks. I bet he even surprised himself on how well he did. Nearly every NFL Draft site had him as the big winner even though those players haven’t played a game; or even practiced yet. Still from a value point he got more than what he wanted. Ge got lucky the way things went. Sure Sauce Gardner was a great pick on so many levels. I mean it totally (in theory) solidifies our coverage potential with Sauce and DJ Reed on the outside, Bryce Hall as a big nickel and Michael Carter II in the slot.

Yet he had to be worried. He needed a speedy, difference maker at receiver, but when Drake London went at #8 he had to sweat out pick 9 with the Seahawks. It’s not like the Seahawks were going to go receiver. Oh no. They had bigger fish to fry. The Seahawks are one of the most likely to trade down teams in the Draft. If Washington (#11) had offered them their pick plus a candy bar they probably would have taken it. So when Seattle took an offensive tackle the Jets were free to take Garrett Wilson who was (again) a great choice.

You know somewhere Russell Wilson is cursing the Seahawks since he was never given adequate protection with quality Draft choices on the offensive line. I mean George Fant was a converted tight end who was the lowest ranked offensive tackle in the NFL two years straight with the Seahawks. So as soon as the Seahawks trade Russell Wilson away, Pete Carroll and the Seattle brain trust select Charles Cross OT who is not much of a run blocker but is one of the best pass blockers in this class. They combine that with selecting Abraham Lucas as a right tackle in round three You know Wilson was thinking? “You couldn’t protect me and then decide to spend two of your first three picks on offensive tackles as soon as I’m gone?” Truly amazing.

So the Jets had won the gamble. As soon as the Jets made the pick the rest of the teams woke up I guess. I mean the Seahawks probably would have traded down for picks, but once the Jets took Wilson the Saints (with huge holes on their line) traded up from #16 plus #98 and #120 to move up 5 spots for Chris Olave. As soon as that happened Detroit (who shouldn’t trade a pick) traded up to #12 to take a great speedster but an injured one in Jameson Williams. Detroit got # 12 and #46 in the deal but gave up 32, 34 and 66 to the Vikings which is a huge price to pay for an injured receiver. They probably could have gotten the same deal from the Seattle at 9 if they had some foresight and had their choice of receivers in the Draft other than London. Yet this is the draft, funky, foolish things happen.

So the Jets were riding high and probably sat down to have a bite to eat and watch the rest of the 1st round. Then as things progressed they saw Jermaine Johnson II fall. As he fell they calculated the cost. The further he fell the more it reduced the cost. Once it got to 26 the Jets made a move. The Bucs were at #27. JPP is no longer under contract.

The Jets feel this is the point Jermaine Johnson stops his slides so they trade 35, 69, and 163 for 26 and 101 which is about the going rate for such a trade. They take the pass rusher they coveted who they never thought they would get. They go to sleep feeling like a child who has a daddy named Elon Musk after Christmas day.

They come in early the next day all giddy from the accolades they received from the press on a job well done; and deservedly so.

That’s when the Jets front office get all full of themselves. They want a RB to combine with Michael Carter which is a great idea, but they want Breece Hall from Iowa State. I’m guessing they were afraid that Houston (a team of many needs) was going to take Hall before them. So they moved up two spots, and it cost them a 5th round pick which is an overpay. They probably could have offered a 5th or 6th in 2023 and got the trade done. The Jets overpaid without having to. They got foolish.

I know what you are thinking. It’s a stupid 5th round pick that usually turns out to be no one. I agree with that assessment, but that pick was the last one for the Jets. The Jets now had no pick after the 4th round which is where the talent in this draft ends. It’s a 4 round draft with a few back of the roster players after that. Yet in every Draft some players fall. They always do so if you have a pick in the 5th you can take a chance or find a gem. Never exhaust your picks prematurely in a Draft. You can send a late 2023 pick to a team then replace it with a player you no longer need the next year. That’s how things work in the NFL.

So here Joe Douglas is not adding picks. He is losing picks. The sweet point in the Draft is usually the late second early and third round where you can find value. They had a chance to help out a poor LB situation but choose a TE instead. , a TE who will struggle to see the field with two high priced veterans in front of him. Tight end is one of the hardest positions for a rookie to master so why bring in another TE when there is other positions of need?

LB’s (an area of extreme need) was taken the following two picks. The Jets had a choice of Channing Tindall (my choice) or Leo Chenal, but they chose a TE instead. Don’t get me wrong. I like Ruckert. He is a decent player with limited upside. He is NOT the best blocking TE in this draft for those who read trash draft reports. Plus with two high priced veterans in front of him; how much impact is he going to have? He is a rookie at a position which is one of the most difficult to transition from college to the NFL.

The Jets could have helped out Zach Wilson with a slot receiver then run five receiver sets with Davis, Moore, Wilson, and Mims. Mims isn’t even guaranteed to make the roster so it’s imperative to have a 4th receiver with upside. As of now C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin are going to have almost all the snaps a TE. So Jeremy Ruckert will rarely see the field, but if they chose a slot player like Calvin Austin could make a huge difference. Austin could be a upgrade over Crowder without making one of the big three play in the slot. The more you stress the defense with quality players with speed the more likely mistakes will be made.

It’s just team building 101 which I have been stressing for over two decades. I know you look at this as foolish but every chance you have to make your team better you have to do it. So just follow me here.

The Jets get a #3 TE who is not dynamic; Hoorah. Yet the backup offensive tackle for the Jets is Chuma Edoga who couldn’t block anybody from pressuring the QB. If the Jets take Calvin Austin (slot WR) instead of Ruckert they now can take a Max Mitchell OT (at pick 111) as a quality backup to the tackle position. The Jets don’t even know if Mekhi Becton can play this year. They haven’t seen him on a field. It’s just foolish to draft a backup 3rd TE when you don’t have a quality backup OT.

The Jets drafted Ruckert at #101 when the Ravens have 6 picks in the 4th round. Half of them they probably don’t want. The Ravens are looking for the playoffs so they don’t want a dozen rookies on their roster. A trade with the Jets, and they could find a 3rd round choice with more upside at a position of need.

The Jets need a quality strong safety and free safety, a couple of linebackers, an OT, a future center, and an upgrade at backup corner. Every pick counts. When you waste one you lose a chance to get better. Our safeties are rentals. Our offensive line has zero backups plus we need a run stuffer on the defensive line. I’m sure I’m missing some but that will due.

I know I’m being critical, but I have to be as should Joe Douglas. The Jets had the #4 pick for a reason. It’s not a good reason. I said the same thing last year, and the Jets are in the same place without any significant improvement. You can’t waste pick or trade picks away. This is just foolishness. If you don’t know who to take just call me and I’ll tell you.

I loved what Joe Douglas did in round one, but he got greedy. He should not be wasting picks when there is a chance to improve the team. You can’t improve the team without picks so he shouldn’t be trading them away except for unique situations. He is still a relative rookie as a GM so he needs to learn. Picks are important and your best players make your team. Your best players understand the salary cap. They make more when they win so it behooves you to think championship.

That’s what I think

I know you think different so tell me.

Go Jets