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A 2024 NFL Draft Tease

Looking forward to a great draft

NFL: NFL Draft James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

This is the type of draft season people like me dream about. This year’s NFL draft is just loaded with talent up and down the board. This is the type of draft where a future Hall of Fame player could fall through the cracks into the 3rd round. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. Defensive end Jason Taylor (#73) and cornerback Ronde Barber (#66) were both 3rd round selections in 1997, so it does happen.

What makes this draft dynamic is the fact that you have so many quarterbacks who could be near or around the top pick. You have as many as 9 quarterbacks who could be selected in the 1st round, which throws the draft into a tizzy. All the teams will have different draft grades on these players, so you have no idea which teams covet which players.

Trades may be abundant, so a wise GM who is targeting a certain player can make out like a bandit, since there will be many teams that will be looking for their quarterback of the future. When teams covet a certain quarterback the price tag for trades goes way up. A team like the Jets could demand a fortune in picks as compensation for a move.

As teams move up for their desired quarterbacks, other players at other positions that may have higher draft grades will drop down. The Jets could reap a fortune in a draft trade or find a player at their spot that they had no idea would drop to them.

Players who could fall to the Jets

Joe Alt (Notre Dame) OT

Currently my highest rated offensive tackle, he is going to be a solid pro. I have him rated a bit higher than my grade on D’Brickashaw Ferguson when he came out. Alt will likely not be a rookie Pro Bowl player, but he will be solid, and he should grow into a Pro Bowl type tackle.

Malik Nabers (LSU) WR

Nabers is currently my #1 wide receiver in this draft, and his grade is nearly off the charts. When I rated Justin Jefferson I thought I was crazy and rated him too high. I was wrong. When I rated Ja’Marr Chase higher than Jefferson I thought I rated him too high. I was wrong. Now I currently have Malik Nabers rated near or even with Chase. This could change as I get more tape, but I doubt it. Nabers would be a great complement to Wilson. In fact, I have a higher grade on Nabers than I had on Wilson at this point in the drafting process. Nabers would be great for the Jets if they select him in the draft.

This draft is also filled with players who will be solid pros but are more likely to be role players or players who may switch positions and become great players. There are far too many of these types to list, and my scouting grades are in their infancy. Just one example:

Dominick Puni OT Kansas

Puni is a big bodied kid who played in a run heavy system, where he excelled at run blocking. He is about 6’ 5” 320 lbs, and he played 4 years at Central Missouri before transferring to Kansas. He has 41 career starts, with 25 at left tackle and 13 at left guard. His arms may be a little short, but he has good movement skills and a solid anchor. He is the type of kid you could slide inside at guard and he could play a decade for you as a solid contributor on the line. He will be in the Senior Bowl so I look forward to watching him in drills there.

Puni is probably somewhere around a late 3rd round or early 4th round prospect right now, but that could change some as testing and combine results come in.

There are so many players like this in the draft that will be overshadowed by the highest ranked players and all the quarterbacks. When a team is looking to find a franchise quarterback and they have the means to get one, they will throw a lot of their draft resources to scouting those players they would like to draft. With so many quarterbacks available, teams will be spending an inordinate amount of resources to find the right player. By doing so they may not have the time or resources to look into players like a Puni, so these players can fall through the cracks to savvy GMs who know where to find value.

This is always where the value lies in the draft. This is how a team like the Jets drafts Darron Lee (I shudder just by saying his name) with the 20th overall pick in 2016 and Joe Thuney goes in the 3rd round in 2016 at #78.

This is the draft you want for all those mid round picks.

If I was Joe Douglas, I would be looking to find picks anywhere I could get them. This is why I advocated trading Carl Lawson, Dalvin Cook, Allen Lazard, John Franklin-Myers and Ashtyn Davis. I was not looking for a #1 pick but 3rd, 4th and 5th round selections. This is what smart GMs do when a plethora of quality prospects are available in the upcoming draft. I knew a year ago this was going to be a sensational draft, so you know NFL GMs knew that long before I did.

The Jets should finally get some added draft capital in compensatory picks. The Jets could get as many as three compensatory picks, although you are probably looking at two 6th round picks and a single 7th round pick. Still, those picks are tradeable, so if Joe Douglas needs to move up a few spots in the 3rd round, one of those could help. I personally would keep my picks unless I knew for certain a player I wanted was going off the board before my pick.

This article is just a tease to excite you about the next few months of draft reports.

The Jets are not that far away from having a great team with solid drafting and a few key free agents. They don’t have to be huge signings, but you can get a lot better backups than the Jets currently have.

Let’s hope Joe Douglas gets the job done.

Who is your favorite unknown player in the 2024 NFL draft?

Let the rest of us know.