One week! That’s all the time left between now and the start of the 2017 NFL Draft. With the sixth overall pick, Jets fans should be absolutely drooling, thinking about all of the top tier prospects that will be on the board while Mike Maccagnan is on the clock.
With such good draft position, it would be really hard for the Jets to mess up this entire draft, but, given the fact that we are talking about the New York Jets, it might be prudent to provide a list of do’s and don’ts for management and fans to consider.
DO: Draft best player available in the first round
This should be the mantra of every NFL GM. Luckily, Mike Maccagnan has often said (and proven) that he believes that taking the best player available in the first round, rather than drafting based on need, is the right way to go. Considering that the Jets have so many needs, the best player available will probably fill a hole for the beleaguered organization anyway.
DON’T: Draft a defensive lineman, especially not in the first round
But you just said…
I know, best player available, but seriously? Do you really want another defensive lineman? The Jets can barely play all of their star, first round defensive linemen that they have at the same time. Meanwhile, the rest of the team is withering away.
It’s likely that the best player available won’t be a defensive lineman anyway. But if it is, stay away Mike Maccagnan, stay away.
DO: Consider trading down
As I’ve already said, the Jets roster has more holes than it takes to fill the Albert Hall (any Beatles fans out there?), so it would make sense to say that the Jets should definitely consider trading down to get more picks. However, I don’t think they should make that trade until they are on the clock; some players like Leonard Fournette are too good to pass up if they fall to the Jets.
DON’T: Trade Sheldon Richardson
Let’s get this straight: Sheldon Richardson is a great player with Pro Bowl level talent. He was better than Muhammad Wilkerson last year. He still on his rookie deal. He was the Defensive Player of the Year.
And, based on reports I’ve read, it seems like the going rate for him is a fourth round pick.
If the Jets trade Richardson for a fourth round pick, it will be an absolute steal for the other team. Yes, Richardson may have some off the field issues but those all came in one summer and he’s been relatively good since.
He has been bashed for being a bad locker room presence, especially since the infamous Snapchat incident. I think the condemnation is undeserved and several reporters around the Jets, including the NY Daily News’ Manish Mehta, agree.
Also, even if the Jets don’t resign Sheldon Richardson at the end of his rookie deal, they will get a third round compensatory pick just for letting him walk.
Unless they get much better compensation than a fourth round pick for Richardson, the Jets should not part ways with him.
DO: Take a defensive back in the second round
Jace Amaro. Stephen Hill. Kellen Clemens. Vlad Ducasse. The Jets have been historically awful in the second round of the draft. You’d think that with so much talent still left on the board, it would be hard to miss as consistently as the Jets do, but they still find ways to draft busts year after year in this stage of the draft. The only decent player they’ve taken in the second round in the past ten years is David Harris.
This year must be the year that they finally break the mold. They can do that by drafting a defensive back.
This draft is so incredibly filled with good safeties and corners that there are bound to be at least a few great prospects left by the time the Jets are on the board for the second time. Prospects that would be taken in the first round of almost every other draft like Kevin King, Marcus Williams, Budda Baker, and even (hopefully) Gareon Conley all have a chance at making it to the second round. The Jets can’t miss with drafting a defensive back with all of this talent still in play (knock on wood).
Even if the Jets take an elite defensive back in the first round like Malik Hooker or Marshon Lattimore, they would still do well to take a DB at this point in the draft. It’s not like the defensive backfield of the Jets is loaded with talent anyway. In all honesty, its probably the weakest aspect of the team besides quarterback.
Speaking of quarterback…
DON’T: Draft a quarterback
I could write a whole article about why the Jets shouldn’t draft a quarterback… wait, I actually did, using Mitch Trubisky (dubbed by many as the best QB in this draft class) as a case study.
The short of is it this: There aren’t any quarterbacks with a high enough ceiling to be worth drafting in 2017, especially compared to the way the 2018 draft class seems to be shaping up. Also, throwing a rookie into action with the Jets offense in its current state would absolutely ruin his development. In any case, the Jets still need to figure out exactly they have in Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg (no matter how unpromising they appear to be).
If the Jets still need a quarterback by next year’s draft (which they probably will), they’ll be in a better position to draft a quarterback for the future, almost certainly with a top five pick.
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