NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported two things about the New York Jets last night, but they sounded funny together in the same sentence.
Rapoport tweeted the following:
“Mentioned earlier the #Jets are looking to trade up. Their target is the Top 10, and I’m told they are very hot on #LSU WR Odell Beckham.”
If you follow me on Twitter @Adam_Zielonka, you know I was very skeptical of this idea at first. Few (if any) draft analysts and mockers have projected Odell Beckham to be taken in the top ten tomorrow night. But earlier today, ESPN’s Ed Werder tweeted this:
“Nobody in the NFL will be surprised if LSU WR Odell Beckham Jr picked before Texas A&M’s Mike Evans.”
Maybe nobody within the league will be surprised, but this is the kind of news fans like us want to hear before the draft, rather than watching Trey Wingo pretend to answer a phone call for a fake draft-pick trade from the imaginary Buccaneers.
But I digress.
The idea of the Jets trading up in this year’s first round is not novel. At the Jets’ pre-draft presser on April 30, general manager John Idzik said, “We’ll go in open-minded. The nice thing about having 12 picks is it does give you flexibility and maneuverability within the draft.” Senior director of college scouting Terry Bradway also reminded reporters several times throughout the presser that he has 12 picks to play with.
It’s vague, but it could all point to the team’s desire to move up for Beckham – or not.
This afternoon, it was a different wide receiver being said to have strong interest from the Jets: Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks. Cooks told the New York Post’s Brian Costello that he and the Jets have “been talking a lot on and off.”
“I took a visit,” said Cooks, referring to an official visit to the Jets’ Florham Park, N.J. facilities. “I think the visit went great. It’s one of those things. I feel like they’re pushing for me, but who knows?”
If the Jets think they ought to trade into the Top 10 to draft Beckham, where do they think they should position themselves to draft Brandin Cooks? Obviously, the wide receiver class is deep, and most of the teams as desperate as New York to draft one are picking in the mid-to-late 20s and later.
Say the Jets want to trade up into the Top 10, to pick whomever. The Lions are at #10, and every reputable source says they are serious about moving up to draft Clemson star receiver Sammy Watkins – most notably Sammy Watkins himself. The Bills are at #9. Can you imagine Buffalo trading down to allow their division rival to draft the player they covet the most? Maybe division rivals trading picks isn’t unprecedented, but the Bills wouldn’t do that. Besides, they want to trade up, too.
The Vikings are #8 and desperately need a new franchise quarterback like a Blake Bortles. The Buccaneers are a wild card at #7 – if they aren’t trying to trade up with Trey Wingo, the Bucs’ pick may be the lowest Top 10 slot the Jets could find available.
NJ.com Jets beat reporter Dom Cosentino posited on Monday that the Jets could trade up if they wanted to, but any pick higher than #10 would require them not only to swap firsts and give up a second, but also offer a future high-round pick. He referred to the league’s trade value chart for draft picks, which is reproduced on Drafttek.com. The way I read it, it would cost the Jets the 18th (900 points) and 49th picks (410 points) and a third-rounder next year (approximately 200 points) to persuade the Buccaneers to part ways with the seventh overall pick (1,500 points).
That’s if the Buccaneers even want to listen to offers at all.
My conclusion: Any sort of trading up the Jets do will have to be to #11, #12 or the early teens, just high enough to ensure at least Beckham or Cooks are available to them. Any higher is too much to pay.
Oh, and one last thing. Ian Rapoport also tweeted, “Interesting to hear #Jets keeping in regular contact with QBs slated to go in the first round. Maybe in case one falls. Maybe serious at 18.” The jokes and memes have already begun. As a fan of the team, if the Jets draft a quarterback in the first round, I, personally, don’t want to live on this planet anymore.