BrainHeat says...The Jets should trade down to later in the first round our early 2nd. The Draft is full of impact players in the 2nd and 3rd rounds.
The Jets draft right in the middle of the first round this year, at pick No. 16. They also have a healthy allotment of 10 draft picks -- though the four compensatory picks can't be traded -- with a general manager who has been known to make trades on draft day.
"We’ll have 16 names we’re comfortable with," general manager Mike Tannenbaum said at a pre-draft press conference today. "Could we slide up or back? We’re certainly going to be open to all scenarios. We’re happy at 16, that’s the cards we’ve been dealt, and we’ll maximize those opportunities."
Some have speculated that the 16th pick is somewhat of a no man's land for teams, given this year's talent pool. Tannenbaum's take was that no matter where a team is in the draft, it always seems like there are a few less must-have players than the pick number.
Tannenbaum has traded up in the first round three times as the Jets GM: for Darrelle Revis, Dustin Keller and Mark Sanchez. With the rookie wage scale under the new collective bargaining agreement, teams with high picks may be less desperate to get out of those slots, leading to less trades -- but Tannenbaum said deals can still get done with willing buyers and sellers.
"I do like the flexibility of having the 10 (picks)," Tannenbaum said. "Of the 10, we can’t trade four, but like I said, we’re open to going up and back. That’s certainly been our track record; that certainly falls back to our preparation. When we see opportunities, we’ll try to take advantage, but again trading back is also something we are open to."
A pass-rushing outside linebacker or defensive end is a need for the Jets and could be something they address in the first round. They have worked out or brought in for visits several potential first-round prospects at the position, and senior personnel consultant Terry Bradway said, "that’s a positon we’ve been looking at." Among the best are South Carolina's Melvin Ingram, North Carolina's Quinton Coples and Alabama's Courtney Upshaw.
"I think when you look at it, seven of the eight outside linebackers on our board were all college defensive ends," Bradway said. "I think there’s a good number. I think it’s a position that we’d like to get a young guy in there that can play and help us win. If that happens, then we’ll be happy."
The Jets thought they brought in a young player to fill that spot with Vernon Gholston in 2008, but the No. 6 overall pick did not pan out. When asked about that pick, Tannenbaum said, "we all make mistakes."
Receiver or safety are also possibilities for the Jets in the first round. Vice president of college scouting Joey Clinkscales said the Jets "have done a lot of work" on Notre Dame receiver Michael Floyd, a projected first-round pick who visited Florham Park. But both he and Bradway also said the draft has good depth at receiver, with some good receivers to be taken in the mid rounds.
Alabama's Mark Barron is considered the best safety in the draft, but Clinkscales hinted he might not be a good fit for the Jets' defensive scheme.
"He may or may not be the best fit for this team, or any defense that’s running a true man-to-man system," Clinkscales said. "But he has the skill set to really be effective in some of the things we do and other teams as well."
In Bradway's opinion, this draft is very deep in running backs, receivers, cornerbacks and guards and thin in offensive tackles and tight ends.
The Jets have a lot of needs in this draft, but one position in which their roster seems to be set is quarterback. But Tannenbaum, who subscribes to former Packers GM Ron Wolf's theory of bringing in a quarterback a year, said he would "definitely not rule out" taking a quarterback in a late round this year, adding that the Jets have spent a lot of time with some quarterbacks in the pre-draft scouting process.
CB Darrelle Revis has two years remaining on the four-year contract he signed in 2010, but the deal at the time was viewed as a band-aid contract to end his holdout and give Revis the average salary he was looking for over the first two years. Would Tannenbaum be open to sitting down with Revis' representatives after the draft and beginning discussions to remove the band-aid, so to speak?
"Darrelle is under contract," Tannenbaum said. "Darrelle is obviously a really important part of our team, and we look forward to the 2012 season and hopefully accomplishing a lot of great things together."
Asked again if he would be receptive to a new deal for Revis, Tannenbaum said, "I said all I’m going to say about his contract."
Tannenbaum said the Jets will likely not add any free agents in the week before the draft, but he left the door open to bringing back WR Braylon Edwards. "I would not rule him out," he said.
The Jets re-signed Santonio Holmes instead of Edwards last year. Edwards went to San Francisco but injured his knee and was cut at the end of the season.
While the Jets look to fill some holes in the draft, they are also expecting a handful of young players to take big steps forward this offseason. Tannenbaum called this a "critical" offseason for 2010 second-round pick Vlad Ducasse, and said he expects bigger contributions from RB Bilal Powell and WR Jeremy Kerley this year.