During an NFL combine workout of future draft picks, New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan admitted to reporters that the Jets are open to trading down in the 2019 NFL Draft to relinquish the #3 overall pick if the price is right.
The Jets finished the 2018 season with a 4-12 record and fired head coach Todd Bowles. Only the Arizona Cardinals won fewer games than the Jets. The Jets were awarded with the #3 pick in the upcoming draft behind the Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers.
“Right now, we feel good at number three,” said GM Mike Maccagnan. “But I’d definitely say if there’s an opportunity to trade down, we would absolutely look at it.”
Last year, the Jets traded up in the 2018 NFL Draft and moved from #6 to #3 in order to select USC quarterback Sam Darnold. This time around, the Jets are hoping another team that wants a quarterback is willing to make a similar swap.
Moving Up for Darnold
Last season, the Jets moved up to make sure they had a chance at one of the premier quarterbacks from the best QB draft class in years. The Cleveland Browns surprised a lot of scouts and pundits when they selected Heisman trophy winner Baker Mayfield from Oklahoma. Mayfield was not at the top of most mock drafts.
The New York Giants picked running back Saquon Barkley with the second pick and the Jets picked Darnold.
To move up three places, the Jets shipped three second rounders to the Indianapolis Colts. They used the pick to select a guard to bolster the offensive line for Andrew Luck.
Despite an overall bad season for the Jets, Darnold shined in his rookie season. Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, and Lamar Jackson were all picked after Darnold. Including Mayfield, all five rookies had a significant impact on their respective teams.
Thin QB Ranks in 2019
This year’s class of future quarterbacks is not even close to the same elite category as the Class of 2018. The best prospect isn’t even in the draft. Justin Herbert from Oregon decided to return to school for his senior season. Once Herbert took himself out of the running, a couple of other names decided to throw themselves into the ring.
Dwayne Haskins from Ohio State was the first to make a move. Most scouts have him as the top QB prospect.
Kyler Murray made a surprise decision and picked football over professional baseball. The Oakland As drafted Murray before he won the Heisman Trophy. Even with the Heisman, all signs indicated Murray was going to play baseball as a pro. However, he had second thoughts. With a weak QB pool this draft, Murray quickly rose to the top of scouting lists.
The other top prospects include Will Grier (West Virginia), Drew Lock (Missouri), Daniel Jones (Duke), and Ryan Finley (North Carolina State). However, none of them are expected to have a breakout year like rookies from the Class of 2018.
Moving Up for Haskins
The Jets and New York Giants share a home stadium and alternate home games week-to-week. The Giants are one of the teams in desperate need of a quarterback. Eli Manning struggled last season and even his own teammate, Odell Beckham, questioned his future with the club. Manning will return for another season, presumably as his swan song.
The Giants are on a mission to acquire the best arm in the 2019 NFL Draft. All signs point to Dwyane Haskins. The Ohio State QB was born in New Jersey and said he’d love to play for the Giants. Not too many local kids are lucky enough to play for their hometown team, but Haskins has a chance to pull it off.
The Giants have the #6 pick and are in the same spot the Jets were in last year. They want to jump ahead of the Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Jon Gruden is desperate for a quarterback and the Giants would hate to lose Haskins to the homeless Raiders.
The Giants and Jets have not made a trade with each other in 36 years. Mike Maccagnan said he was not opposed to trading with the “other” New York team.
“As long as the trade made sense to us,” said Maccagnan. “There’s nothing that would stop us from doing that.”
The Jaguars have the #7 pick. They need a quarterback, but Nick Foles is rumored to be heading to Jacksonville.
The Jets are in a prime spot to leverage their third pick against other teams desperate for a QB. The team is committed to Sam Darnold. They hired their first offensive-minded head coach in decades. The Jets want new head coach Adam Gase to take Darnold under his wing, like Gase did during some of Peyton Manning’s top years with the Denver Broncos.
In the meantime, the Jets hired defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. He’s mostly known as the “Bounty Gate” coach from the New Orleans Saints. Williams’ hardnose approach is what the Jets will need on defense, while Gase devotes his attention to the development of the precocious Sam Darnold.