Most of you probably play fantasy football or fantasy baseball and have been a part of a draft. If you have you’d see that most of the principles are the same as a real draft, just on a much smaller scale with a lot less on the line. In your draft you don’t want to be constantly scrambling for a player because the one you want just got taken or you get caught in a run on a certain position that makes you act earlier than you want. You need to dictate to know the value of the players you want and plan accordingly, you have to know what your opponent needs and you have to be able to predict when a run on players will begin. If you’ve done all that well then you probably had a good fantasy draft.
The NFL Draft has similar principles to your draft. They both require research except instead of reading a fantasy football website or magazine, the Jets visited 263 schools, made 575 total school visits, wrote 1,372 player reports, perused 3,500 player evaluations, conducted 635 interviews, and attended 115 Pro Days and 120 college games. While fantasy football players just worry about statistics, in a real draft with real people, personality, character and other intangibles make the decisions more difficult. Also to know their opponents and their needs, they need to scout the rest of the league well and know what directions they are going and how much they value each position. From there the Jets need to develop their strategy based on their own board and predicting how other team’s boards look. They need to know if they need to trade up for a prospect they covet or trade down if multiple options are available. The Jets need to know when the runs on positions of need will take place and get in front of them.
What would this look like practically in this draft for the Jets? With 12 picks (8 tradeable) the Jets have the assets to move up in the draft. In the 1st round I would not expect a move because this is such a deep draft and there a lot of options that should be available at that pick. The 2nd round is where I think there might be movement. Knowing that there will probably be a big wide receiver and tight end run in the late 1st/early 2nd round, the Jets could flip their first 4th round pick into moving up approximately ten spots so they don’t miss out on a top-level prospect. The same goes for using the 4th rounder to move back into the latter part of the 2nd round. After the 3rd round, trades that include players come into play. The Jets picked up Chris Ivory last year that way. This year is it Johnathan Joseph? In a scenario like this, you have to balance the talent and low salary of a player picked with your pick in that round against the talent, need, age, and character of the player you are looking to acquire. The Jets have the assets and the salary cap room to be as active as they need to be and that is how you control a draft.
The research is done, the boards are complete and the preparation is done. They have everything they need to control this draft including having a ton of picks, salary cap space and room on the roster. All that is left is execution and that begins Thursday night. Your move Mr. Idzik.