Let’s tell it how it is…
The majority of Jets Nation would like to see the Jets use all of the 8-12 draft choices they will have in this year’s draft. There’s nothing wrong with this philosophy, by the way. But the Jets are lacking a true #1 receiver. Staying put at 18th overall could jeopardize their chances of landing such a talent. When you think about elite #1 receivers around the league, you think Calvin Johnson. You think AJ Green, Dez Bryant, Larry Fitzgerald, or even Josh Gordon.
The depth at the wide receiver position in this years draft is deep. With that said, the difference between Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans is big, in my opinion.
Sammy Watkins is the next Larry Fitzgerald. He’s likely the best weapon the Jets could add to help surround Geno Smith. Besides the fact that your giving up valuable draft picks, it is worth the risk in this day in age. The CBA and salary cap implications give teams the opportunity to sign draft picks to a deal using the rookie wage scale. That means Watkins would only be paid up to $15 Million over four years (with a fifth year option).
So what would it take for the Jets to trade up?
According to ESPN’s NFL Draft Value Chart, the Jets would have to give up their 1st rd. pick (#18), 2nd (#49) 3rd rd. pick (Revis trade #69), and 5th (#142) rd. pick, and *6th rd. pick (#178).
*Keep in mind that the Jets could opt to trade one of the picks above in the 2015 NFL Draft, rather than this year’s draft.
After adding all of the points for the picks listed above, the Jets trade value is around 1612. The total required for the 6th overall pick is 1600. It’s a lot to give up, without a doubt.
Yeah, five players should have a bigger impact than one, but you don’t come across a Larry Fitzgerald-type-talent very often. Last year’s 8th overall pick was a speedster who’s draft stock sky-rocketed days before the draft, in Tavon Austin. But he isn’t a true #1 receiver like Julio Jones or AJ Green, who are the only noticeable top picks (WR) in the past few drafts. Sammy Watkins is a lot like Julio Jones. The Falcons gave up a lot to draft Jones in the 2011 NFL Draft, but do you really think Atlanta regrets the trade? I highly doubt it.
If you think about certain drafts like the 2009 and 2013 NFL Draft, the first round talents in those classes were atrocious compared to the 2011 NFL Draft class. The 2009 wide receivers were Michael Crabtree, Darrius Heyward-bey, and Percy Harvin. None of these wide outs are elite #1 receivers. The 2013 draft had Tavon Austin, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Deandre Hopkins; none of which are elite #1 receivers either, in my opinion.
What’s my point?
A talent like this doesn’t come around every year. The Jets need to snag this elite weapon before it’s too late. He will instantly become the #1 receiver on the Jets depth chart, which isn’t saying much, but he’d still emerge as Geno Smith’s favorite go-to target. And the best part is, he won’t cost much.
Now, if the Jets can somehow draft Eric Ebron and Jordan Matthews with the first two picks, I am all for it. Believe it or not, I’d actually enjoy that.
But I doubt Ebron will make it to the 18th pick. And Jordan Matthews could go higher than most expect. So the Jets could be pressed to add weapons via free agency which could cost a bunch. They will have up to around $40 Million to play with, but knowing Idzik, he won’t use all of it. Resigning players like Calvin Pace, Austin Howard, Nick Folk, and even Ed Reed could be the plan. The Jets will also have to pay for the draft picks, which won’t cost a ton. But after a trade for a #6 pick from Atlanta for Sammy Watkins, the Jets would still have a pick in the 3rd (80), a pick in the 4th (111), one in the 6th, and up to three picks in the 7th round. That’s assuming the Jets get a 6th rd. compensatory pick for one of the players lost after the 2012 season (DeVito, Bell, Landry, etc.).
Watkins is clearly the most talented wide receiver coming out of this year’s draft. Adding a player of Watkins caliber would make Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg’s job a lot easier. The Jets would instantly become a playoff contender by drafting Watkins. It’s as simple as that. Actually, “simple” might be a poor choice of wording. It’ll take an abundance of draft picks to move up, as stated earlier. But the Jets have lacked a dominant #1 receiver since the days of Keyshawn Johnson. I believe Watkins will be better than Key. And he won’t be fighting with quarterback’s to “give him the damn ball”.
Here is what NFL analyst Bucky Brooks had to say about the Jets adding Watkins…
The Jets thrust Geno Smith into the starting lineup in Year 1, yet provided him with few weapons on the perimeter to foster his development. Consequently, the rookie quarterback slogged through a topsy-turvy season that saw him toss 21 interceptions, yet deliver a pair of fourth-quarter comebacks and five game-winning drives. While the youngster needs to learn how to take care of the ball and avoid the costly mistake, the presence of a dynamic receiver on the outside would take his game to the next level. With Watkins capable of stretching the field on vertical routes, Smith would see bigger windows on underneath routes, while still having the option to target his new toy on downfield throws. Additionally, Watkins’ spectacular running skills would allow Smith to generate gaudy production on low-risk throws like slants and screens. If the Jets can find a way to produce a few more points on offense, the stifling defense is more than capable of carrying Gang Green back into the playoffs next year.”
With all of this said, let’s remember that this only works if Watkins slips to #6 overall. He would have to pass St. Louis, Jacksonville, Cleveland, and Oakland. Of course, that’s assuming the Texans take a QB or Clowney with the 1st overall selection. But it’s certainly a possibility. Houston, Jacksonville, Cleveland, and Oakland all have needs at the quarterback position. If Watkins slides, you can bet a team will be willing to trade up. The Falcons, sitting at #6, could want to stockpile draft picks to make up for all they lost trading up for Julio Jones in the draft a few years back. If, and only if, Watkins slips to the Falcons at #6, the Jets should be the first ones to call Atlanta and talk trades.
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