While most mock drafts have the New York Jets going with a pass rusher at No. 3 overall, look for them to trade back in this scenario to snag Jawaan Taylor.
The 2019 free agency period is well underway and for the New York Jets, this offseason was predetermined to focus on surrounding young quarterback Sam Darnold with the tools he needs to progress in his sophomore season. The front office has given him some new toys thus far with elite running back Le’Veon Bell and slot receiver Jamison Crowder. With Robby Anderson, Quincy Enunwa, and Chris Herndon returning as top options, the Jets look to have a solid set of playmakers.
The Jets also made some moves on the defensive side of the ball, upgrading their front seven with the addition of C.J. Mosley. They made a key signing when they brought back defensive lineman Henry Anderson. Arguably one of the best moves they made was the trade for former All-Pro guard Kelechi Osemele.
Osemele is coming off a bad year in which he missed 5 games with a knee injury, however, the Jets are banking on him to return to form. With Brian Winters already in the fold, it looks like the Jets have two solid guards heading into 2019. There are still question marks at both center and tackle.
The Jets resigned Jonotthan Harrison who started at center in seven games to end last season. They wanted to upgrade the position via free agency, however, they missed out on the top two options. Both Matt Paradis and Mitch Morse signed with other teams, and there is not much left after them. Expect the Jets to either address the position in the draft or see what they have in Harrison for a full season.
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Kelvin Beachum did a solid job at left tackle last year, grading out as Pro Football Focus‘ 48th best tackle. Still under contract is Brandon Shell, who did an admirable job at right tackle in 2019. However, with the uncertainty along the offensive line, it may be wise for the Jets to move on from Shell and invest in a potential cornerstone of the offensive line in offensive tackle prospect Jawaan Taylor.
Taylor is projected to be one of, if not the first tackle off the board in this years draft, and for good reason. He is known for his smooth footwork and is fluid changing directions despite measuring in at 6-foot-5 and 330 pounds. He has strong hands, however, is said to have some room to grow in his technical skill. Taylor has proven to be effective in both the pass and run game.
The Florida product made improvements every year, having his best year in 2018. He has a solid football IQ and is not known to be a problem in the locker room. He would be an instant upgrade at right tackle, with the ability to transition back to left tackle if Beachum takes a step back in the future.
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The main issue with this scenario is where the Jets stand in the draft order. Currently slotted at the third overall pick, it would be too soon to take Taylor. Being projected just outside of the top ten on most draft boards, the Jets would have to trade back to make this happen.
When asked about trading back during the 2019 NFL Combine, Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan was quoted saying, “that’s definitely something we’d be potentially interested in,” which is another way of saying they would definitely take the right offer. There have been talks of the New York Giants wanting to trade up to take one of the top QB’s, Dwayne Haskins or Kyler Murray.
The Giants own the 6th and 17th picks in this year’s draft. According to Drafttek’s NFL Trade Value Chart for 2019, the Giants picks would hold a value of 2,550. The third pick checks out at 2200. That would be a slight premium for the Giants to pay, but the Jets could throw in their 68th overall pick to try to sweeten the deal in this scenario.
If the stars align and a deal like this falls into place for the Jets, they could not only solidify the tackle position with Jawaan Taylor, but they can also take a chance on a pass rusher later in the first round. A guy like Brian Burns from Florida State could make an impact right away on passing downs and he may still be on the board at 17th overall.
Although most people project the Jets to take a top pass rusher at No. 3 overall, trading back to take Jawaan Taylor would be the best way to help their young franchise quarterback right now, and in the future. This year is all about Darnold, so it would be wise to invest in the offense with their top option.