Tyron Smith signing gives NY Jets much-needed draft flexibility

Mock draft season just got a whole lot more interesting!
Tyron Smith
Tyron Smith / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

Everyone was ready to pencil in an offensive tackle for the NY Jets in the first round of the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft. Essentially every single mock draft published over the last few months had the Jets going in the obvious direction in this year's draft.

Following the team's addition of All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith, however, it's safe to say that the mock draft consensus regarding the Jets has changed significantly. That's to say that there no longer is a consensus.

The Smith signing gives the Jets draft flexibility that they didn't previously have. It opens up a world of opportunities the team could explore in the first round. It prevents them from being pigeonholed into targeting one position.

This isn't to say that the Jets won't draft an offensive lineman in the first round, but that's no longer a necessity. Having that increased flexibility is massive for the Jets' draft plans come next month.

Tyron Smith allows the NY Jets to explore other draft options

Jets general manager Joe Douglas has managed to completely revamp his team's offensive line this offseason, adding not only Smith but also former Baltimore Ravens starters John Simpson and Morgan Moses.

All three players were acquired for well below market value, allowing the Jets to continue exploring the free-agent market. The likes of Mike Williams and Jadeveon Clowney are both expected to visit with the Jets this week.

The Jets are likely to sign a wide receiver prior to the draft, giving the team even more flexibility to enact a "best player available" approach. That's been Douglas's mantra since joining the Jets organization in 2019.

With as many as four quarterbacks projected to be selected in the top six of the draft, there's a very good chance the Jets will have an opportunity to land a top prospect at a position of need with the 10th overall pick.

Maybe that prospect is one of the consensus best wide receivers in this class, such as Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers, or Rome Odunze. Maybe it's one of the best tackles in this class, like Joe Alt or Olu Fashanu. Maybe it's Georgia tight end Brock Bowers.

Either way, the Jets have the flexibility to target any of those players now. They're no longer locked into hoping one of Alt or Fashanu falls to them. They can draft a player like Bowers if they want to and still feel comfortable with their offensive line situation.

The Smith signing also increases the Jets' chances of trading down in the first round. This would be an ideal situation for the organization, seeing as they don't have a second-round pick as a result of the Aaron Rodgers trade.

This year's draft class is loaded with Day 2 wide receiver and offensive tackle talent, making it even more appealing for the Jets to trade down and recoup a second-round pick if possible. With Smith in the fold, the Jets aren't desperate to stay put and add one of the top tackle options.

The Jets have positioned themselves in an excellent place going into the draft next month. This increased flexibility expands the pool of possible Jets targets, allowing the team to explore other possible outcomes.

As long as the Jets don't draft another edge rusher, that can only be a good thing.