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So, The New York Jets Won…Now What?!

So, The New York Jets Won…Now What?!

You can probably count on one hand the number of times that fans of a team are generally unhappy that their team wins a game, in any sport. I’m an Arsenal fan and right now there isn’t a lot I wouldn’t do for one, just to be able to remember how it feels not to be awful.

The NFL is a different beast to the Premier League however and the chance to have the number one pick in the Draft, to be able to secure, unimpeded, the game changer, the new face of the franchise is one that often gets fans through a poor, disappointing season.

This year has been no different, I have watched all season as Jets fans from across the world have been counting down the days until they are able to draft their Saviour (well the next one, the last Saviour, Sam Darnold, has been Gase’d out of favour the last two years). Unless you have been hiding under a rock, or just do not follow American Football closely, you will know that the prize above all others in April next year is Trevor Lawrence, a rangy Quarterback out of Clemson, a player who has to date, never lost a college game of football.

The Saviour himself.

He brings with him the mentality or a winner, the promise, at least theoretically (and I should point out that this is not a promise made by the player himself), that he is the cure to what ails the green side of New York.

There are of course going to be many other players that come out of the 2021 Draft who will go on to be very good players in the NFL, some may even make star status but at the moment the focus has been purely Trevor Lawrence and now the Jets have managed to mess that up.

Is There a Plan B?

At the Quarterback position the next highest rated prospect is Justin Fields, a player who has put Ohio State on his back more than once this season, and someone we all know from Netflix’s QB1. The problem is that there are concerns over whether he would be able to ‘do’ whatever it is expected Lawrence can do for a team that needs turning around.

Whichever Quarterback it is who ends up in New York, they are faced with joining a squad which could arguably be said to have more holes than a sieve. All season, loss after loss it has been widely accepted that Lawrence would be taking up residence in New York. The only caveat to this being that he may just decide to stay in school should the Jets get that Number 1 pick, although he has himself come out publicly and said he will be happy to play for whoever drafts him.

Now that it seems Lawrence is on his way to Florida, to a team who seem to at least have many of the pieces in place for a quicker turnaround and the Jets have a decision to make, whether they have planned for this turn of events is anybody’s guess.

Option 1 – Take the Next Best Quarterback

Is Justin Fields an improvement on Sam Darnold? This is something the Jets will now be scrambling to assess, there is no reason for them to just stick and take a Quarterback for the sake of it if he is not offering something which they do not currently have.

Justin Fields, better than Sam Darnold? Who knows…

The other option Quarterback-wise at the second pick would be Trey Lance, a player out of North Dakota State who some experts have actually tagged as the number one Quarterback prospect. The major problem facing Lance is his lack of college action, he has only played one full season and a total of 19 games for the Bison. We all know how the last pick involving a Quarterback who had a small sample size of college games turned out, taking Mitchell Trubisky over Patrick Mahomes will probably haunt Bears General Manager Ryan Pace for the rest of his life and could cost him his job. The pressure is on for the Jets hierarchy to get this pick right!

The Jets do not however have to take a Quarterback, this leads me to option two.

Option 2 – Take The Next Best Player Available

Penei Sewell out of Oregon is widely regarded to be the best non-Quarterback player available in the 2021 Draft. An Offensive Tackle who has been described by more than one publication as a generational talent, Sewell would offer the Jets and immediate bookend tackle who has the potential to anchor one end of the Offensive Line for years to come. Protecting Sam Darnold certainly holds a lot of attraction, an extra second in the pocket can allow a Quarterback to go from average to good, perhaps even to great (with the assumption that they have the necessary football IQ) and it could be like getting two new players for the price of one. Remember, Darnold is still young himself and has plenty of time to develop into the franchise Quarterback the Jets hoped that he would be.

Penei Sewell, Oregon. Is he the compliment to Mekhi Becton the Jets need?

If the Jets wanted to go a different route they could pick up Micah Parsons out of Penn State, the consensus number one Linebacker in this years Draft class. Parsons has graded out as the best linebacker prospect that PFF have graded since they begun in 2014 and this places him close behind, if not alongside, Sewell for the best non-Quarterback prospect. The Jets currently have a below average stable of backers, their best has opted out this year in CJ Mosley, the rest have been uninspiring to say the least, don’t come at me and tell me Neville Hewitt has been anything but average to good at most. With Avery Williamson moving on to the Steelers there is a home for Parsons here should the Jets wish so.

The Jets could of course choose to go with the skill positions and there would be none better to take than LSU receiver Ja’Marr Chase. Chase terrorised FBS teams last years and he appears ready to take that play to the NFL. In fact he felt so ready that he opted out of this season and spent the entire time preparing for the Draft. Often this could potentially hurt a draftee’s stock however based Chase’s 2019 performance I expect that is unlikely. Anyone who can accumulate 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns in 13 games will have everyone’s attention.

The 2020 Draft class of Wide Receivers was generational and it is arguable that the best College receiver was not even represented. Ja’Marr Chase offers the team who drafts him an instant impact starter and this may be an option that the Jets cannot pass up, taking him at 2 overall however may be a bit rich, which leads me onto…..

Option 3 – Trade Back for a Haul of Picks

If the argument is to be believed that Darnold struggles, with all sympathy allowed to those who have to play under Adam Gase, due to a lack of parts around him then this would appear to be a very sensible option should the Jets not want to go Best Play Available at two.

If we look at the last time teams traded back from two we can see just how much can be obtained by doing this.

In 2017 the Bears traded up from 3 to 2 and gave the 49ers the following picks to get Mitchell Trubisky:

2017 2018

1st round pick 3 3rd round pick 70

3rd round pick 67 

4th round pick 111

In 2016 Eagles traded up from 8 to 2 (and got a conditional 5th) and gave the Browns:

2016 2017

1st round pick 8 1st round pick 12

3rd round pick 77

4th round pick 100

In 2012 Washington traded up from 6 to 2 and gave St Louis:

2012 2013 2014

1st round pick 6 1st round pick 22 1st round pick 2

2nd round pick 39

(St Louis turned this into 8 players via other transactions after as well!!)

What this shows is that there is the potential for the Jets to get a lot. After the Jets’ pick at two if there is anyone looking for the franchise Quarterback and believes Fields is it then there is no team until you get to the (current) 11th pick, Detroit, who could be that team. Without going into an evaluation of who needs what on other teams I do not see the it being a small trade back for the Jets. As such it is fair to assume they would likely be able to garner multiple 1st round picks and some later round picks as well for that second pick.

This opportunity to build pieces around Darnold, in my opinion, is the best option. Give him a team that can actually compete and really see if he has what the team is looking for in their franchise leader. Look how it has worked for Miami, in two years they have gone from and awful team to a potential playoff caliber team, this is down to good management, not san accusation that can be levelled at the Jets to be fair, and good drafting.

Draft Night, it can change the course of a Franchise overnight.

What the Jets do with their 1st round pick will be one of the biggest stories of the night, after Lawrence going to the Jaguars, and could well set them one the path to right a ship that has been sinking slowly for a long time now, god knows Gang Green deserve that.

Also, the New York Jets need to fire Adam Gase, that guy is just plain awful!!

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