As we inch closer and closer to the 2022 NFL Draft, the true value of this class is starting to take its final shape. This is something that happens around this time every year: fan bases and analysts applaud the amount of elite talent across the board, but it’s not until the NFL front offices and scouting departments start to leak their thoughts on the class that the fan bases and analysts begin to know how the actual decision makers feel about the class.
While there are undoubtedly some very talented prospects in this class, the consensus is starting to become that it’s much more of a middle-heavy group than top-heavy. For comparison, last year’s best was one of the most talented crops we’ve seen in recent years with the top tight end prospect of the last decade in Kyle Pitts, three already great wide receivers in Jamarr Chase, Jaylen Waddle and Devonta Smith, two uber-talented tackles in Rashawn Slater and Penei Sewell, a versatile edge rusher in Micah Parsons, two lockdown cornerbacks in Patrick Surtain II and Jaycee Horn and five quarterbacks. From my evaluation, and I understand there can be some debate around this, 80-85 percent of those players mentioned above would be the No. 1 prospect in this draft class and the only ones that wouldn’t are guys that play positions that you wouldn’t consider with the No. 1 pick.
Everyone will have their own take on this, and deservedly so, but this belief is beginning to be backed up by front offices and scouting departments; the top of this year’s class just doesn’t have the pop of years prior. What it does have, and is something these previous classes lacked, is an insane amount of Day 2 and Day 3 talents.
There’s a multitude of reasons why this may be the case, but what makes most sense is the fact that college athletes who received their extra year or two of eligibility as a result of COVID has pushed a large portion of athlete’s draft decisions back a year or so, leading to a lot of solid athletes being available in Rounds 2-7. At the end of the day, the best value you’ll be getting with your draft picks is the end of Round 1 and through the middle of Day 3.
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With all that considered, the Jets are in a very favorable position. Their two second-round picks and early third rounder should land them impact players which, combined with an elite prospect with the No. 4 pick, shapes this team beautifully for 2022. That scenario doesn’t even include their 10th overall selection, which could really open some strong possibilities by way of trade-back scenarios.
Today, we’ll look at three intriguing scenarios that could cause Joe Douglas and Co. to take a step back, recoup some draft capital later in 2022 or early in 2023, and still land a very solid player in the backend of Round 1. Let’s kick things off:
Three Trade Proposals For New York Jets to Trade Back With No. 10 Pick in 2022 NFL Draft
Trade No. 1: The Steelers Get their Quarterback
New York Receives: Pick No. 20 and a 2023 first-round pick
Pittsburgh Receives: Pick No. 10
The Steelers have become one of the more quarterback-needy teams over the last two weeks and are equipped to make the leap forward by way of a trade with New York. A lot of dots continue to be connected between Carolina and Kenny Pickett, which could lead to Liberty’s Malik Willis dropping down into the 8-15 range. It’s my belief that, after watching Baltimore’s offensive success with Lamar Jackson, the Steelers are ready to mold their offense into a physical, run-oriented group with a versatile and athletic quarterback – something that Willis would surely be able to provide.
Pittsburgh already employs Mitchell Trubisky, who could provide as a stopgap quarterback for 2022 while they ease Willis into the pros and get him ready for 2023. Given Trubisky’s athletic ability, they can begin transitioning into this new-look offense and use him to mold the future for Willis when the time comes.
For New York to pick up an extra first-rounder in 2023 – a draft class projected to be flooded with elite talent – is a huge win and moving back to pick No. 20 still allows them to get one of the class’s top wideouts or target their top option at either defensive tackle or linebacker.
Logistically, this trade mirrors exactly the deal that was made in last year’s draft with the Chicago Bears trading up from 20 to 11 with the New York Giants to select quarterback Justin Fields. While Pittsburgh is an organization that rarely looks to trade up from its draft slot, this is the first time in almost two decades that they’d be looking to take a quarterback and that’s often the position where teams will act out of character to land their guy. If Pittsburgh comes calling, Joe Douglas would be very wise to answer.
Trade No. 2: The Eagles Love a Wideout
New York Receives: Pick No. 15, Pick No. 83 and a 2023 third-round pick
Philadelphia Receives: Pick No. 10
Do you think Howie Roseman still has Joe Douglas’ phone number? The two former coworkers find themselves striking a deal in this scenario, with New York deciding to pick up two third rounders to only slide back five picks so that Philadelphia can make sure they land their top receiver.
Philadelphia and New York find themselves in somewhat similar situations for 2022, with both teams looking to add elite talent around their young quarterbacks in what could be considered a make-or-break year for both Zach Wilson and Jalen Hurts. The Jets are probably a little more patient with Wilson, but Hurts’ time could very well be coming to an end if he doesn’t make significant steps forward in 2022, with a strong quarterback class waiting in the 2023 NFL Draft.
In order to make sure their current starter is given the proper opportunity to show his worth, adding in an elite playmaker to complement Devonta Smith should be more than enough to make life easier for Hurts. They would need to have a clear No. 1 receiver in this class to make the move, which could be tough to know seeing teams are split between four or five different options, but this deal gets done if Roseman and his staff di lui have a strong affection toward one specific target.
This could be a tough call to make for New York because not only are you giving away a top pick to an organization that knows your draft philosophy well, but you’re also allowing a team to draft a guy at a position you need to target . However, Douglas is a general manager that will always make a deal if he believes he’s getting the better end of the deal and adding a second third-rounder this year and an extra in 2023 could mean way more than sliding back just five picks. This all hinges on Philadelphia knowing exactly who they want to leave Round 1 with but could be a solid haul for Douglas if the opportunity presents itself.
Trade No. 3: The Chiefs Want their New Tyreek Hill
New York Receives: Pick No. 29, Pick No. 30 & 2023 fourth-round pick
Kansas City Receives: Pick No. 10
This one seems the least likely of the three, as New York takes itself well into the backend of Round 1, but the chance to add four impact players between picks 29 and 38 would be an awesome opportunity for this front office to leave April as one of the top “winners” of the draft.
The buzz surrounding Jameson Williams is really starting to ramp up as we head into mid-April, and the concerns around his injury seem to be lessening in similar fashion to Jaylen Waddle last season. Williams won’t end up as the sixth pick like his former teammate did a year prior, but there is a growing belief he could be the first receiver off the board on April 28. With Kansas City moving on from Tyreek Hill a few weeks back , a move into the top-15 could result in his immediate replacement and a new favorite deep target for Patrick Mahomes.
While this does seem odd, as the Jets were one of the two finalists for Tyreek Hill and would assume Williams’ fit would be an intriguing one for Mike LaFleur, but I don’t see the Jets bringing in a wideout that wouldn’t be available until midway through the season. This team needs to be winning games in September and October and stashing away a wideout with the 10th pick won’t help that winning mentality.
Making this move would also presumably leave them with an outside chance of getting one of the top five receivers in this class, but names like Penn State’s Jahan Dotson, Georgia’s George Pickens and North Dakota State’s Christian Watson are starting to look like late first round options and would all be impact players to begin 2022. Depending how the board falls, this could turn into a group of rookies that includes Christian Watson, defensive tackle Travis Jones, linebacker Chad Muma and cornerback Kyler Gordon – an impressive haul when paired with their No . 4 selection.
It would be a gutsy move for Douglas to move back just about 20 spots, but if he’s comfortable with the growing notion that this is a middle-heavy draft it would be quite a way to address their plethora of needs with some of the draft’s best at those positions.
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