When the New York Jets beat the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 16, most fans admitted that the dream of drafting Aidan Hutchinson or Kayvon Thibodeaux was likely dead and buried.
As the offseason has begun, however, neither prospect seems out of the realm of possibility. That goes two-fold for Thibodeaux, who has dropped significantly in recent mocks.
This has also been described as a wide-open top five that may come down to team philosophy or preference, instead of a more predictable talent-based ranking. Having said that, most assume that the one player that won’t slip to the Jets at No. 4 is Hutchinson.
Unless of course, they trade up.
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Recent Mock Suggests Blockbuster Top-3 Move
Many have the Green & White trading down in 2022 but virtually no one has them trading up from No. 4 overall. The team has a lot of needs and most feel they should maximize the draft capital they have — but would it change your mind if Hutchinson was sitting there at No. 3?
February 25 rumblings from NFL draft expert Daniel Jeremiah (via Matt Lombardo) sparked the trade-up scenario from uSTADIUM.
Lombardo tweeted: “Daniel Jeremiah says Aidan Hutchinson is the No. 1 prospect in this year’s NFL Draft class, but that he’d ‘have no qualms or problem with the Lions taking Kyle Hamilton No. 2. Says Hamilton holds up well against anyone in this draft.'”
This theory of Hamilton at two follows the assumption that the Jaguars will select a franchise left tackle with the first pick in the draft. Of course, LT-Hamilton would set up Hutchinson at three and uSTADIUM ran with this piece of information.
“I’d be on the phone begging the Texans for 3 and take Hutchinson so fast,” they replied — but the sports news website didn’t stop there.
uSTADIUM co-founder Nick Spano put together a mock draft for the Jets based on Jeremiah’s rumor and projected what a trade for Hutchinson might look like:
- Jets trade pick Nos. 4, 69, and 145.
- Texans trade pick Nos. 3 and 180.
This deal would cost Joe Douglas his only third-rounder and the first of his two fifth-rounders. The Texans would send a sixth-round pick back, along with the first-round swap.
The maneuver would definitely favor the Jets according to the NFL draft value chart — as Houston would sacrifice 2,217.8 points and New York would only spend 2,078 points — but it could be feasible with Thibodeaux or a top tier left tackle on the table for the Texans at four.
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Why Would the Texans Sacrifice the Potential Top Prospect?
You might be thinking, Houston would have to be crazy to pass on Hutchinson for two extra mid-to-late round picks, and you might be right. All mock drafts are hypotheticals after all and Spano’s is just as much of a prediction as any other.
Based on rumors and draft chatter though, it’s certainly possible, and here’s why.
Texans Looking for More Draft Capital
Houston needs a full organizational overhaul even more so than the Jets and GM Nick Caserio admitted publicly that he’d be “opnen for business” at three. If there are no takers that are looking to make a major leap, why not drop one spot and add two potential rookies for the price of one draft slot?
If you believe Spano’s deal is a little rich in Gang Green’s favor, you could always nix that sixth-rounder and turn this proposal into a three-for-one, or keep the sixth and turn the Jets fifth into a fourth. The point is, Douglas and Caserio can definitely get something done here.
Lots of Talent Available at No. 4
The Jets may be willing to pay the toll to get the “sure thing” in Hutchinson but it’s possible Houston loves Thibodeaux anyway. Let’s say they really want the Oregon product and figure NYJ won’t trade up to steal him, then this deal becomes a no-brainer that “fleeces” Douglas for two extra picks.
In another reality, Caserio is dead-set on drafting an offensive lineman. Maybe Ikem Ekwonu or Evan Neal, or whomever Jacksonville passes on.
If you’re confident the Jets will go with Hutchinson, the Texans GM could roll the dice and drop one spot in the order. Worst-case scenario, Houston ends up with the Michigan pass rusher at No. 4 because New York steals their O-lineman — and that’s unlikely in a trade-up.
Houston Isn’t as High on Hutchinson as Everyone Else
The final reason is the obvious one. Maybe Caserio doesn’t love Hutchinson as a prospect. We just talked about it in the open, but this is a “flavor” draft where different teams may prefer different players.
If Caserio isn’t crazy about Hutchinson, he would certainly take any and all calls before making this pick.
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