The NFL Draft is officially three days away, and this week’s New York Jets mailbag discussion will focus on the Super Bowl of the offseason — featuring our writer’s Paul ‘Boy Green’ Esden Jr. and Michael Obermuller.
We’ll talk Aaron Rodgers trade predictions, sleeper prospects, mock draft theories and any potential trades that do not have to do with the Green Bay Packers. In case you missed it, here were our most recent mailbags:
- Week 87: Hard Knocks, underrated and overrated needs & backup plans at WR/DT.
- Week 88: Odell Beckham Jr. fallout, 49ers rumors & drunk Joe Douglas?
- Week 89: Quinnen Williams skips OTAs, incoming demotions & draft warnings.
Predicting Aaron Rodgers Return, NFL Draft Trades
1. Final prediction on the Rodgers trade (hopefully). When does it occur this week and what’s the final package going back to Green Bay? Or does nothing happen before/during the draft?
I think the trade will be completed on Thursday, April 27, ahead of round one of the NFL Draft.
In terms of return, I believe the final trade package will be a first-round pick swap (No. 13 and No. 15), the No. 43 overall pick (2023 second rounder), and a conditional 5th in 2024 that can elevate based on team success and Rodgers’ snap percentages.
I think the first-round pick swap can be the sweetener to put this trade over the top.
Talks have picked back up between the Jets and Packers heading into draft week — thankfully. It’s not all that surprising though, as both franchises know that they pretty much have to strike a deal before Saturday. Once those two NYJ second-round picks are gone, all bets are off.
Having said that, I do believe the two general managers work something out and I love my partner’s thought process all around. I hate to do it, but I’ll give a very similar response.
Night one, swapping No. 13 and No. 15, as well as No. 43 (second) and a conditional fourth (playoffs, All-Pro season, Super Bowl could be the conditions for an upgrade from 3-1). I’ll add that the Jets get a 2025 fourth rounder back if Rodgers retires after one season.
2. Do the Jets make any trades during the NFL Draft *besides* a Rodgers deal with the Packers?
There is always the chance the Jets can do a Chuck Clark deal where you send away a late rounder for a veteran who is on the outs. That could make sense at linebacker, safety, or defensive tackle.
Although I think it’s a near lock the Jets make a trade back somewhere in the first two rounds to recoup that third rounder that was lost in the Elijah Moore trade. You can lock that in with 1000 percent certainty — my crystal ball never lies baby.
Boy Green and I are thinking on the same wavelength today. I see Joe Douglas trading down either in round one or round two, depending on what happens with Rodgers. Round two might make more sense if the Jets get their guy at No. 13 overall.
This is a lackluster draft class by most assertions, but there’s always depth to be had. That’s why I could certainly see Douglas trading back from No. 42 or No. 43 (whichever they don’t trade to the Packers), picking up that new third rounder, and then using it on a position like center, defensive tackle or wide receiver.
One close-to-home scenario that actually makes sense: The New York Giants move up from No. 57 overall to No. 42, sending the Jets No. 57 (late second) and No. 89 (late third). This trade would line up pretty evenly on the NFL trade value chart, with a slim five-point difference in value. The Jacksonville Jaguars and Dallas Cowboys might fit the same mold, just above (JAX) and below (DAL) the Giants in the draft order in rounds two and three.
Jets Sleeper Prospects & Official Heavy on Jets 2023 NFL Mock Drafts
3. Give me a Jets sleeper pick in the draft, round four or lower.
Easy — Syracuse running back Sean Tucker. Regardless of what the team says they need Breece Hall insurance and Tucker is going to slip in this draft despite his sterling resume.
He had a weird medical issue that prevented him from participating in the NFL combine, but he will have his own Pro Day on Monday, April 24 to prove to teams he is okay. *Note: The Jets were reportedly in attendance at Tucker’s Pro Day on April 24.*
This kid has a chance to be one of the biggest steals of the 2023 NFL draft. It’s a very weird situation and one that lacks clarity, but believe me this kid is going to be special.
You’ll see in my mock draft below that there are several guys I could call sleepers — some, even, that I didn’t end up selecting or getting the chance to. He’s likely a second-round pick (so this doesn’t count for the question), but I’ll start with Jonathan Mingo, who reminds me of D.K. Metcalf coming out of Ole Miss.
He might not be as physically imposing, but he’s up there, and his mix of size, strength and route-running would be a perfect fit inside Nathaniel Hackett’s scheme.
I’ve also heard a lot of good things about Michigan center Olusegun Oluwatimi, a potential starter valued in round four or five. The four-year starter once won the Joe Moore Award (best offensive line in college football) in consecutive years according to draft expert Lance Zierlein. Give me him developing behind Connor McGovern and you have the center position locked up for the next five-to-10 years.
4/5. Mini Mock: Prediction time, mock out the Jets draft including any potential trades with BRIEF explanations for key picks and trades.
No. 207: Jonah Tavai, defensive tackle, San Diego State.
I used the PFF mock draft simulator to provide some realism on who would be available at each selection. The only thing I regret is not going defensive tackle earlier, but that is how the board broke so I was forced to get better talent instead of reaching for need.
No 13: Paris Johnson Jr, offensive tackle, Ohio State.
No. 63: Jonathan Mingo, wide receiver, Ole Miss.
No. 95: Isaiah McGuire, edge rusher, Missouri.
No. 112: Olusegun Oluwatimi, center, Michigan.
No. 143: Kobie Turner, defensive tackle, Wake Forest.
No. 214: Stetson Bennett, quarterback, Georgia.
No. 231: DeMarcco Hellams, safety, Alabama.
No. 249: Charlie Thomas, linebacker, Georgia Tech.
Notes: I also used PFF’s mock draft simulator. I did not flip first rounders with the Packers, but I did “force trade” away No. 43 overall and a 2024 third for Green Bay’s 2024 fifth (and hypothetically, Rodgers). For the sake of this mock, that will have to do. I also dealt the No. 42 overall pick to the Kansas City Chiefs for a package which included: No. 63 (second), No. 95 (third), No. 249 (seventh) and a 2024 third-round pick. I accepted this offer to recoup the draft capital lost in the trades involving Rodgers and Moore. I also traded pick No. 207 to the Las Vegas Raiders later on because I didn’t love anyone that was available and wanted an extra pick (recouping Nos. 214 and 231).
I reached a little on Mingo, but I think he’ll turn into yet another sleeper wide receiver out of Ole Miss. Johnson and Oluwatimi shore up the O-line, while Turner and McGuire offer tremendous upside as rotational pieces (right up Robert Saleh’s alley). I think Hellams and Thomas could be two solid depth options/special teamers at weaker NYJ positions late in the draft, and as for Bennett, he’s a leader and a winner. Adding him to a quarterback room with an uncertain future can’t hurt.