Jets’ Potential Blockbuster Trade Sends 3 First-Round Prospects to NY

Kenny Pickett

Getty Pittsburgh quarterback prospect Kenny Pickett at the 2022 NFL combine.

After the latest trade attempts fell through disastrously with Tyreek Hill heading to Miami, two things are clear — the New York Jets are well aware of their greatest needs and they may have to look to the NFL draft to solve them.

The Green & White are expected to target a top prospect at edge rusher and wide receiver, but they could also use help at positions like defensive tackle, cornerback, linebacker, safety and potentially, offensive tackle. It’s a good thing Joe Douglas has so many draft picks to work with, but what if he could gain more?

That theory was put to the test during a March 22 mock draft from uSTADIUM, in which Gang Green made a blockbuster trade that changed the entire landscape of the first round.

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Insane Return Forces Jets to Part With No. 4 Overall Pick

It has been discussed a lot the past couple of months, Douglas could be looking to trade down in the NFL draft. At first, trading down from No. 10 seemed like the more likely move for New York but lately, chatter has begun to center around the No. 4 overall pick as quarterback draft stock has risen.

The well-sourced NFL news site, uSTADIUM, went all-in on this rumor during their post-free agency mock draft.

After sending OT Ikem Ekwonu to the Jacksonville Jaguars, EDGE Aidan Hutchinson to the Detroit Lions, and EDGE Travon Walker to the Houston Texans, a colossal curveball shifted the course of the draft for the Jets. uSTADIUM traded the No. 4 selection to the Philadelphia Eagles for a package including two 2022 first-round picks.

  • Jets receive: Nos. 15, 19 and 124.
  • Eagles receive: Nos. 4 and 163.

In the end, the Eagles drafted quarterback Kenny Pickett and linebacker Devin Lloyd with their two remaining firsts, while the Jets took cornerback Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner at 10, edge rusher Jermaine Johnson II at 15, and wide receiver Garrett Wilson at 19.

In this scenario, Douglas would fill three major roster holes by agreeing to this deal.

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Lots of Smoke Surrounding Pickett to Philadelphia

The player selections are up for debate, but let’s recap the actual trade. This monumental move would send New York two later firsts, plus the Eagles fourth-round selection, for No. 4 and NYJ’s lower of two fifths. This would provide the Jets with three picks in the first, two in the second, one in the third, three in the fourth, and one in the fifth.

There’s no doubt about it, Douglas could do some major damage with a haul like this and according to the NFL trade value chart, it’s certainly plausible. Douglas would sacrifice 1,824.6 points by agreeing to this swap and Eagles GM Howie Roseman would spend 1,973 in order to make it happen.

It’s also notable that the two general managers have a strong relationship, they won a Super Bowl together in Philly. There is one obvious hitch though — why would Roseman make this sort of move with Jalen Hurts on the roster?

The Eagles GM drafted Hurts in 2020 with an eye toward replacing Carson Wentz. The decision was debated at the time, but the fallout only confirmed Roseman’s foresight. Will he make a similar gut call on Pickett after two short seasons?

At the bottom of the mock, uSTADIUM added what they “know” to be true. “Philly loves Kenny Pickett,” they explained. “They know Carolina is after him and have to get above them.”

Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy confirmed that representatives from the Eagles QB department were in attendance at Pickett’s pro day.

Then NFL Network reporter Aditi Kinkhabwala threw some gasoline on the fire by tweeting: “Kenny Pickett’s effort today was for all intents flawless. He ran through a 56-throw script, one that ran from anticipation throws to those that showed off his arm strength. He had meetings w/ eight teams from 9am-9:30pm yesterday (dinner was on the #Eagles!) and has more today.”

Word quickly got out that Roseman and the Eagles did indeed take the Pittsburgh product out to dinner. There is no way an organization does that if they’re 100% set at the quarterback position.

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Jets 3 First-Round Selections

Being that Philadelphia currently has three first-round picks, some insiders do believe they could part with one to make a big jump into the top-10. It’s challenging to pay three first-round selections later on, so this part is very conceivable.

From the Jets’ perspective, would Douglas be willing to commit to three first-round price tags? The franchise does have the cap space to afford it more than most, but it could also make more sense to defer a pick to 2023.

For the sake of this scenario, let’s say Douglas is comfortable selecting three prospects in 2022. If he is, uSTADIUM’s three choices would be a dream come true.

It’s important to note that there’s no guarantee Gardner, Johnson or Wilson would fall to these spots in the order. What’s more important are the positional targets.

  • Cornerback, edge rusher, wide receiver.

Gardner is the big question mark here because recent rumors have him off the board before 10 — and the crosstown rival Giants could be the destination.

If Gardner is gone, the Jets’ three picks could shift to something like — WR Drake London, DT Jordan Davis (if available), and Johnson or George Karlaftis at EDGE. You could also take Davis at 10 and target a WR like Jameson Williams, Treylon Burks, or Chris Olave later in the first.

Simply put: The options are limitless.