On Sunday the Jets decided to blow up their previous vision of success and trade Darrelle Revis to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I think the Bucs did very well in this deal, but I also think the Jets were smart to continue mashing the reset button and actually extract value from Revis in the process.
He was leaving one way or another, and letting him walk for nothing would've been unacceptable. Instead, the Jets managed to provide themselves with significant flexibility during the 2013 NFL Draft.
They now own the ninth and 13th picks in the first round. While losing Revis is a dagger, having a pair of top-15 picks and four picks in the top 75 of a very deep draft is solid formula for kicking a rebuild off the right way.
Watching new Jets GM John Idzik deal with the New York media is an awkward mess. He's an incredibly nice guy and seems absolutely flabbergasted that there's no end to particular lines of questioning despite his insistence that he won't speak on certain subjects. But he'll generate some leeway for himself if he can manage to hit on the Jets draft picks, particularly the first two.
The nice thing about having no talent on your roster is that anything's fair game when it comes to the draft. The Jets could certainly use a combo of a cornerback and a pass rusher; Dee Milliner and Barkevious Mingo could be a home run and there wouldn't be anything wrong with Xavier Rhodes and Ezekiel Ansah. Maybe all those guys are gone -- grabbing West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin and UNC guard Jonathan Cooper would immediately improve the Jets offense. Even Geno Smith's in play at either of those spots ... or later on.
Which brings us to the option of trading down. Rumors are already percolating that teams like the Falcons and 49ers are interested in making a big move up the board to grab players they believe are elite. And the Jets are in an absolutely ideal spot to maneuver with anyone who wants to come up.
If attractive players start slipping down the board, Idzik's got two different locations to offer teams at the bottom of the draft if they're willing to pay the price. That price will, obviously, be a pile of draft picks, and it means that Idzik can start to re-stock his roster in a deep draft.
Jets fans will probably boo on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights in New York. It's what they do. But if Idzik can maximize the Jets flexibility achieved through moving Revis, he could give them plenty of reason to cheer.
1. Kansas City Chiefs -- Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan -- Still not out of the question to see KC go defense here, and their choice at tackle might be a coin flip. It's just hard to imagine the Chiefs trading Branden Albert and then not adding one of the top tackles in this draft. Andy Reid's done different things in the draft before and it's certainly not a lock, but if the Chiefs are trying to compete in 2013, they need a left tackle.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars -- Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon -- Plenty of chatter about a quarterback or even a tackle here. Maybe the Jaguars could go with whatever tackle the Chiefs don't take. But I think they need to get the best -- and most versatile -- pass rusher in the draft. That's Jordan.
3. Oakland Raiders -- Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida -- Oakland is like the Jets: It can go in any direction because it lacks serious talent on the roster. I like Floyd to anchor a defensive line that saw the loss of Tommy Kelly and Richard Seymour this offseason.
4. Philadelphia Eagles -- Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah -- This feels like a spot ripe for trade (if the Raiders don't move out ahead of Philly anyway) given the presence of Luke Joeckel on the board. Someone could hop up ahead of Detroit and nab the big left tackle. But for right now we're going to give the Eagles the talented Utah defensive tackle.
5. Detroit Lions -- Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M -- With no one moving up ahead of the Lions (for now), they're able to fill a glaring hole left by the retirement of Jeff Backus and Gosder Cherilus. Being able to keep Riley Reiff on the right side would be a big plus for Matthew Stafford and this offense.
6. Miami Dolphins (via mock trade with Cleveland) -- Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma -- A lot of whether the Dolphins will do this depends on if they can get Branden Albert from the Chiefs. If they can't -- and his asking price might be too high -- they're going to need to use that second-round pick to make a move and grab the best remaining tackle on the board. That would be Johnson.
7. Arizona Cardinals -- Jonathan Cooper, OG, UNC -- Tackle makes a ton of sense, but the Cards seem to think they're all right at that position. Instead they beef up the offensive line by adding the extremely talented and versatile Cooper.
8. Buffalo Bills -- Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse -- I can't believe I talked myself into this pick. But it's not who I would take here, it's who I think the Bills will ultimately take. And I think they're going to ignore the obvious economics of quarterbacks in this draft and get Doug Marrone's guy. If you've got a conviction, you've got to go with it, I guess.
9. New York Jets -- Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU -- Like I've said, the Jets can go in any sort of direction with their pair of picks. But grabbing Mingo at nine gives them plenty of flexibility with their next pick and ensures that they can improve their pass rush.
10. Tennessee Titans -- Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama -- The need for the Titans to keep beefing up their offensive line didn't disappear with the addition of Andy Levitre. Warmack at 10 makes a world of sense and should keep Chris Johnson happy and productive.
11. Atlanta Falcons (via mock trade with San Diego) -- Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama -- The Falcons want a cornerback and aren't shy about making a move up the board. They probably didn't expect to see Milliner fall to 11; neither did I. San Diego could actually use Milliner, but the Chargers need to boost their total draft picks to increase their haul.
12. Cleveland Browns (via mock trade with Miami) -- Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State -- The Browns would've preferred Milliner fall when they made this swap, but they'll take the consolation prize. And yes, quarterback is a possibility, but Rhodes help boost a secondary and would like nice alongside Joe Haden.
13. New York Jets (via Tampa Bay Buccaneers) -- Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia -- Another cornerback would help to keep Kyle Wilson at the nickel; Antonio Cromartie is fine as their No. 1. And the Jets have plenty of quarterbacks, but they don't have a quarterback of the future on the roster. Geno might start Year One and represent a pretty good upgrade for this squad.
14. Carolina Panthers -- Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia -- If the Jets don't pull the trigger on Tavon at 13 the Panthers should grab him at 14 and be thrilled about day one of the draft. If not, a trade down is a distinct possibility. And they have other needs including defensive tackle and secondary, but Austin's playmaking ability is too much to ignore.
15. New Orleans Saints -- Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri -- Rob Ryan's new defense means a need for pass rushers, and someone like Jarvis Jones would definitely fit here. But the Saints also need to make the defensive line sturdier, and Richardson does just that.
16. St. Louis Rams -- Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas -- Can't move away from the safety-wideout combo for the Rams in the first round. And if Austin's gone by 16, which I think will be the case, then Vaccaro makes a ton of sense for the Rams here, with some varied options available with their next selection.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers -- Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington -- Can the Steelers really be happy with their current setup at cornerback? Seems unlikely, and if a talent like Trufant is here, it's not illogical for them to nab him.
18. Dallas Cowboys -- D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama -- Jerry Jones keeps mentioning how bad the Cowboys line is and how OK that is because Tony Romo is mobile. That's ... wrong. A DT for their new Tampa-2 defense could work, but offensive line is a much bigger need right here.
19. New York Giants -- Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU -- Sticking with my guns that the Giants grab a pass rusher, except I definitely didn't see Ansah falling here when I started writing this thing. I'm not even sure I think it's likely to happen, but if they get a shot to pair Ansah with Jason Pierre-Paul, they're going to do it.
20. Chicago Bears -- Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia -- Jones' health issues caused a little bit of a fall here, and that gives the Bears a shot to pick up a potentially dangerous pass rusher. He might not be an ideal fit for their defense, but assuming the Bears defense will stay the same forever ignores the fact that Lovie Smith isn't in town any more.
21. Cincinnati Bengals -- Eric Reid, S, LSU -- Don't they have to bring back Andre Smith? How is no one signing that guy??? Whatever, that's not the point here: assuming they do bring him back, I'll give the Bengals a boost at safety here after the Rams snagged Vaccaro.
22. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins) -- Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee -- He's incredibly raw and there's a lot of risk here, but the upside of adding Patterson's play-making ability are too great to let him fall any further. The Rams have to get a wideout in the first round in my mind.
23. Minnesota Vikings -- Datone Jones, DE, UCLA -- Wide receiver is a major need, but are there a ton of options that the Vikes can feel comfortable with here? Keenan Allen's got red flags and could scare them off, so instead they beef up their defense.
24. Indianapolis Colts -- Cornellius "Tank" Carradine, DE, FSU -- Tank's said he can play in the 3-4 or the 4-3 (which he played in predominantly) and even though he's got injury issues and limited production, the upside of a beasty pass rusher might be too much for Ryan Grigson to ignore.
25. Minnesota Vikings (from Seattle Seahawks) -- Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame -- Riding this pick into the ground and using my point that the Vikings are loaded with former Notre Dame players, many of whom were teammates with Manti, as the reason why. It makes the transition easier and gives them what they perceive as value at linebacker.
26. Green Bay Packers -- Sylvester Williams, DT, UNC -- Williams is malleable enough to play in either a 3-4 or a 4-3 and improving the defensive line to free up their pass rushers is a key for Ted Thompson.
27. Houston Texans -- Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame -- Wide receiver's the popular pick for the Texans for obvious reasons. But they could also go tight end if someone like Eifert fell here. He'd give them an additional receiving threat that doesn't force them to abandon the running game.
28. Denver Broncos -- Bjoern Werner, DE, FSU -- The fall of Ansah to the Giants freed up Werner to fall further, freeing up the Broncos to add a productive pass rusher who can step in and help their defense from day one.
29. New England Patriots -- DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson -- I think the Pats willingness to spend again on a wide receiver (they already paid for Danny Amendola this offseason) hinges on whether there's speed available here. With Nuke's hotel-room issues maybe causing a fall, Bill Belichick pounces. He's not afraid of an alleged dirty bathroom.
30. San Diego Chargers (via mock trade with Atlanta Falcons) -- Menelik Watson, OT, FSU -- Always nice when mock trades work out for everyone involved! The Bolts might actually have to trade back up in order to grab Watson, but in this rendition he fell further than expected, freeing them up to grab him.
31. San Francisco 49ers -- Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International -- Unsure how I didn't work in a trade up for the 49ers, who will probably be doing so come my final mock draft; they seem like a squad that could get aggressive in the first round. Instead I'll have them stealing Cyprien at 31 here.
32. Baltimore Ravens -- Kevin Minter, LB, LSU -- Minter's abilities as an inside linebacker and the value he presents at 32 only prove that you should never doubt Ozzie Newsome. The Ravens have a number of directions they could go here to help reload the defense.