A few weeks before the 2017 NFL Draft, Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan made it known that his team was " " when it came to trading down.
His work this weekend shows that Maccagnan was not lying. The Jets have been the most active team in trades, making five swaps that helped turn four picks into seven. Here's a list of the deals:
- Jets trade No. 70 to Vikings and receive No. 79 and No. 160
- Jets trade No. 107 to Buccaneers and receive No. 125 and No. 204
- Jets trade No. 125 to Rams and receive No. 141 and No. 197
- Jets trade No. 160 and No. 224 to Browns and receive No. 181 and No. 188
- Jets trade No. 191 to Cowboys and receive 2018 5th-round pick
Because the Jets received and then traded No. 125 and No. 160 in separate deals, their total haul looks like this:
- Traded: No. 70, 107, 191, 224
- Received: No. 79, 141, 181, 188, 197, 204, 2018 5th-rounder (DAL)
Without accounting for the players selected at those slots, how you feel about what the Jets did likely depends on whether you consider yourself and old-school or new-school draft analyst.
Old-school draftniks likely still use the Jimmy Johnson draft value chart that was popularized by the Cowboys in the early 1990s. On that chart, the Jets came out losers in this series of deals, no matter where that 2015 fifth-rounder from the Cowboys falls. The Jets surrendered four picks totaling 337 points on the Jimmy Johnson chart, while receiving six picks totaling 288.1 points in this year's draft and a fifth-round selection that will yield between 27.4 and 43 points in the 2018 draft, depending on where the Cowboys finish next season. Either way, that looks like a loss. It's a mild loss equivalent to giving away the 191st pick for free, and you can argue that turning four picks into seven still makes it a win, especially considering just how many holes the Jets have on their roster.
Newer-school draft thinkers that prefer to use the AV-based draft value chart popularized by Chase Stuart (explained here and here) and favored by more analytically-inclined front offices will likely think of this series of deals as a clear win. There, the Jets surrendered four picks totaling 13.6 points, and received six picks totaling 14.4 points in this year's draft, and a fifth-round selection that will yield between 2.3 and 3.7 points in the 2018 draft, depending on where the Cowboys finish next season That's the equivalent of generating a fourth or fifth-round pick out of mid-air, and you get to make seven selections out of four. That's a win no matter how you slice it.
Of course, it's important to know who was actually taken with all these picks, because how their careers turn out is more important when considering who won the trades than merely how many points the selections were worth on any particular draft chart. Here's who the Jets surrendered a chance at taking in these deals, and who they wound up with:
- Passed: Pat Elfein (70), Kendell Beckwith (107), Xavier Woods (191), Zane Gonzalez (224)
- Selected: ArDarius Stewart (79), Chad Hansen (141), Dylan Donahue (141), Elijah McGuire (188), Jeremy Clark (197), Derrick Jones (204), 2018 5th-rounder
If the latter list of players ends up having better careers than the former, the Jets will look very smart for all their moving and shaking. If not, well ... New York is not exactly kind to general managers that pass on impact players in favor of those that don't work out.