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Jets' decision to 'Let's Make A Deal' with Bucs for Darrelle Revis has high odds of going awry

Jason Cole
Yahoo Sports

The trade of Darrelle Revis for a pair of draft picks brings up an interesting choice.

Option A – You can have the No. 13 overall pick in the first round this year and possibly a third-rounder in the future. Value the conditional selection at No. 80 overall pick – middle of the third round – for the sake of discussion.

Choice B – Have Revis with a recovering knee injury and sign him to a six-year, $96 million contract. The one saving grace of the contract is that none of it is guaranteed.

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Darrelle Revis throws out the ceremonial first pitch before Monday's Rays-Yankees game. (AP)

The New York Jets, who are in rebuilding mode and tied up by salary-cap problems, picked A. The Jets could have kept Revis, but chose to take picks in an attempt to quickly turn things around, even though he was the team's best player.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers chose B, taking a chance that a player who made the Pro Bowl in four of his first five seasons before injuring his knee last season would perform better than the selections it would have drafted in those two spots. Prior to his injury, Revis was widely regarded as the best cornerback in the NFL.

So is there a way to figure out which team is taking the better risk?

"We've obviously done a lot of draft studies," Tampa Bay general manager Mark Dominik said. "… It comes down to how many players have been drafted who have had the impact that Darrelle has had … you can count them on one hand almost. It's very, very few, especially when you don't include quarterbacks."

Of course, that logic goes against the nature of this week, when some NFL executives and coaches attach an almost precious quality to draft picks.

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"Draft picks are the lifeblood of building a team," Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. "But you have to know how and when to use them. It's about where you are in the building process. Sometimes you want to have a lot of picks and replenish your roster. Sometimes you're looking for one or two key players that might push you over the top."

PAST 25 NO. 13 OVERALL PICKS
2012 WR Michael Floyd
2011 DT Nick Fairley
2010 DE Brandon Graham
2009 LB Brian Orakpo (2 Pro Bowls)
2008 RB Jonathan Stewart
2007 DE Adam Carriker
2006 DE Kamerion Wimbley
2005 OT Jammal Brown (2 Pro Bowls)
2004 WR Lee Evans
2003 DE Ty Warren
2002 WR Donte Stallworth
2001 DT Marcus Stroud (3 Pro Bowls)
2000 DE John Abraham (4 Pro Bowls)
1999 WR Troy Edwards
1998 LB Takeo Spikes (2 Pro Bowls)
1997 TE Tony Gonzalez (13 Pro Bowls)
1996 CB Walt Harris (1 Pro Bowl)
1995 LB Mark Fields (2 Pro Bowls)
1994 DE Joe Johnson (2 Pro Bowls)
1993 OT Brad Hopkins (2 Pro Bowls)
1992 G Eugene Chung
1991 WR Mike Pritchard
1990 LB Percy Snow
1989 RB Eric Metcalf (3 Pro Bowls)
1988 TE Keith Jackson (6 Pro Bowls)
PAST 25 NO. 80 OVERALL PICKS
2012 CB Jamell Fleming
2011 CB Chris Culliver
2010 C J.D. Walton
2009 CB Kevin Barnes
2008 DE Bryan Smith
2007 WR Paul Williams
2006 LB Clint Ingram
2005 CB Dustin Fox
2004 LB Caleb Miller
2003 OT Courtney Van Buren
2002 LB Will Overstreet
2001 RB Kevan Barlow
2000 WR Darrell Jackson
1999 K Martin Gramatica (1 Pro Bowl)
1998 CB Ramos McDonald
1997 LB Derek Smith
1996 RB Karim Abdul-Jabbar
1995 QB Stoney Case
1994 RB Calvin Jones
1993 P Ed Bunn
1992 CB Jeremy Lincoln
1991 RB Robert Wilson
1990 WR Greg McCurtry
1989 OT John Hunter
1988 LB Bill Romanowski (2 Pro Bowls)

Another personnel man put it in more blunt terms.

"The draft is crucial to what we do, make no mistake about that," an NFC executive said. "But it's not the only way to do things. I get what Tampa is doing. They're taking a chance on a great player for what's pretty cheap when you think about the picks … the injury makes it complicated and the contract makes it complicated. But you're talking about a truly great player, the best at what he does when he's [healthy].

"He's probably one of the best 20 players in the league. Think about that. You're lucky to have one guy like that."

On the flipside, the Jets took essentially what can be called the Monty Hall option. The host of the classic TV game show "Let's Make A Deal" was excellent at making the mystery option behind Door No. 3 look so tempting.

Sometimes it was a car. Often times it was a goat.

The NFL draft isn't far removed from that, as a breakdown of the combined 50 players selected at No. 13 and No. 80 overall over the past 25 years shows.

Of those 50 players, it's fair to say that a healthy Revis has already proved to be a better player than all but three. And even those three are somewhat debatable.

Atlanta tight end Tony Gonzalez, a 13-time Pro Bowler who holds nearly every receiving record for his position and seems a sure bet to make the Hall of Fame, is the only one of those 50 who has had a better career than Revis. The next two up for discussion are former tight end Keith Jackson, a six-time Pro Bowler, and current free agent defensive end John Abraham, who is the only other player in that group to make four Pro Bowls.

The other 47 are a mix of some good players (Brian Orakpo, Takeo Spikes and Brad Hopkins) and a lot of anonymous players like Troy Edwards, Ramos McDonald and Eugene Chung.

Or consider this: The whole group of 50 has combined to be selected to 45 Pro Bowl appearances. Those 45 appearances were split among 14 players and includes the combined 23 by the trio of Gonzalez, Jackson and Abraham.

In other words, the Jets will be extraordinarily lucky to get a player even close to Revis in talent. Heck, they'll be fortunate to get a guy who might make even one Pro Bowl appearance in his career. Only two (Orakpo, Jammal Brown) of the past 11 players selected at No. 13 have made a Pro Bowl so far.

"When you put it that way, it's kind of a no-brainer," an AFC coach said with a laugh. "We probably should have been in on that … [but] right now, we're all thinking about getting a young player who is going to be great who we're about to take.

"Then they get to the building and you realize they have a long way to go."

If they ever make it at all.

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