Jets Mailbag: Could Gang Green trade up in 2024 NFL Draft for a wide receiver?

The Jets have options when it comes to the 2024 NFL Draft — a luxury afforded after the acquisitions of tackles Tyron Smith and Morgan Moses. This was not a luxury they had last year. The NFL world knew the Jets needed tackles. So, with just one worthy of a first-round grade left, the Steelers traded one pick in front of the Jets for Broderick Jones.

The Jets might very well still go tackle in the draft — they should. But if another run happens, they can pivot a number of different ways. What is the most likely?

That, and more, assessed in this week’s mailbag...

How likely is it that the Jets trade up for a receiver? — @JetsToTheWest

I’m not terribly sure they’ll have to. There will be a run at quarterbacks. Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, Jayden Daniels and J.J. McCarthy are all top-10 selections. There’s a strong chance they go with the first four picks in the draft after the Giants or Vikings trade with the Cardinals for the No. 4 selection. The Jets are actually in a really good position because that will push some really, really good players down to No. 10.

Marvin Harrison, Malik Nabers, Rome Odunze, Olu Fashanu, Joe Alt, Brock Bowers — those are six offensive players, all of whom would help the Jets immensely. At least one of them is guaranteed to be there at No. 10. Two or three might be there considering Alabama rusher Dallas Turner, Toledo cornerback Quinyon Mitchell and Florida State edge Jared Verse could all go top-10, too.

Harrison, Nabers and Alt are probably the least likely to fall to No. 10, but is the drop-off to Odunze, Fashanu or Bowers worth giving up a second- or third-round pick (and likely more) to move up? I don’t think so.

Remember: The Jets on paper look like one of the best teams in the NFL. They lack depth in a number of places. What happens if they lose Breece Hall? Tyron Smith or Morgan Moses? Alijah Vera-Tucker again? D.J. Reed? Tony Adams? To me it makes more sense to wait and take the best player available at No. 10, compared to giving up assets you can use to acquire valuable depth and/or future starters.

What are the odds the Jets trade back for a second-round pick? — @5miner

They’d love to, but there might not be any suitors. It’s similar to last year. The majority of times teams trade up, it’s for a quarterback. The top four quarterbacks will be gone well before No. 10. You might have a team looking to come up for a receiver or tackle who falls because of that run on quarterbacks, but the Jets need those two positions, too. It doesn’t make sense to move back when that player can help them. The Jets need a team to fall in love with Washington quarterback Michael Penix if they want to move down. Not sure that’s happening considering his medical history.

Georgia tight end Brock Bowers (19) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the second half of a NCAA college football game against Ole Miss.
Georgia tight end Brock Bowers (19) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the second half of a NCAA college football game against Ole Miss. / Joshua L. Jones / USA TODAY NETWORK

Why do people hate the idea of drafting Brock Bowers so much? Tyler Conklin is a free agent after next season. — @HozBoy

This puzzles me, too. Bowers isn’t your traditional, big-bodied tight end. Maybe that’s why? It could also be the preconceived notion you shouldn’t draft tight ends top-10. That’s even sillier. The NFL has changed. The Jets need a complement for Garrett Wilson. There’s no reason that player can’t be a tight end. Bowers, even at 6-3 and 243 pounds, can be a nightmare matchup problem when deployed correctly. It’s another question entirely on if Nathaniel Hackett can do that, but Bowers is more than capable of helping the Jets this year and moving forward.

Do you think we are more likely to draft an offensive lineman or a receiver? — @FreddyChaz1

I still have a hard time seeing the Jets pass on an offensive lineman at No. 10. Moses and Smith are studs, yes. But both are on one-year contracts, 33 years old, and showed signs of breaking down physically last year. In Smith’s case, he hasn’t played a full season since 2015. The Jets are one injury away from Max Mitchell or Carter Warren protecting Aaron Rodgers. Is that really what you want? The Jets need to find their future at tackle, too. Drafting Alt, Fashanu or Oregon State’s Taliese Fuaga gives them insurance for 2024, and their future for 2025 and beyond.

Jets fans should be knowledgeable of this, too: The Ravens, one of the most well-run teams in the NFL, let Moses go for nothing. Why? The Jets were able to acquire Smith on that wildly team-friendly deal because there were no other teams interested in signing him. Why? There’s an underlying reason for that. They’re both high-risk additions. You hope they’re studs, but Douglas must prepare for something inevitably happening to one (or both) this season.

The receiver or Bowers argument should only come into play if all of those tackles are gone. The Jets can’t have their line look like it did last year, and they’re one bad break from exactly that. You simply can’t feel confident going into a season with major injury concerns at three of five positions — left tackle, right tackle, right guard (Vera-Tucker).

What’s the deal with Ashtyn Davis? — @Jmeyers247

[Note: Davis agreed to a deal to return to the Jets after the time of publishing]

The Jets want him back. Davis just wants an opportunity to play more and compete for a starting job. That could, theoretically, happen with the Jets, although the team loves both Chuck Clark and Tony Adams. The Jets might be a fallback option for Davis. That’s fine. The Jets were OK with him seeing if he had opportunities elsewhere. Both sides might be better together than apart, though.

Could Will McDonald see a jump in snaps this year compared to last season? — @CotcherySzn

I’m not so sure after the Hasson Reddick addition. The Jets lost Bryce Huff. McDonald seemed in line to take those snaps. Now, though, Reddick is here. He’s going to take all of Huff’s snaps and then some. That doesn’t exactly leave McDonald in a great place. The Jets do expect to play with more leads, which leads to more pass-rushing opportunities, but again: That’s likely more time for Reddick. Remember: Huff played only 45 percent of the snaps last year.

That’s alarming considering not only where the Jets drafted McDonald (15th overall), but who they picked him over (receivers Jordan Addison,Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Zay Flowers).