INDIANAPOLIS — Mike Maccagnan wants to let the NFL world in on a little secret: He’s more than willing to wheel and deal before the draft gets here.
“Literally, we’re open for business every round,” the Jets’ general manager said during a small interview session with reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine on Friday afternoon. “If somebody wants to move up in any particular round and we have a pick in that round, call us up.”
Asked if that includes their first-round selection, Maccag nan smiled and said: “Yeah. Any pick.”
The Jets currently are in prime position to secure top talent with the No. 6 overall pick. Maccagnan, however, is willing, able and eager to trade down — or up — in the order.
“I’ve said this to some of the GMs down here already: Every draft I’ve been in, I’ve always wanted to acquire more picks,” he said. “Sometimes you don’t get the opportunity to move back when you’re drafting, but I think the one thing for ourselves, we’d like to move back and acquire more picks in this draft if possible. Because, in my mind, that affords you, at least, the opportunity to potentially increase or expedite the process of improving the talent base on your roster.”
Maccagnan’s philosophy since becoming GM in 2015 has been to fortify the Jets, first through the draft and then with free-agent acquisitions. And with his recent roster purge — releasing veterans Brandon Marshall, Darrelle Revis, Nick Mangold, Nick Folk, Ryan Clady and Breno Giacomini — the Jets have plenty of holes to fill by the end of April.
But even with two young quarterbacks in Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty, Maccagnan said “all options are on the table” when it comes to finding a quarterback. Tyrod Taylor, Mike Glennon and Brian Hoyer are among the veterans on the Jets’ radar, but they have met with the top quarterback prospects in this year’s draft class, including Deshaun Watson (Clemson), Mitchell Trubisky (North Carolina), DeShone Kizer (Notre Dame) and Patrick Mahomes (Texas Tech).
With so many roster needs, it’s anyone’s guess whom the Jets will target with their first pick. And it remains to be seen where they’ll end up in the draft order next month.
“If you believe you have a good process and good group of scouts and coaches who can evaluate, then hopefully you can improve your roster that way,” Maccagnan said. “Generally, the better players get drafted earlier, but there are a number of players, like Richard Sherman came out in the fifth round and he’s a Pro Bowl-caliber corner.”
Either way, Maccagnan seems confident the Jets will get value wherever they choose.
“There’s going to be a very good player available at [No.] 6 . . . but I think, yeah, personally, we’re interested in having options going forward,” he said. “And whether we stay at [No.] 6 and pick a player, we’d be perfectly happy doing that, whether we decide to move back a little bit and get more picks and more opportunities, we’d be perfectly happy doing that.
“And if there’s a situation that arises where we feel there’s a player that slides a little bit, that’s within striking distance and the compensation’s not bad, we may move up a little bit.”