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Jets have a dozen draft picks at their disposal

Jets general manager John Idzik speaks during a

Jets general manager John Idzik speaks during a news conference held at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center on April 17, 2013. Credit: James Escher

Jets fans can only hope John Idzik has a master plan.

With 12 draft picks at his disposal and the salary cap no longer an issue, the general manager has no excuse not to hit a home run this week.

But Idzik went out of his way to keep reporters off his trail this past week, refusing to even acknowledge that his receiver-needy team will target a wideout early in the draft.

"I wouldn't say it's safe to say anything at this point," he said during Wednesday's pre-draft news conference at the team's practice facility.

"We're going to take the draft one pick at a time and add the best players."

Of course, that's every team's plan. But the Jets' recent draft history has left much to be desired.

Since Rex Ryan took over as coach in 2009, the organization has selected six players in the first round: Mark Sanchez (fifth overall), Kyle Wilson (29th), Muhammad Wilkerson (30th), Quinton Coples (16th), Dee Milliner (ninth) and Sheldon Richardson (13th).

The year before, the Jets selected Vernon Gholston at No. 6 and Dustin Keller at 30.

Wilkerson has emerged as the Jets' defensive star and Richardson was the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year last season, but Wilson hasn't lived up to the hype and there still are questions about Coples and Milliner.

Keller defected to the Dolphins in 2013, Sanchez -- the former face of their franchise -- signed with the Eagles after his release in March, and Gholston hasn't played in the league since 2010.

This year's draft is chock- full of talent. And that's a good thing for the Jets, who along with the Rams have the most picks of any team this year.

So what's their draft strategy? They could use all 12 of their picks -- including three fourth-rounders and four sixth-rounders -- or they could pool their later-round picks to trade up.

Naturally, Idzik wouldn't say whether the Jets anticipate using all 12 of their picks.

"We'll go in open-minded," Idzik said. "The nice thing about having 12 picks is it does give you flexibility and maneuverability within the draft. So if you have fewer picks, I guess you're less apt to do that.

" . . . In a given round, if you have a group of players that you think are fairly equitable that you like, and you feel like you may be able to trade down and still get somebody within that group, you may do it.

"On the flip side, if there's only one or two players at that stage in the draft that you really covet, and he may not get to your pick, you may entertain trading up.

"The other side of that ledger is one, you have to have a suitor on the other end, and then the compensation, is it right? Is it right for you?

"But yes, having 12 picks is certainly nice to have. We don't mind picking them all, and it also gives us a little maneuverability in the draft."

Big names such as Jadeveon Clowney and Khalil Mack could be long gone by the time the Jets pick at No. 18. But there are plenty of playmakers for Idzik & Co. to choose from.

New York Sports