Now that the Jets own the No. 3 pick in Thursday’s NFL Draft, what are they going to do with it?
In the last five seasons, four defensive players were selected at No. 3 overall — Joey Bosa, Dante Fowler, Dion Jordan and Solomon Thomas — and have paid dividends for their teams.
The one offensive player taken at No. 3 — Blake Bortles in 2014 — led the Jaguars to the AFC Championship Game last season, but only after three rocky seasons.
Can the Jets wait three seasons for their quarterback to develop into a potential star?
They gave up their No. 6 overall pick and three second-round picks (two of them in 2018 and one in 2019) to find out. Usually, second-round picks are starters or players who get significant playing time.
“I feel good about it,” Todd Bowles said. “Obviously, the closer you get to the draft, the more draft capital goes up and you have to give up more than that. The fact we made the move early I thought was a very good move for us and we’re in a position to get a good player.”
At No. 3, the Jets might not get the player they want, but they remain in solid shape. They have held private workouts with four of the top five quarterbacks in the upcoming draft.
The Browns are in the market for a quarterback, so it’s assumed they will snag one. The Giants at No. 2 also could draft a quarterback, given that Eli Manning is 37. They also have interest in upgrading at running back, and Penn State’s Saquon Barkley should be available. Giants general manager Dave Gettleman has expressed his admiration for the Penn State back, who was born in the Bronx.
But as everyone associated with the draft understands, nobody knows what anybody is going to do.
If the Giants take a quarterback at No. 2, what will the Jets do? And could the Jets make a draft-day trade with the Giants to step up to No. 2?
The Jets and Giants have conducted only one trade involving a draft pick. In 1983, the Giants traded center Chris Foote to the Jets for an unannounced conditional draft pick. The Jets later waived Foote and the draft pick was never used.
“Even at three, again it’s not as if we’re totally locked in there, too,” Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan said. “You never know how the draft unfolds. Not to read into, ‘Oh, the Jets are looking to move again?’ Three is a very good position to be in, we felt.”
The last time the Jets had the No. 3 pick was 1981, when they selected UCLA’s Freeman McNeil. He played 12 seasons, was a three-time Pro Bowler and rushed for 8,074 yards with 38 touchdowns. He was inducted into the Jets’ Ring of Honor in 2011.
Including the AFL, the Jets have had the No. 3 overall pick three times and had success twice. In 1964, the Jets drafted running back Matt Snell, who was inducted into the Jets’ Ring of Honor in 2015. In 1963, Jerry Stovall, a safety/punter, elected to play for St. Louis of the NFL.
There is no exact science to getting an impact player, but one would assume that at No. 3, the Jets should be happy with the player obtained. And in a draft class with talented quarterbacks, the Jets, in need of one, should get somebody with enormous potential. With that, the decision to move up in the draft made sense.
“We were sitting at six, and with the players on the board, we invest quite a bit of time in scouting, we felt the third spot was a good spot to be in from where we were,” Maccagnan said. “As we went through free agency, we had different scenarios and plans in place to do certain things. One of those scenarios or most of those scenarios involved, to a degree, potentially moving up in the draft.”