Jets keeping all options open as they finalize draft plans
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) Trade up, or trade down? Well, they're both possibilities for the New York Jets next week in the NFL draft.
And so is staying put at No. 6 overall.
New general manager Mike Maccagnan naturally wouldn't give away any of his draft strategy, but acknowledged the Jets are open to all scenarios less than a week before going on the clock.
''We're going to reach out to every team ahead of us to kind of just gauge, get a value on what they're looking for in compensation,'' Maccagnan said Friday. ''That doesn't mean we're actually trying to go up and necessarily get a player. You just figure out what the market value is, basically.''
The team is uncertain at quarterback with Geno Smith coming off two shaky seasons and veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick coming off a broken leg that will limit him until training camp.
Maccagnan wouldn't confirm whether quarterback - or any other position - is a ''need'' for the Jets heading into the draft, saying he'd rather not reveal anything that could give opponents insight into their thinking.
That means there's still at least a possibility of the Jets making a run at Florida State's Jameis Winston, who is widely expected to go No. 1 overall to Tampa Bay, or Oregon's Marcus Mariota, who could go No. 2 to Tennessee.
''Philosophically, I'm not opposed to moving up in the draft to go get a player if we feel that is the player who's going to be an extremely good player,'' Maccagnan said. ''But, I would personally like to get more picks. To me, there's more opportunities to acquire more talent.''
The Jets currently have six selections in the draft that kicks off Thursday night, but it certainly sounded as though Maccagnan would like to have a few more. To get additional picks, New York would have to trade down in the first round and beyond, something Maccagnan will also explore.
''Ironically, it's quite early in the process,'' Maccagnan said. ''This all heats up in the next five days. And then, quite frankly, when you get to the draft, every once in a while you have something come out of left field that you weren't expecting.''
New York has around 285-290 players on its draft board, according to Maccagnan, after evaluating around 1,400 players over the last several months.
The Jets were extremely active during the offseason, addressing several needs with veterans. They traded for Fitzpatrick and wide receiver Brandon Marshall, re-signed linebacker David Harris and guard Willie Colon, and then rebuilt their secondary in free agency by signing cornerbacks Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie and Buster Skrine, and safety Marcus Gilchrist.
New York also added veteran depth on its offensive line (James Carpenter, James Brewer, Corey Hilliard), defensive line (Stephen Bowen, Kevin Vickerson) and linebacker corps (Erin Henderson, Joe Mays and Jamari Lattimore). The Jets brought back running back Bilal Powell and signed former Patriots running back Stevan Ridley.
Maccagnan believes free agency is ''a much smarter and, quite frankly, more efficient way to fill needs,'' while the draft is more about taking the best player available.
''There's more uncertainty and risk,'' Maccagnan said of evaluating college players. ''When you start factoring your needs into your player evaluations, you run the risk of skewing the process because it's a very subjective process. ... I tend to believe a lot of mistakes are made in the draft when teams factor in needs too much in the process.''
Maccagnan added that when there are players of equal evaluations, only then might the team's roster need be used as a tiebreaker.
''But, it's one of those pet peeves, `need' in the draft,'' he said. ''I've seen a lot of mistakes made over the years, and that ends up being sort of one of the factors in it.''
NOTES: There was no update on the contract status of DE Muhammad Wilkerson, who is not attending voluntary workouts while seeking a new deal. ... S Jaiquawn Jarrett signed his restricted free agent tender, which was at the third-round level. Earlier Friday, Maccagnan said he also expected DT Damon Harrison to sign his tender soon, and added that both players have been at the facility working out.
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