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Why the Jets Should Trade a First-Round Pick For Vikings’ Danielle Hunter

This former Jets scout believes New York should use a first-rounder on Danielle Hunter this offseason.

There has been chatter that the Jets may be interested in trading their No. 10 pick in the first round. 

Could New York target Vikings’ star pass rusher Danielle Hunter?

As an evaluator, I will say this, if you have a chance to go and get someone of Hunter’s caliber, you do not walk, you run. 

At 4-13, you run. 

When Hunter has been healthy, he has been a bull coming off the edge who only sees red.

Hunter is an elite talent. Anytime there is a chance to get a proven superstar, opposed to getting an unproven draft choice, a team must strongly consider it. This is especially true when there is not another player in this draft equal to Hunter, especially not at No. 10 overall. 

READ: NFL Mock Draft: Ex-Jets Scout Releases Shocking Predictions For Top 10

Players like Hunter do not grow on trees. We are talking about a player who reached 50 sacks faster than anyone in NFL history. We are also talking about a player who is now only 27 years old, and someone who theoretically has a lot of football left in him. 

Minnesota has a new general manager and head coach, and suddenly they find themselves in more of a rebuilding mode rather than a contending mode. 

The Vikings are in a mode where draft picks are attractive for where they are trying to go. Whereas, the tandem of general manager Joe Douglas and head coach, Robert Saleh are on the clock in New York. If they hand in another three, four win season, they both could be gone. 

This sets up the Vikings and Jets as possible logical trade partners. 

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With any trade comes risk, and with Hunter the elephant in the room is his injury background. Hunter missed all of 2020 (herniated disk in his neck) and he played in only seven games in 2021 before going out with a torn pectoral muscle.

If we were talking about some Joe Blow, it would be a hard pass, but that is not who we are talking about. We are talking about Hunter. We are talking about a guy who bounced back like a ball from his herniated disc. When I watched Hunter in the first few games of 2021, I would not even know he had the injury unless someone told me. If anyone is on the fence about his injury background, watch the Arizona game last season. Hunter terrorized Cardinals’ quarterback Kyler Murray for three sacks and he looked like he had not missed a beat. 

Hunter logged six sacks and 31 QB hurries in only seven games last season. 

Hunter has been said to have an extremely high work ethic. That propelled him through rehabbing the herniated disc and I would expect nothing less through this most recent injury.

One way or another, the Jets must leave this draft with a legit pocket-wrecking pass rusher. Saleh’s defensive philosophy depended on it in San Francisco, where he was the defensive coordinator prior to coming to New York. The arrival of EDGE rusher Nick Bosa in 2019 changed everything for San Francisco, Saleh and his scheme. Bosa logged nine sacks and had the fourth-most QB hurries in the league that season. By having a pass rusher of Bosa’s caliber, San Francisco’s defense catapulted from being ranked No. 25 in 2017 and No. 28 the following season under Saleh to being ranked No. 8 in 2019. Bosa then missed most of the 2020 season and Saleh’s defense dropped like a rock back to being ranked No. 20. 

Hunter is a beast off the edge who has the speed and arsenal of moves to win through the back door of the pocket, and he can additionally slip through an inside gap and blow things up that way too.

Who the Jets have on the roster has not cut it and it will not cut it going forward in the AFC East, where signal-callers Josh Allen, Mac Jones and Tua Tagovailoa reside. This is a last place ranked defense that could only average a measly 1.9 sacks per game.

New York needs a defensive game changer and that is exactly who and what Hunter is.

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