For just one moment, forget all the discourse about who the Jets will take with the No. 2 pick this spring.
Here's an example of how the first round could transpire this spring if New York trades out of the second selection, moving back a couple slots while still maintaining the 23rd overall pick as well.
NFL draft analyst Chad Reuter of NFL.com projects the Jets will come to an agreement with the Carolina Panthers, swapping first-round picks. It's a chance for Carolina to draft quarterback Zach Wilson before he comes off the board while New York acquires the No. 8 selection (and four other future picks) in return. Jets' head coach Robert Saleh and new offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur will have their chance to turn Sam Darnold's career around in a new system.
"For the Panthers, Wilson could be the playmaker at quarterback they need to take the offense to the next level," Reuter wrote. "Carolina will likely have to give up its first-, third-, and fourth-round selections this year along with a first- and third-rounder in 2022, but Matt Rhule and new GM Scott Fitterer will have their guy."
So, what will the Jets do with the No. 8 pick?
Reuter has New York taking LSU wideout Ja'Marr Chase, adding a weapon for Darnold and a "strong deep threat" to compliment Jamison Crowder and Denzel Mims.
Interestingly enough, Chase is taken here before Alabama's star wide receiver DeVonta Smith. Reuter's mock has Smith, the Heisman Trophy winner, slipping to the Giants at No. 11. ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. recently had the Jets taking Smith with the No. 2 pick in a mock draft.
Chase opted out of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He showed last season at LSU, however, why he's worthy of being the first wide receiver off the board in this draft class.
In 14 games as a sophomore, Chase compiled 1,780 receiving yards and 20 touchdown grabs, leading college football in both categories. Not only did he help LSU win a national championship, but Chase won the Fred Biletnikoff Award in 2019, recognized as the nation's most outstanding wideout.
New York may not be drafting Smith in this mock, but Reuter has the Jets taking another offensive stud from Alabama later in the first round. With the pick acquired from the Seahawks in the Jamal Adams trade, Reuter has New York drafting running back Najee Harris 23rd overall.
"Frank Gore is an all-timer, but the Jets cannot rely on the 37-year-old to be their primary ball carrier in 2021," Reuter said. "Harris' combination of size, agility and toughness makes him the most likely running back to go in Round 1."
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