In a piece I wrote on draft night last month, I praised the Jets for trading up for USC guard Alijah Vera-Tucker. Surrounding rookie quarterback Zach Wilson with reliable protection was a priority this offseason, and landing the best guard in the draft is a win.
However, in recent weeks, doubt surrounding this decision has grown prevalent on social media. Many analysts believe that New York simply gave up too much.
To select the two-time All-Pac-12 lineman, the Jets moved up nine spots in the first round from the No. 23 pick to No. 14, giving the Vikings the 66th and 86th overall picks.
Draft charts, which teams use to determine the viability of deals during draft weekend, show the Jets front office relinquishing far too much draft capital. An OvertheCap.com model states that New York experienced a major loss, only receiving 2,148 points in exchange for sending 3,031 points to Minnesota.
Another design used by ESPN’s Seth Walder reaffirms this conclusion. This chart believes that the addition of No. 66 set the trade over the edge. The Jets gave up three picks in the first three rounds to climb nine spots, a large price to pay.
Nonetheless, the trade still feels like a win for New York. Gang Green had a wealth of draft picks in 2020 and will have a ton again in 2021, and they used it to pick up the best interior lineman of this class according to Pro Football Focus. He has all the physical tools to be a Pro Bowl guard.
They can count on Vera Tucker to produce right away, unlike a second- or third-round lineman they might have selected if not for the trade.
It is essential that Wilson builds confidence right away and with a front line of Vera-Tucker and Becton being built, along with the potential emergence of Cam Clark, New York can be confident about the future of the offense.
Sometimes, good players require a lot in return. I believe the Jets will look back fondly on this agreement in the future.
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