The Jets on Saturday announced they traded up from the sixth pick to the third pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, in a deal with the Colts.
This leaves no doubt that the Jets are going after an elite quarterback. The Browns at No. 1 and Giants at No. 2 could draft a quarterback, too.
But now, the Jets are in better position, because the Broncos at No. 5 are a quarterback-needy team. And if the Browns didn’t take a quarterback at No. 1, they could have done it at No. 4.
The Giants have been helped by the fact the Dallas Cowboys had little financial wiggle room to attack free agency and the Washington Redskins already made their biggest decision by trading for Alex Smith instead of retaining Kirk Cousins. The Super Bowl champion Eagles gained Michael Bennett, Haloti Ngata and Daryl Worley yet lost Torrey Smith, Trey Burton, Beau Allen and Patrick Robinson.
New York landed another valuable piece via trade. Gettleman flipped 2018 fourth- and sixth-round draft picks to the Los Angeles Rams for Alec Ogletree and a 2019 seventh-round selection. The 26-year-old Ogletree led the Rams defense last season with 95 total tackles.
Reese never placed much emphasis on the linebacker position. Oftentimes, the Giants’ second line of defense became an afterthought with heavy investments in the defensive front and backfield. To place this into perspective, last year’s leading tackler among their linebackers, Calvin Munson, finished fifth on the team with 60 total stops.
The Jets could be hoping to get running back Saquon Barkley at No. 3, with defensive end Nick Chubb being viewed as an acceptable fallback. If just one quarterback is taken in the first two picks, they’re guaranteed to get one of the two top non-quarterbacks. If it’s bang-bang one-two quarterbacks (and don’t be shocked if the Bills now move up to No. 2 with the Giants to get a quarterback), the Jets will get Barkley.
Also, the Browns may now feel more compelled to take a quarterback at No. 1 instead of No. 4, if they think the Jets will take a quarterback. Which sets the stage for two quarterbacks being gone by the time the Jets pick.
Other factors support this possible strategy.