How the NFL Lock-Out Potentially Helps the New York Jets in the 2011 Draft.
Believe it or not, the NFL lockout in one very small way has actually helped some teams, including the New York Jets. Maybe I’m suffering from a chocolate bunny overdose, or desperately trying to find something good in a time of such turmoil in the NFL. Either way, this is a scenario we as fans cannot afford to ignore. It’s a pretty easy concept when you think about it. It’s finally draft week, and not too much has changed. There will still be three days, seven rounds and a green room filled with anxious soon-to-be NFL players at Radio City Music Hall. This year is first time in NFL history that the draft will be held before free agency. An offseason with no trades and no free agent signings has taken away one of the primary ways that teams fill their needs for the upcoming (knock on wood) season. The only avenue teams currently have is to wager parts of their futures on the unproven. The lockout has done wonders for hockey and basketball fans, but it has also benefited some college prospects, too, namely quarterbacks. There are only six or so teams desperate for a quarterback and approximately five more that are in the market for one. In any other year a handful of these teams would have already signed players like Marc Bulger, Donovan McNabb or Alex Smith, leaving their draft picks to fill other holes. But without the freedom to sign veteran players, these QB-needy teams will be stretching to grab the next Mark Sanchez as early as possible. I mean why wouldn’t they? Last I checked a quarterback is one of the more necessary parts of a football team. Or in the case of this bizarre NFL offseason, desperate times should call for desperate measures. Players who in any other year would be drafted during the second round are going to be celebrating Thursday night. “Over-drafting” and “quarterback” are two words that will go hand-in-hand this year. Players will be drafted higher due to need, not talent. It’s notion that you won’t hear the Kaepernicks, Malletts and Daltons of the world complaining about. What does this mean for the Jets? I wouldn’t expect Mike T. -- aka “the Draft King” -- to move up unless there is a player available that Rex & Co. simply cannot live without. The more quarterbacks drafted early in the first round will mean more players dropping down, giving the Jets more options with the 30th selection. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. By the middle of Round 1, I fully expect to see greedy teams starting to make some moves. Bidding wars and trades will start to come fast and furious in an attempt to put war rooms in their places. Get used to that little bell sound and team logos changing on the screen quickly as moves are made, or, more specifically, quarterbacks are selected. The Jets aren’t the only team looking for the next great pass rusher this week. Fourteen teams run a 3-4 defense and four of those teams will be drafting alongside the Jets in the last seven picks of the first round. If you’re a Jets fan, the hope is more teams move into this slot to grab a quarterback. If the infamous draft pick hoarder, Bill Belichick, takes the bait from a team like Denver or San Francisco and moves out of the 17th or 28th spot it will only help the Jets. On the other hand, if players the Jets are targeting get taken right before they are scheduled to select, Tannenbaum may begin fielding offers in preparation to make moves himself. I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if the Tennessee Titans or Denver Broncos trade into the Jets spot to grab a QB, leaving the Jets with a second round pick and an additional third.
If not, and the Jets trade down for extra picks in round three or later, Tannenbaum would put his talents to use and find a way to trade some of those and land a spot back up in the second round.
The possibilities are endless, making it one of the best and worst parts of the draft. Any situation that makes a draft unpredictable, with the potential for lots of movement, usually means good things for the Jets. That’s precisely what could begin to happen on Thursday night. One thing is highly recommended: don’t walk away from the television or channel surf for too long because anything – and I mean anything -- can happen. And usually does.