The New York Jets backfield combination of LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene lacked the explosive power and game-breaking runs that fans were accustomed to seeing under Rex Ryan’s first two years as head coach. Gang Green’s ground and pound attack would receive a much needed shot in the arm by drafting Alabama running back Trent Richardson. Richardson is projected to go as a top-5 pick in many mock drafts and with the Jets slated to pick at No. 16, they would have to exchange multiple draft picks in order to secure the Crimson Tide star.
The Jets are no strangers to making a big draft day splash. In 2007, Gang Green made a draft day trade with Carolina to move up 11 spots (from No. 25 to No. 14) in order to draft what turned out to be a three-time all-pro cornerback, Darrelle Revis. In 2009, they pulled off another blockbuster draft day trade, this time with Cleveland. New York moved up from No. 17 to No. 5 in order to draft their current starting quarterback, Mark Sanchez.
With Indianapolis and Washington confirming Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III respectively as the draft’s top two picks, this leaves the Jets in a difficult situation. It’s highly unlikely that Minnesota would trade their No. 3 pick as they are in dire need of USC’s offensive tackle Matt Kalil to protect their young quarterback, Christian Ponder.
Cleveland has the No. 4 pick in this year’s draft and the Jets are hoping that they can strike gold twice and pull off another trade to move up, especially with Cleveland’s history of trading away top picks. Last year’s rushing tandem of Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson saw the Jets fall amongst the bottom tier teams in rushing yards, ranking 22nd in both total rushing yards and rushing yards per game. Still, Greene had solid numbers last year, racking up over 1,000 yards.
Many speculate that a deal with Cleveland to move up to No. 4 would require the Jets to give up at least two future draft picks. The deal that the Atlanta Falcons made in last year’s draft with Cleveland has become an effective formula for moving up in the first round draft order. The Falcons sent picks No. 27, No. 59, and No. 124 as well as this year’s first-round and fourth-round picks to Cleveland to move up to No. 6 and draft receiver Julio Jones.
Cleveland would likely expect the same type of deal for this year’s No. 5 overall pick. Any deal with the Browns would possibly involve Greene, Bilal Powell or Joe McKnight on the move as Cleveland is in need of reinforcements at the running back position. With Richardson’s superstar potential, this might be a risk that the Jets are willing to take.
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