For weeks, the New York Jets knew they had the No. 2 overall selection in April's NFL Draft. But entering the league's wild-card playoff round, they didn't know if their second first-rounder, acquired as part of the package deal that sent safety Jamal Adams to Seattle last summer, would be anywhere from 22 to 32. After the Seahawks lost a 30-20 contest to the Rams on Saturday and all six games were completed this weekend, the Green & White's second first-rounder is set at No. 23 overall.
The losers of the wild-card games are scheduled to select 19th through 24th in all rounds and the 'Hawks were one of three teams to play that had 12 wins in the regular season. The Saints are marching on after a triumph over the Bears while the Steelers, an outfit that lost to the Browns, will pick behind the Jets based on strength of schedule (Seattle: .447 and Pittsburgh: .475).
Before the Jets' 2020 training camp, GM Joe Douglas made one of the most significant trades in franchise history -- he considered Seattle's offer for Adams too good to pass up. The Jets received two first-round picks, in April and in 2022, and the Seahawks' third-rounder in 2021, plus veteran safety Bradley McDougald in exchange for Adams and a fourth-round pick in 2022. The swap was the eighth time since 2000 that a player was dealt for at least two first-round picks.
Douglas has continued to emphasize strong play at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and he was forthright when talking in November about the team's needs.
"We have to add explosive playmakers," he said. "We have to get after the passer. We're going to have to have guys that cover well. That's what the successful teams in the National Football League are doing. We have to get better, faster. And so that's on me. We're looking at everything we can possibly do to improve in all those areas."
The Jets own six selections in the top 98 picks of April's Draft: Round 1, Nos. 2 and 23 (via Seattle); Round 2 (No. 34); Round 3, Nos. 66 and No. 87 (via Seattle); and Round 4, No. 98. As their head-coaching search continues (the Jets have announced eight completed interviews to date), the mantra will continue to be draft and develop.
"We're a really young team and with all these draft picks we're getting younger," Jets CEO Christopher Johnson said last week. "Our new coach and his staff are going to have to be great at developing that young team. I'm quite confident that Joe and I and Hymie [team president Hymie Elhai] can find that guy."
While Douglas stressed that he didn't want to make any big decisions, including at quarterback, until he, Johnson and Elhai find a new partner, he does think whomever the Jets' new head coach is will have what he needs to build long-term success.
"I think there's a lot of resources here to help a coach succeed," Douglas said. "I think we're in a good position, in terms of draft capital. I think we're in a good position in terms of cap space. So, I think there's a lot of positive things for us moving forward."