With exactly seven days to go before the Jets are on the clock at the 2021 NFL Draft in Cleveland, GM Joe Douglas took questions from reporters on Thursday in a Zoom call, but deflected any attempts to get him to tip his hand.
"I really don't want to get into any individual assessments of any prospects," Douglas said. "We will have time after we choose them. I don't want to give everyone answers to this test."
With five picks in the first three rounds, split between Thursday (Round 1) and Friday (Rounds 2 and 3); and the balance of the 10 picks on Saturday (Rounds 4-7), Douglas and the Jets are prepared to spend all their draft capital, or perhaps only some of it.
"We feel good about the position we're in with picks where they are, inside the top three rounds," Douglas said. "We do feel like the with process we've had, we're going to able to let the board come to us and make a lot of good decisions."
He added: "At the end of the day, we're sitting here with a lot of picks, a lot of options, a lot of flexibility. We're in a good position to take the best player available to come in here and help this team."
In a previous call with reporters Douglas conceded the obvious: That after trading Sam Darnold to Carolina for three draft picks, the Jets are 99.9% certain to draft at quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick. Who is that man? Douglas deflected the question.
"Every decision we make has risk," Douglas said. "The No. 2 pick puts a huge spotlight on that. It goes back to how important the quarterback position is in this game. Any time there's outstanding play at quarterback, it's going to be noticed."
That last statement was in response to a question about Zach Wilson, the BYU quarterback could be headed to the Jets after one strong season of play. Douglas pointed to last year's top pick, Joe Burrow of LSU who went to Cincinnati, with Douglas saying he had a "stellar season" in 2019 and "came out of nowhere."
"I would say, when you go back in the process in terms of Burrow, you have to have a comfort level on why was it one year," Douglas said. "There are a lot of circumstances that go into it. A lot of factors. At the end of the day you lean on your staff, your own eyes when watching tape to make the best decision. There are a lot of good quarterbacks in this draft, a lot of them have gone through adverse situations. The NFL game will present a lot of adversity and we want to see how these young men handled it so far. It's a good precursor of how they will handle it in the NFL."
With a wealth of draft capital, some draft analysts have speculated that the Jets could move up or move back from the No. 23 pick, their second of the first round; or possibly package later-round picks in a transaction to go for quality over quantity. As Douglas said several months ago about the possibility of trading Darnold, "I'll always answer the phone."
"I think we really start those conversations now, not only in-house to start making the calls or receiving the calls, but start greasing the skids maybe if we're interested in moving up or back," Douglas said. "The ground work goes into trades before the draft. Once we're all in, it depends who's left on the board, either a pick you're trying to acquire or one you have. The most depends on who's left and what you're comfortable giving up, or moving back to get the player you're excited about."
The clock is ticking. Fasten your seatbelts.