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Jets Set to Embark on 2023 NFL Draft

Green & White Has 6 Selections, Including No. 13 Overall Pick

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The draft is like Christmas in April for the NFL's 32 general managers. For Jets GM Joe Douglas, this year's draft is different than the past two -- it's the first since 2020 that Douglas is operating without two first-round picks.

He currently has six selections at his disposal, starting at No. 13 overall. Eight of the last 10 players to be selected at 13 have been named to at least one Pro Bowl, including former Jets DT Sheldon Richardson, the team's first-round pick in 2013. EdgeJohn Abraham, part of the team's "Four Aces" in 2000, was also picked at No. 13 overall.

Most pundits expect the Jets to add an offensive tackle in the first round. The most popular choices have been Ohio State's Paris Johnson or Georgia's Broderick Jones, but some mock drafts have the team selecting Tennessee's Darnell Wright or Northwestern's Peter Skoronski, who some analysts believe is best suited to play guard in the NFL.

"As I've said before, O-line, D-line are going to be a high priority for us always," Douglas said. "So, if there's an opportunity to upgrade tackle, center, guard, d-tackle, d-end, we're always going to look at doing that."

Douglas has executed eight draft-day trades – three trade-ups, four trade-downs and one in exchange for a player (CB Quincy Wilson), but he didn't wait until the draft to start this spring's maneuvering. He struck a deal with the Browns in March, acquiring a second-round pick, No. 42 overall, in exchange for WR Elijah Moore and a third-round pick (No. 74 overall).

"That was a tough decision because obviously Elijah was a really good player and a young player on a cap-friendly deal," Douglas said. "I think it was just a situation that came up where we had a flood of calls, nothing really serious. Cleveland was aggressive in their pursuit. Ultimately, we felt like this was an opportunity to bring the value that we needed back to the team and back to the draft, while also giving Elijah a great opportunity in Cleveland."

As it stands, the Jets have back-to-back picks in the second round at No. 42 and No. 43, but there is speculation that the Jets' six-pick allotment will change with another trade.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that the Jets and Packers have "re-engaged on trade talks" on a deal that would bring Aaron Rodgers to New York. Rapoport added that while nothing is imminent, there are hopes a trade can be completed this week. 

The 2022 draft will be a tough act to follow -- Douglas selected the offensive and defensive rookie of the years in Garrett Wilson and Sauce Gardner as the Jets became the second team since 1970 to have both winners on the same club. Breece Hall, the team's second-round pick, would have challenged Wilson if his season were not cut short by a knee injury.

What do Douglas and his staff, which includes Rex Hogan, Chad Alexander, Greg Nejmeh and Phil Savage, have in store for an encore?

"We want to continue to build and improve," Hogan said. "We've gone from four wins to seven wins and now we need to make the next step. Everybody acknowledges that, realizes it, and understands the importance of it."

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