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Joe Douglas Ponders Jets' Draft Possibilities: Move Up, Move Down, Stand Pat at No. 10

General Manager and His Draft Team See 'Really Cool Group' of Players on Offense, All Options on the Table

New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas speaks during a press conference at the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine on Wednesday, Feb. 28 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Kevin Sabitus/NFL)

No NFL general manager sitting at No. 10 overall is going to stand up and name names of who he and his team are focusing on six days before the draft.

But Jets GM Joe Douglas gave a pretty good no-names overview of what the Jets' difficulty/opportunity will be when they hand in their No. 10 card at Round 1 of the NFL Draft on Thursday night in Detroit.

"There's a lot of special players on the offensive side of the ball," Douglas said Friday morning at the Atlantic Health Jets training center, responding specifically to a question about offense and not defense. "Top-level blockers, top-level dynamic playmakers, and they all have a different flavor.

"So whether you want a precise route-runner with super production, or you want just an explosive freak, or you want a high-level route-runner that can go up and get the ball and run by people ... There's different flavors of blockers, too, and a tight end who's a Swiss army knife and can move all around the formation and really stress a defense, it's a really cool group."

With that description, Douglas touched on many but not all of the tasty options that will be slurped up either just before or right around the time the Jets select. The wide receivers most often mentioned are Marvin Harrison Jr. of Ohio State, Malik Nabers of LSU and Rome Odunze of Washington. The tackles figure to be Joe Alt of Notre Dame, JC Latham of Alabama, Troy Fautanu of Washington, Olu Fashanu from Penn State and Taliese Fuaga of Oregon State. The Swiss army knife is Georgia TE Brock Bowers.

That's not to rule out another edge rusher, about whom head coach Robert Saleh has said, "With pass-rushers, the more the merrier." If the Jets' choice would be, say, Alabama edge Dallas Turner or Florida State's Jared Verse, they would be added to trade veteran acquisition Haason Reddick, whom Douglas said is "just an electric presence off the edge," and the other DL pass-rush holdovers, whom Joe D describes as "a bunch of supercharged hellcats in that role."

But the trick as always for the Jets or any team in that mid-Round 1 area is to match a team's draft position with its value board. That could mean trading up or trading down, not just standing pat.

"Those are the questions we're asking ourselves: Would you trade up? Who are those guys? How comfortable are you moving up to get those players? How far are you willing to go?" he said. "Obviously, we don't have our full complement, we don't have a second-round pick this year, so that limits you a little bit on just how far you can go up.

"Then on the flipside, we get to 10 and we have a strong group of players that we love. How willing are you to move back? How far do you feel comfortable moving back. So those are all the conversations we're having, yesterday and all next week."

Not having their second-rounder is part of the compensation package the Green & White gave up to bring Aaron Rodgers from Green Bay to 1 Jets Drive one year ago. Everyone, especially Rodgers, Saleh and Douglas, know what happened on opening night against Buffalo to delay their ARod payoff. But the GM noted that Rodgers is already back at the training complex for the start of the offseason strength and conditioning program and has put a bounce in everyone's step.

So, he was asked, is there any reservation at all about the price the Jets' paid to get their 40-year-old QB of the present?

"If I had the choice of having the second-round pick or having Aaron, I would take Aaron 15 times out of 10," he said. "The injury was devastating for all of us, but we're so excited to have him as a part of this franchise. .... I'm excited about this year."

And that includes figuring out the NFL draft math of how to secure the draft pick of their desire either at 10, or sooner or later in the first round and fit him into the Jets' foundation.

Douglas said if four quarterbacks are selected before the Jets go on the clock, that might make their decision easier. But that's not what the GM and his draft team have been aiming to do in their predraft meetings.

"We're preparing for that not to happen," he said. "If four quarterbacks go, obviously that pushes more position players down the board to us. We'll see what happens. But we'll be ready if one quarterback goes, two quarterbacks, four quarterbacks, five quarterbacks. A lot of our discussions have been based around not that many going and to just put ourselves in the most uncomfortable position possible."

Then as a result, Rodgers, Saleh, Douglas and the Jets' "perfect 10" will get more and more comfortable with the approaching training camp and the '24 season ahead.

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