Could Jets Move Up to Draft Jameis Winston?

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been on the clock for months now with the number one pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Despite this, rumors are swirling that while they still plan to go with a quarterback with the pick, Heisman winner Marcus Mariota may be the pick over polarizing Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston. If Winston is indeed to fall past the first overall pick, the New York Jets are among interested teams. However, Winston will not be the answer for the Jets at quarterback.

Plenty of teams put up smoke screen in the weeks leading up to the draft, either overhyping or underhyping a key prospect in an attempt to keep the team’s draft plans a secret.

But the Jets interest in Jameis Winston is no smokescreen. It’s no secret the Jets aren’t content with just Geno Smith and Ryan Fitzpatrick on the roster. Winston or Mariota would each be an instant upgrade over the current quarterback situation.

Scouts continue to praise Winston’s workouts and measurables in the weeks leading up to the draft. In all likelihood, the Buccaneers will take him with the first overall selection. Still, rumblings have surfaced that while Tampa Bay still plans to select a quarterback, Marcus Mariota may be their man.

If this is the case, it’s hard to see Winston fall much further, and definitely not to the Jets with the sixth pick. If the Jets want to acquire Winston, their only option would be to trade with the Buccaneers, a longshot, or the Tennessee Titans should Winston not be selected first overall.

For all that Winston could bring to the Jets, he’s not worth the risk of mortgaging the future for the Jets to pull off a blockbuster trade and land him in this year’s draft.

Winston's off-the-field concerns make him far from a sure thing. (usatoday.com)
Winston’s off-the-field concerns make him far from a sure thing. (usatoday.com)

First and foremost, there are no guarantees about Winston’s off-the-field behavior. One would think the support system behind Winston would be much greater in the NFL, and he’d be less likely to do stupid things that will land him in trouble. But the NFL’s support system hasn’t seemed to help players like Josh Gordon. And no one is immune to an off-the-field incident derailing their career path, as evidenced by Adrian Peterson’s uncertain future.

There’s no telling how Winston will behave in an NFL environment, and the Jets could give up a load of draft picks for a player who may end up suspended or out of the league at some point.

This isn’t to say Winston isn’t worth a shot with a top-two pick, but the Jets would be giving up many more assets to land Winston. So while his off-the-field discretions may be able to overlook by the Buccaneers and Titans, the Jets can’t waste multiple picks on a risk like this.

How many picks would the Jets be giving up? For reference, let’s look at the infamous Washington Redskins-St. Louis Rams trade that yielded the Redskins Robert Griffin III.

  • Redskins receive: 2012 2nd overall pick
  • Rams receive: Redskins 2012 1st Round Pick, 2012 2nd Round Pick 2013 1st Round Pick, 2014 1st Round Pick

Ass well as the Atlanta Falcons aggressive move to select Julio Jones, trading with the Cleveland Browns

  • Falcons receive: 2011 6th overall pick
  • Browns receive: Falcons 2011 1st Round Pick, 2011 2nd Round Pick, 2011 4th Round Pick, 2012 1st Round Pick, 2012 4th Round Pick

A trade package for Winston would most likely be closer to the deal the Redskins reached for Griffin III, as it’s a similar situation of taking the second of two elite quarterback prospects with the second overall pick. Though the league may learn from the Redskins ire, the Jets would still likely need to forfeit multiple first round picks and a few more early round picks to draft Winston.

The RG3 trade hasn't gone too well in Washington (Patrick McDermott- Getty Images)
The RG3 trade hasn’t gone too well in Washington (Patrick McDermott- Getty Images)

The Jets aren’t in the position to make this leap. In addition to the price being steep for any team, the Jets are lacking in late round picks this year, shipping their 5th and 7th round selections to acquire Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brandon Marshall.

With the future looking bright, a draft that only yields the Jets three or four players wouldn’t be wise. New York needs to add depth and players with upside, and a trade to draft Winston could leave them with a mere three selections in this year’s draft.

Had the Jets lost more games last year, there would be little debate they should be taking Winston with the first or second overall pick. But history has shown these kinds of trades are often lop-sided, and the Jets aren’t in position to anoint Winston their quarterback of the future.

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