The New York Jets, one of the least successful franchises in the history of the NFL, struck again! They traded three 2nd round picks to move up three spots (from No.6 to No.3) in the NFL draft and (presumably) select their quarterback for the future. The trade is the typical high-risk, desperation move a front office makes when seats start to get hot.
A franchise QB is a priceless commodity in the NFL (unless we're talking about Bill Belichick, who practically gave away one last year), so regardless of what the Jets paid, if their pick pans out they made a good deal. Taking the success of a draft pick for granted however is a recipe for losing your job in the NFL however. So we must evaluate the trade based on value received and traded away.
Based on the trade value chart developed by the Cowboys in the 1990s, they overpaid by 610 points (the value of the 31st pick). The value of draft picks fluctuates over time and depends on the depth of each draft, but 610points is a significant difference in any draft.
Furthermore, the current Jets regime knows that if the Jets don’t win this year, both GM Mike Maccagnan and HC Todd Bowles will probably get fired. As a result they were eager to make a splash with a brand new and exciting QB. However, that only makes things worse. If the Jets have a so-so year and the QB does not show his talent (think Jared Goff in his rookie year), the GM and coach will still get fired, and the new regime will inherit a QB they may not like, and who cost the franchise 4 draft picks including next year’s second rounder. It’s an all or nothing move.
Finally, the success of draft picks depends on the players selected, but also the team environment. The Patriots, Ravens or Steelers do not necessarily draft more talented players than the Browns, but the train wreck that is Cleveland, with its frequent changes in management, consistent losing and pressure on rookies to provide a spark and turn things around, makes it much harder for rookies to succeed there. A lot more so than in teams where a rookie has a clearly defined and complementary role and where there is a winning culture.
As a result, the odds of the Jets’ new QB succeeding are not good. And if he doesn’t the next regime will inherit not only a failed bet on the most important position on the field, but an opportunity loss because of the picks that could have helped raise the overall talent level and were instead traded away.
PS: Todd Bowles recently stated that the Jets traded up from 6 to 3 with "6 or 7" prospects in mind. That means the Jets are either horrible at making football decisions, or horrible at disguising their intentions. Or both.