Aaron Rodgers Trade Already Cost the Jets in the 2023 NFL Draft
The Aaron Rodgers trade between the New York Jets and Green Bay Packers sent a lot of draft capital from New Jersey to Wisconsin for a soon-to-be 40-year-old quarterback. Seemingly, the least consequential piece was a 2023 NFL Draft first-round pick swap that had the Jets move back two spaces. However, that small move cost Gang Green dearly and caused them to blow their first-round pick.
The Jets screwed up the first round due to the Aaron Rodgers trade
It seemed like the least important piece of the Aaron Rodgers trade was the 2023 NFL Draft first-round pick swap. The Jets gave up a 2023 second, a conditional 2024 second that will likely become a first (if Rodgers plays 65% of the team’s snaps), and a 2023 sixth to get the four-time MVP QB and a 2023 fifth-round pick back.
The Jets also moved from pick No. 13 back to No. 15 this year. No big deal, right?
New York needed an offensive tackle more than anything to help protect Rodgers in the pocket. Based on all the mock drafts, that shouldn’t have been a problem at No. 13 or No. 15.
However, that was before one OT went much earlier than expected. The Arizona Cardinals took Paris Johnson Jr. from Ohio State at No. 6 overall, which started the run on tackles earlier than expected.
Suddenly, the Chicago Bears took Tennessee tackle Darnell Wright at No. 10, and the Tennessee Titans grabbed Northwestern offensive lineman at No. 11. After the Lions reached for a running back, pick No. 13 came up with one high-end OT prospect left on the board.
The Jets surely would have taken Georgia lineman Broderick Jones at that spot, but instead, the Packers took Iowa defensive lineman Lukas Van Ness at that pick.
Then — doing what they’ve done for years in the AFC East — the New England Patriots screwed the Jets. They traded their pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers, who quickly scooped up Jones.
That seemingly left the Jets’ war room scrambling, and the team made a panic pick of Iowa State edge rusher Will McDonald IV. McDonald is an undersized pass rusher who is a fine fit in the Jets system, but he won’t supplant John Franklin-Meyers, Carl Lawson, or last year’s late first-rounder Jermaine Johnson as a starter or a three-down DE.
The Jets picked a third-down pass rush specialist at No. 15 because they lost out on all the nest offensive linemen thanks to the Aaron Rodgers trade.
New York rallied to have a solid draft
Despite the Will McDonald IV blunder in the first round, the Jets rebounded and put together a pretty good 2023 NFL draft class in the end.
The Jets had one of the steals of Day 2, getting Wisconsin center Joe Tippmann in the second round. Tippmann is a 6-foot-6 center with the potential to dominate at the position like Kevin Mawae and Nick Mangold did in New York for over a decade and a half.
On Day 3, the Jets finally got their tackle in Carter Warren from Pitt. He’s more of a project than the first-round tackles, but he has the size and athleticism to play in the NFL. They also got Warren’s teammate, running back Israel Abanikanda, who is a home run threat similar to Isiah Pacheco.
And with their last pick, the team took 6-foot-7 TE Zack Kuntz from Old Dominion. He’s from a small school but is a unique athlete. With Aaron Rodgers throwing to him, Kuntz could become a diamond in the rough.