Todd McShay spends months trying to figure out what teams are going to do in the NFL draft.
As one of the two draft gurus at ESPN, McShay studies film, talks to people around the league then tries to marry the information with picks. He is having a tough time figuring out the Jets’ plan for Thursday’s first-round pick at No. 6, though.
“They’re a tough one because they’ve done a very good job, as they should, on keeping a lid on what they think their situation is and who they like in this draft class,” McShay said in a phone interview. “In a perfect world, I think you’d like to trade back if you’re the Jets and acquire more picks in a draft class that I think is loaded in the second, third and fourth rounds.”
Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan is on record saying he would like to trade back and acquire more picks, but that might not be so easy. If the Jets can’t trade back, what will they do at 6?
McShay went over some different options for the Jets with The Post, starting with the first question they must answer:
It is the question on every Jets fan’s mind. It has to be one that has been fiercely debated inside the front office, as well. McShay is not high on this year’s quarterback class, but says this could be a simple decision.
“If they love a quarterback, take him,” McShay said. “You just have to take him. If they’re in love with [Mitchell] Trubisky, take him. If they’re in love with Deshaun Watson, take him. If not, and they are like a lot of other teams and share a similar opinion to the one I have, I think you’d like to move back. Maybe you address it a little later if the quarterback you like is still there or address it in the second round.”
If they opt to stay at six and don’t go quarterback …
Two years ago, Leonard Williams was expected to be taken in the first five picks, but there he was when the Jets were on the clock at 6. Could that happen again? This year’s stud who would fill a huge need for the Jets is LSU safety Jamal Adams. He is expected to be gone in the top five, but you never know.
“They’ve got a handful of needs,” McShay said. “They’ve got to upgrade the safety position. I think Jamal Adams from LSU is one of the two best players in this draft. If he’s there I would take him.”
If the draft goes as expected …
Lattimore is rated higher by nearly everyone, but he missed a lot of time in college with hamstring injuries.
“To me, he’s one of the top 10 players in this draft,” McShay said. “I still think he’s going to be a top-10 pick. I don’t think he’d be a bad pick at all. I think different teams, based on my conversations, have different levels of concern with his hamstrings.
“There’s multiple concerns there, and I can understand a team like the Jets, who cannot afford to miss on that pick, if they said we recognize the talent, but we can’t take that kind of gamble right now.”
Conley has gained momentum since the combine, but McShay believes No. 6 might be too high for him.
“To be transparent, before the combine I gave him an early second-round grade,” McShay said. “No position is governed more by the stopwatch than cornerback. The speed is there. The explosiveness is there. The length is there. I think that helped move him up. But I think I’d feel a lot better getting him in the bottom half of the first round than I would in the top 10. I don’t think he’s that quality of a value pick.”
Or the Jets could go offense, but …
The Jets need playmakers. The conventional wisdom is you don’t take tight ends and running backs in the top six, but Alabama tight end O.J. Howard or LSU running back Leonard Fournette might be too good to pass up.
“I think O.J. Howard from Alabama would be a really good pick. The lack of a tight end presence in their offense the last couple of years has been well documented. For me, O.J. Howard, I look at him and I see [Panthers tight end] Greg Olsen.”
Fournette might be the top-rated player on the board when the Jets are on the clock. Would they add him, even though they have Matt Forte and Bilal Powell?
“Based purely on value, yeah [he makes sense],” McShay said. “I think the concern is, are we missing out on a different position that we could address that we could upgrade this year?”
On Thursday, we’ll know the answers.
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