Jets paid big price to trade up for Alijah Vera-Tucker

2021 NFL Draft
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After the Jets traded up in the first round to select guard Alijah Vera-Tucker, General Manager Joe Douglas called it a unique opportunity to get a very good prospect. Based on what he paid, he’d better be right.

The Jets gave up picks No. 23, 66 and 86 to get pick No. 14, which they used to select Vera-Tucker, as well as pick No. 143 from the Vikings. No matter which draft chart you look at, the Jets paid more than teams should pay to move up from 23 to 14.

On the old Jimmy Johnson chart, the Jets gave up 1,180 points of draft capitol to receive 1,134.5 points back. Based on the Jimmy Johnson chart, the Jets overpaid, but only by a little bit.

The Jimmy Johnson chart, however, is outdated. It stems from a time before the salary cap and before the current rookie wage scale, which fundamentally changed the value of draft picks. And it also stems from a time when other teams hadn’t done enough research into the value of draft picks, which is how Johnson was able to fleece so many teams with trades that helped the Cowboys build a three-time Super Bowl winner in the 1990s.

More recently, teams have begun to re-assess the draft charts, and most teams are using a chart more similar to the one developed by OverTheCap.com. On that chart, the Jets gave up 3,031 points to get back 2,148 points. The Jets massively overpaid.

Seth Walder of ESPN, using a slightly different draft chart, estimates that the Jets overpaid by the 66th overall pick. In other words, for the trade to be fair, the Jets should have given up only No. 23 and No. 86. Instead they gave up both of those picks and No. 66 overall. Whatever prospect the Jets might have taken at No. 66, the absence of that player is what the Jets overpaid by.

The Vikings took Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond at No. 66. It’s unlikely the Jets would have taken him, but lots of good offensive line prospects, like Michigan’s Jalen Mayfield and BYU’s Brady Christensen, were still there at No. 66. The Jets want to build a good offensive line in front of rookie quarterback Zach Wilson, and that’s smart. But they might have built a better offensive line by staying put and drafting two offensive linemen, rather than trading up and targeting one specific offensive lineman, Vera-Tucker.

Obviously, Douglas thinks Vera-Tucker is going to be an excellent NFL player, and he may prove to be right. But even the best draft evaluators miss sometimes, and Douglas is showing an enormous amount of confidence not only that he’s right about how good Vera-Tucker is going to be, but also that he can be sure Vera-Tucker wouldn’t have been available with the 23rd overall pick, and that Vera-Tucker is going to be better than both the player the Jets could have taken at No. 23 and the player the Jets could have taken at No. 66 combined.

Most of the time, the draft just isn’t that predictable, and the ultimate production of NFL players just doesn’t align that closely with where those players were on any individual GM’s draft board. Douglas paid a huge price for his high level of faith in one particular prospect.

29 responses to “Jets paid big price to trade up for Alijah Vera-Tucker

  1. It’s one of the dumbest trade ups in cap era history. The Jets needed all the picks they can get with so little talent as they continue to try to rebuild.

  2. And the Vikings got the same player that many had expected them to get at 14, while adding two picks.

  3. The 49ers messed up the value for trades in the draft. Many teams wanted to trade up to get a specific player in round 1 but couldn’t do it with what was being asked in return.

  4. I suspect there will be a long-running Tucker vs Darrisaw comparison as a result of this trade, although I suspect both of those linemen will do just fine. The interesting thing from this Vikings fan perspective will be how the two extra 3rd round picks perform. The extra picks allowed the Vikes to take a flyer on the TX A&M QB; however, I suspect the NC LB and the OSU guard will be the ones that have the most impact.

  5. I’m in no way a Jets fan, but what they did was worth it if it’s going to protect their now NEW FRANCHISE QB….. a great O line is a rookie QB’s best friend…..

  6. What the draft chart doesn’t take into account is that both teams need to have certain values for players. If the Jets thought EVT was a top 10 talent, they make the move to get a top 10 guy. And if the Vikings didn’t want to make an equal value trade and stay at #23? The Jets don’t get their top 10 guy. I have no problems with a team reaching to get the guy they feel very strongly about.

  7. I compare the draft to a marksmanship context. Draft picks equate to shots. Draft position equates to distance.

    When you’re shooting a target 300 yards away, more shots (e.g. two) is always better than one shot, only two/three/ten steps closer.

    I could be off on the analogy, but I consider the whole of the draft – from No. 1 overall to Mr. Irrelevant – close to a distance of 50 yards in the above analogy. IN other words I’d rather have (2) shots at 300 yards than (1) shot at 250 yards.

  8. J E T S continue to play checkers while other teams play chess — a comforting constant in an increasingly uncertain world.

  9. Is it a ransom if he was the top rated interior linemen in the draft? One could argue, they got a steal if that’s the case?

  10. Note: the JJ trade chart is only slightly outdated, in that it needed to be adjusted for minor changes in trade valuations in the years since it was made (as done by, for example, Rich Hill). But the chart is accurate in that it represents not the historical production value of a typical pick at a slot, but rather the historical trade price teams pay. Charts that are developed by looking at the historical value of a slot are not accurate for these purposes. Why? Because, when teams trade up, they’re not targeting the average projected value of that slot; they’re targeting the specific projection of the one specific player they expect to take at that spot. In other words, a team that trades up to, say, pick 15 isn’t seeking a random pick 15, and so data that only evaluates the random, typical value of a slot does not accurately represent the intended value of the target player.

  11. Jets thought Patriots were going to draft the kid which was totally incorrect even had Jones not been there. Once again the Jets, just out thinking themselves.

  12. Once again the Vikings had an excellent draft, now let’s see if Spielman can use those picks to field a team with a winning record.

  13. Can all try to remember that Spielman only drafts the players asked for, he doesn’t coach, scheme or decide on playing time for them.

  14. I am not the worlds biggest Speilman fan and always used the offensive line performance as my reasoning to cut him loose. But I have come to believe the coaching is more the problem with the o-line. This year will tell us.

  15. Here we go again..throw that chart away
    If jets trade away 2 third rounders for a 10 year anchor on your o-line of course its a great move but to say the jets gave up to much makes no sense.

  16. Jets also got a round 4 pick..so the points were not as bad as it seems and when you get who you want it’s ok to overpay a bit .

  17. I’m good with the guy and the price paid. Even if in your view the Jets overpaid

  18. It’s kinda impossible to know how exactly the trade will fully play out. Yes the “points” show it was an overpay, but if the Jets had AVT as their 7th ranked player then his personal points would be higher than the draft position. So yes the Jets overpaid to move up but would have recaptured some points. For reference, the 7th pick is worth 1500 points while the 14th pick is worth 1100. If the Jets had AVT as 7th best overall (just speculating where in top 10 for an example) than the Jets would have added 300 points into their column. Also Darrisaw is a LT and would have to move either to the right side or to guard with Becton already on the roster. While plenty of players will do that during their careers it could have led to a slightly lower grade on him for the Jets

  19. Spielman has deserved criticism in the past, especially for not improving the O-line, but he gets an A+ for that move and draft in the first three rounds this year.

  20. The points are static. There needs to be an adjustment when the player being drafted is replacing one of the worse performing players at that position in the League. With all this PFF stuff now, that should factor in.

    Kind of like up until 15 years ago “the Book said” to always split 8s against a 10. Yes, your odds, increase, but you are still most likely to lose double your bet. The mathematical probability play is to “surrender” the 16 versus the 10 and only lose half of your bet. Long-term, you will come out ahead. The “book” never factors in the “money management” side of things. Just like the “30+ year old Jimmy Johnson points chart” never factors in the upgrade on the field.

  21. The chart means nothing how high the jets had him rated is what matters. If they had him rated as the best prospect at that position and still having him available outside the top 10 that is a huge value pick even when trading up to get him.

  22. If AVT turns out to be an elite player none of this will matter. Vikings also got lucky Darrisaw fell to them, thanks Raiders! What this article misses is the Vikings used the 86th pick to get Wyatt Davis. That is 2 projected starters at great value and their possible QB of the future. That’s a steal considering a lot of people thought the Vikings would just take Darrisaw at 14 straight up.

  23. This is just plain false. “No matter which draft chart you look at, the Jets paid more than teams should pay to move up from 23 to 14.” I’d like to see some justification for that statement.
    Not sure where your math came from, though point systems for picks are somewhat arbitrary and unrelated to the actual value of a player to a team, potential fit, potential need etc, but using PFRs point system, which is right on par with many others-Jets 23(760), 66(260), 86(160)=1180. Minn 13(1150),143(35) =1185.That seems like a pretty fair trade. No?
    Sure the Jets have lots of needs, but stellar Olinemen are a hot commodity. After drafting Ferguson and Mangold, they had a dominant line for a decade. They also still have lots of money and lots of picks next year.

  24. Just curious, how many superbowls did Seth Walder and OverTheCap win compared to Jimmy? I think Jimmy used his chart to trade away the great Hershel Walker. He got fleeced, right?

  25. If the Jets paid a big price to move up 9 spots what would you call what the Bears paid to move up 9 spots?

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