No one would blame the Jets for being a little salty after the 2023 NFL Draft, as the Patriots pulled off a move in Round 1 that left New England with one of this year’s top-ranked cornerbacks and New York without a player many projected it would target.
The Patriots traded back three spots, from No. 14 overall to No. 17, and landed Oregon standout Christian Gonzalez. The Pittsburgh Steelers, who traded up with New England, picked Georgia offensive tackle Broderick Jones at No. 14, one spot before the Jets selected Iowa State linebacker Will McDonald IV.
Now, we don’t know whether the Jets would’ve considered taking Jones at No. 15 had the former Bulldogs lineman still been available. But New York could use offensive line help, and Jones was widely viewed as the last remaining top-tier tackle. It was logical to connect the dots.
So, how do the Jets feel about the Steelers leapfrogging them for Jones by way of a trade with the Patriots? ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler touched on the subject Monday in a post-draft breakdown published on ESPN.com.
“When I asked an AFC exec whether the Jets should be frustrated with Pittsburgh, the exec jokingly countered, ‘They should be mad at the Patriots. They knew what was going on,’ ” Fowler wrote.
Making matters worse for the Jets: They swapped the No. 13 pick for No. 15 as part of their Aaron Rodgers trade with the Green Bay Packers, a small piece of the blockbuster at the time but ultimately a development that might’ve prevented New York from nabbing a coveted offensive tackle.
Jones was the fourth tackle selected in the 2023 NFL Draft — behind Paris Johnson Jr. (Arizona Cardinals, No. 6), Darnell Wright (Chicago Bears, No. 10) and Peter Skoronski (Tennessee Titans, No. 11) — and the last until the Jacksonville Jaguars took Anton Harrison at No. 28.