As soon as the trade was announced, many began speculating about the trade and what may have been the leading force behind it. Many were led to believe that the New England Patriots were trying to pull one over on the Jets, allowing the Steelers to trade up at a discounted price to grab Broderick Jones. Jones was a player many were pegging to the Jets, as it appeared to be one of the team’s top needs following free agency. However, a recent video suggests that Jones was not the Jets’ preferred target at Pick 15 anyway.
The video below includes footage from the Jets war room on draft night, with General Manager Joe Douglas making quite the prediction.
#Jets GM Joe Douglas seemingly revealed 3 players the team was considering w/ No. 15 overall pick in 1st round of #NFLDraft 1️⃣EDGE Will McDonald 2️⃣TE Michael Mayer 3️⃣ OT Broderick Jones also perfectly predicted #Steelers, #Patriots trade for BJ @nyjets Flight 23 Ascension pic.twitter.com/lj57PhQiVx— Paul Andrew Esden Jr (@BoyGreen25) May 26, 2023
Make what you want about the Jets’ questionable draft board, but it was impressive for Douglas to predict the Steelers/Patriots trade. He obviously knew the league’s knowledge of their interest in the Georgia tackle, but what the rest of the league did not know was that the Jets were not going to take him anyway.
It appears as if the Jets had both Michael Mayer and Will McDonald ranked ahead of Broderick Jones, which definitely would surprise most. Will McDonald made sense where he was selected, especially considering the need the Jets had for a premier pass rusher. However, Michael Mayer would have been quite a shocker, as Aaron Rodgers has typically preferred receivers to tight ends in crucial moments of games. It simply was not on the radar of most, especially at Pick 15.
There were also rumors surrounding New York’s interest to trade back. Based on the released video, there is no way of truly knowing for sure, but it is not out of the realm of comprehension to believe the Jets were hoping to trade back and get their preferred player at a lower selection while acquiring additional draft capital.
As for New England, it does not appear as if Broderick Jones was their target either. If so, they would have taken him themselves and not traded back. Looking at the prospects who went picks 14-16 and comparing it to the list of players New England spent the most time with during the pre-draft process, it definitely looks as if the Patriots still got their top target at Pick 17 in Christian Gonzalez.
For the Steelers, it still worked out well. Did they really need to trade up to get Jones? Maybe, maybe not. We may never truly know. Either way, the Steelers got a blue-chip prospect at left tackle, something they have not had... this millennium? They also replenished the fourth-round pick they lost in the trade-up by sliding back in Round 3 while still snagging athletic tight end Darnell Washington.
In the end, all three teams got at least a portion of what they wanted. The Jets may have wanted to trade back, but they did get their primary target at 15. The Patriots may not have pulled one over on the Jets like they were wanting, but they presumptuously got the same player at 17 that they would have taken at 14. That leaves the Steelers, who got their guy in Round 1, while also getting Joey Porter, Jr., a player they would have considered at 17, in Round 2.
Ultimately, the Steelers got an incredible haul in the draft, and this little piece of news should not put even the slightest damper on it.