INDIANAPOLIS -- The New York Jets have downsized their drafts in recent years, dealing picks to trade up and procure players they wanted especially.
They selected a grand total of three players a year ago and 13 players over the past three years.
At some point, don't they need to have a healthy draft class to fortify the team's depth?
General manager Mike Tannenbaum doesn't think so.
"That would be the case, but we have such a talented scouting department," Tannenbaum said Friday at the NFL scouting combine in Lucas Oil Stadium.
Vice president of college scouting Joey Clinkscales and senior personnel executive have identified contributors who were overlooked by other teams.
"We've added guys who are maybe not household names like [defensive tackle] Mike DeVito and [linebacker] Jamaal Westerman," Tannenbaum said. "We have a lot of young guys who we really like, who have really helped us."
Tannenbaum certainly would've preferred to mention more significant names than those. Clowney had 14 catches for 191 yards and one touchdown. Washington joined the team last year with three games left and was deactivated for each one.
Tannenbaum contended the Jets aren't forced to amass picks, or have a bloated class like they did in 2006, his first year as GM. They selected 10 players, three of whom have made a Pro Bowl. Seven started at least one game last year.
"Because of those other avenues to improve the team," Tannenbaum said, "that has complemented the fact we haven't had a lot of picks."
When the Jets have dealt draft picks to move up in the order, their decisions have worked out. They traded up last year to get quarterback Mark Sanchez and running back Shonn Greene. In their four-man class of 2007, they twice traded three picks for two picks to move up and select cornerback Darrelle Revis and linebacker David Harris.
"When you trade up, you trade away valuable resources, and there is no guarantee on any of these guys," Tannenbaum said. "But you'd better be as close to pretty darn sure as you can. Fortunately for us, we had real organizational conviction in those situations be it Mark or Shonn last year or Revis or David Harris. We felt really strong.
"You have to make those value judgments of 'Is this price reasonable?' because to give up picks in our system is a heavy lift. Every situation is unique. We actually have traded back a few times, but no one ever seems to talk about that. Every situation is unique, but I fall back to we have a great college scouting staff that gives me good information."