<
>

Jets have edge if they decide to join Marcus Mariota sweepstakes

No fewer than seven teams have been mentioned as possible trading partners with the Tennessee Titans, who may be looking to deal out of the No. 2 spot in the draft. There's no way of knowing if all seven are genuinely interested in moving up -- chances are, it's only two or three -- but that's enough for a bidding war. Presumably, the target would be quarterback Marcus Mariota.

And the New York Jets could have the inside track for the No. 2 pick -- if they decide to go for it.

Here's why: The Jets own the No. 6 pick, which undoubtedly would be part of any trade package. Many experts believe there are only six to eight elite players in the draft, so the Titans, who have zero star power on their roster, might be hesitant to drop below the sixth pick. The other teams linked to the No. 2 pick/Mariota are picking below the Jets.

On paper, the quarterback-needy Cleveland Browns, who have the 12th and 19th picks, appear to be the team with the most ammunition for a trade up. Thing is, would the Titans really want to drop from No. 2 to No. 12? That would take them out of the blue-chip neighborhood.

This is why Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan, in his most recent public comments, was talking up the No. 6 position, saying: "It's a very good spot to be in. It does allow us the potential to move up in the draft because we're not very far from the first pick."

Or the second, obviously.

Clearly, the Jets would have to give up more than the No. 6 pick to move up four spots. According to the draft-pick value chart, the No. 2 pick is worth 2,600 points. The Jets' top picks are No. 6 and No. 37 picks, which add up to only 2,130 points. They'd probably have to offer a package that includes their 2016 first-round pick, which means you're talking about a serious investment. Remember, the Washington Redskins traded three first-round picks to make the same jump in 2012 for Robert Griffin III. Frankly, I think it would be a mistake.

The Browns could offer 2,545 points if they pony up No. 12, No. 19 and No. 43, but the value chart is a generic guide -- it doesn't change by year. No two drafts are alike, so the quality of the 12th pick in one draft might be deemed weaker than in another.

The other teams interested in Mariota are thought to be the Chicago Bears (No. 7 and No. 39), St. Louis Rams (10 and 41), New Orleans Saints (13, 31 and 44), San Diego Chargers (17 and 48) and Philadelphia Eagles (20 and 52). I listed only first- and second-round picks because it would be unwieldy to list them all. You get the point.

If the Chargers decide to include Philip Rivers in a deal, which would be insanity, they become the favorite. Publicly, they've said they have no interest in trading their franchise quarterback, but the rumors persist.

To repeat: We don't know if the Jets are interested in trading up for Mariota, but they haven't ruled out the idea of a move-up. Honestly, there's no guarantee they'd take him if he fell to No. 6. The point of this exercise is to show that, if they decide to make a move, they'd be in primo position to get it done.