As of right now, the New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers are locked in with the No. 2 and No. 3 picks in the 2021 NFL Draft. But, this order reportedly could have looked much different if one trade earlier this offseason went through.
According to reports from NFL insider Cecil Lammey, the Jets turned down a trade for Sam Darnold that would have given the franchise San Francisco’s 2021 first-round draft pick. New York general manager Joe Douglas reportedly turned down the offer because of concerns with Zach Wilson’s throwing shoulder that underwent reparative surgery in 2019.
After seeing the BYU quarterback’s pro day, the Jets franchise now seems to be locked in to take Wilson with the No. 2 overall pick.
Ah, what might have been. League sources tell me #Jets turned down #49ers first-round pick for Sam Darnold earlier this offseason. Joe Douglas & co. had concerns about Zach Wilson's shoulder & wanted to see his pro day. Now, super confident & will likely be no2 pick #NFLDraft
— Cecil Lammey (@CecilLammey) April 14, 2021
At the time of this proposed trade, the 49ers did not yet hold the No. 3 overall pick. If Douglas had accepted this transaction, the Jets would have received the No. 12 pick in this month’s upcoming draft.
After New York turned down San Francisco’s offer for Darnold, the team decided to go a different route to find its next quarterback option. In late March, John Lynch and the 49ers front office sent their No. 12 pick, a 2022 third-round pick and first-round picks in 2022 and 2023 to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for their current No. 3 selection.
Looking back on this rejected trade, the Jets are likely kicking themselves for the missed opportunity.
Clearly looking to rid themselves of Darnold anyways (now with the Carolina Panthers), New York would have received an excellent return with a top-15 pick in a talented draft pool. With the No. 12 selection, the Jets could have drafted a talented offensive weapon or lineman to pair with their rookie QB.
Instead, New York will have just two first-round selections — No. 2 and No. 23 (via Seattle).
The first day of the 2021 NFL Draft will kickoff on Apr. 29.