Just A Smoke Screen, Or Is Maccagnan Mulling Power Move For Top QB?

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — If you believe the New York Jets, the new brain trust will take a good, hard look at the best player available at No. 6 in the upcoming NFL draft.

Then again, they could select the best player, period.

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New York general manager Mike Maccagnan “hasn’t ruled out the possibility of trading up” with presumptive top overall pick Jameis Winston set to visit the team’s complex in Florham Park, according to ESPN.

The network, citing sources, said “it’s unclear” who — or which pick — the Jets would potentially want to grab. But it’s clear that plenty of franchises covet the Florida State quarterback, whose pro day drew the Jets and the teams with the first two selections — Tampa Bay and Tennessee — among others to Tallahassee.

Winston, who many believe will be selected April 30 by the Buccaneers, won the Heisman Trophy and the national championship in 2013 before guiding the Seminoles to the national semifinals in 2014. But he’s also had several well-publicized off-the-field problems. He was accused of sexual assault and shoplifting crab legs, as well as shouting obscenities while standing on a campus cafeteria table.

“We have to assist him in growing and developing as a man,” his lawyer, David Cornwell, said during a talk last week at Villanova University. “And it’s not going to be easy. If he messes up again, he’s done.”

Whether that hurts his draft stock remains to be seen. Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, considered by most experts to be the second-best quarterback in the draft, has also been on the Jets’ radar, though it would be a surprise if the reigning Heisman winner falls to sixth overall.

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The price to move up for Mariota would be steep but not as prohibitive as reaching for Winston, which would likely cost multiple first- and second-round picks.

Jameis Winston (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images), Marcus Mariota (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

Jameis Winston (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images), Marcus Mariota (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

“Sitting at six is a very good spot to be in,” Maccagnan said during a conference call with season-ticket holders on April 2. “It does allow us the potential to move up in the draft because we’re not far from the first pick.”

Also consider this: Maccagnan could be planting the idea as a smoke screen, as teams often do ahead of the draft.

The Jets have also reportedly worked out UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley and are expected to bring in Baylor’s Bryce Petty for a visit.

Jets coach Todd Bowles said earlier this month that he’s hoping to add a fourth quarterback to compete with incumbent starter Smith, veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick and third-stringer Matt Simms in training camp.

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