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Draft buzz: Jets eyeing Malik Hooker, an Ed Reed-like safety

After months of buildup, it's here: the NFL draft, the most anticipated day of the year for success-starved New York Jets fans.

Here are 10 things you need to know:

1. The Jets could draft a first-round Buckeye for the second consecutive year: either cornerback Marshon Lattimore or safety Malik Hooker, both of whom played with linebacker Darron Lee in 2015. Picking sixth, the Jets' choice could come down to the two former Ohio State standouts.

Lattimore was the choice in our ESPN NFL Nation mock draft Tuesday night, but that was then. This is a fluid business, folks. By Wednesday, Hooker was seen in some league circles as the Jets' preferred and most realistic choice with the sixth pick, as I previously reported.

Both Lattimore and Hooker would fill big needs, but the Jets might regard Hooker as the safer pick based on the medicals. True, he's recovering from January surgery to repair a torn labrum (hip) and a sports hernia, but he should be fine by training camp. Hooker doesn't have a prior injury history, unlike Lattimore, who has had hamstring issues and required surgery in 2014. Lattimore was injury-free last season, but recurring soft-tissue injuries are worrisome. Dee Milliner flashbacks, anyone?

2. Hooker is a ball-hawking safety who can turn turnovers into points. "The reincarnation of Ed Reed," one opposing scout told me. Can anybody remember the last time the Jets scored a defensive touchdown? It was 2013, when Antonio Allen picked off Tom Brady. Hooker would change that. He would also allow Calvin Pryor to play strong safety, his natural position.

3. The Jets really like LSU safety Jamal Adams, probably more than Hooker and Lattimore, but there's only a slim chance that Adams will last until the sixth pick. If Adams falls, it would be akin to Leonard Williams' mini-tumble to No. 6 in 2015. If a quarterback is picked in the top five, that could push Adams to the Jets.

4. The big question is: Will the Jets draft a quarterback at No. 6? I spoke to people from four teams, and they all said they'd be surprised if the Jets made a call for a signal-caller. Presumably, the No. 1 quarterback on their board is North Carolina's Mitchell Trubisky, but I wouldn't be surprised if he's gone. The hunch is that the Cleveland Browns will take him, either with the top pick or in a trade up with their other first-round pick (No. 12). The Jets like Clemson's Deshaun Watson, but at sixth? That would be a stunner.

5. The Jets are interested in trading down to accumulate extra picks, but any deal is probably contingent upon Trubisky's being available at No. 6. Dropping down in Round 1 would be almost historic. The Jets have traded up several times over the years, but the last time they moved back with a high pick in the first round was 1997, when Bill Parcells was calling the shots.

6. If they trade down, the sweet spot would be in the 10-to-15 range, where they could have a shot at Alabama tight end O.J. Howard, Temple linebacker Haason Reddick or Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams. Any one of them would be an immediate contributor.

7. It's all quiet on the Sheldon Richardson front. Barring an attractive, 11th-hour offer, the Jets will keep Richardson and his $8.1 million salary, which is causing teams to shy away from the talented but twice-suspended defensive lineman.

8. Personal favorites? I'd have no issue if the Jets picked LSU running back Leonard Fournette. Yes, the position has been devalued in recent years, but Fournette is a special talent. Adams and Hooker would be solid choices, along with Howard. Lattimore has elite talent, but he scares me because of the hamstring history.

9. The Jets were inept when defending the deep ball. Here's a mind-blowing stat: They allowed opponents to complete 43 percent of passes that traveled at least 20 yards in the air, which was 30th in the league. That's why Hooker or Adams would immediately upgrade the defense.

10. Chances are, it'll be another defensive pick. The Jets haven't used a first-round pick on an offensive player since quarterback Mark Sanchez (2009). Their past eight first-round picks have been defensive players, three more than any other team since 2010 (the Jets had two first-rounders in 2013).