Since the NFL free agency period kicked off on March 14, the New York Jets have been an active team. Some of the moves they’ve made include signing former Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson to a five-year-deal, and signing former Browns running back Isaiah Crowell to a three-year-deal. Despite these signings, their biggest move during this offseason was not a free agent signing, but was instead a trade.
After missing out on heavily coveted free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins, Jets general manager Mike MacCagnan made the team’s draft intentions clear when he struck a deal with the Indianapolis Colts on March 17 that moved the Jets up to the No. 3 overall pick in this year’s NFL draft. That intention is to draft a franchise quarterback.
The Jets traded their 2018 first-round pick (No. 6 overall) and three second-round picks for the Colts third-overall pick. Despite giving up three second-round picks, I thought Maccagnan did a good job in this trade by not giving up multiple first-round picks. While three second-round is a decent haul, it will be worth it if the Jets pick their quarterback of the future.
Despite the Jets re-signing Josh McCown and signing former Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater this offseason, it was still clear that the team needs a quarterback for the future with McCown being 39-years-old and Bridgewater not starting a game since suffering a major leg injury before the 2016 season. Here are some of the quarterbacks that Gang Green has had their eyes on.
Sam Darnold: The 20-year-old USC quarterback has been considered the top QB prospect in the 2018 draft even before the 2017 season started. Darnold threw for over 4,000 yards for the Trojans this past season but had 22 total turnovers, including 13 interceptions. Despite the high number of turnovers, NFL coaches believe that his turnovers are fixable with the right coaching. Darnold has been linked to the Cleveland Browns who hold the first overall pick. He will most likely be off the board by the time the Jets are on the clock.
Josh Rosen: NFL Network analyst and former scout Bucky Brooks called the UCLA quarterback prospect the most polished QB prospect since Andrew Luck in 2012. Brooks went on to say that Rosen is “so polished as a passer that I would dub him ‘The Natural’ based on his beautiful delivery and flawless footwork in the pocket.” Rosen has had a history of concussions during his career, as well as a reputation of being hard to coach given his outspoken nature. There have people who have also questioned Rosen’s “passion” for football. Despite those critiques, the Jets should no doubt take Rosen if he is still on the board as I think some of his “flaws” are overblown and are false narratives.
Josh Allen: The 6’5”Wyoming quarterback has been ranked one of the top QB prospects in this year’s draft, which is largely in part of his arm strength and his experience in playing in cold weather. One knock on Allen is that in his two seasons as starting quarterback, his completion percentage was never over 60 percent. Allen, who has been linked to the Jets in pre-draft rumors appears to be the biggest boom or bust quarterback prospect in this year’s draft.
Baker Mayfield: The 2017 Heisman Trophy winning Oklahoma quarterback is one of the more polarizing draft prospects this year. He is the most accomplished college player of all the quarterback prospects. He has a fiery demeanor and vibrant personality that his teammates seemed to get behind in college. Mayfield stands at 6’1”, which is the smallest out of the QB prospects and a concern for NFL scouts who think this will lead to more passes being batted down by defenders. Mayfield also has had off-field issues as this includes an arrest in February 2017 for public intoxication. Mayfield will most likely be on the board when the Jets pick, but I’m not sure if the Jets have Mayfield rated as high as the previous three quarterbacks that I’ve mentioned.
With the draft set to take place on April 26 in Cowboys Stadium, the Jets are destined to pick a quarterback. But it remains to be seen which quarterback they will take, as this will hinge on who the Cleveland Browns and the New York Giants will pick with the first and second overall picks.
The Browns will also most likely take a quarterback as they have been linked to Sam Darnold. There are multiple scenarios for what the Giants will do with the second pick, they can take a quarterback, or take a non-quarterback such as Penn State running back Saquon Barkley or NC State defensive end Bradley Chubb since the team just traded longtime defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. The Giants can also trade their pick to a quarterback needy team such as the Buffalo Bills or Arizona Cardinals.
While you could play the hypothetical game all day with who will be picked in the top three. One thing that is certain: Jets head coach Todd Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan’s jobs depend on picking the right quarterback in this year’s draft.