Sports

Jets ponder options after trading for 3rd pick in NFL draft

After netting two quarterbacks in free agency, the New York Jets showed last weekend that they are not done making surprising moves this offseason.

On March 17, they shocked the NFL by agreeing to a blockbuster trade with the Indianapolis Colts to acquire their No. 3 overall pick in the upcoming draft. In exchange, Gang Green gave up a king’s ransom: their No. 6 overall pick this year, two second-round choices and their second-rounder in next year’s draft.

By forking over four top picks, the Jets are showing fans that they are going all in on this year’s quarterback-heavy draft.

New York will undoubtedly acquire one of the young talents to compete with veterans Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater for the starting job, leaving the rest of the young quarterbacks, Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg and Joel Stave, fighting to justify their spots on the roster.

Once they whiffed on Kirk Cousins, both McCown and Bridgewater were brought into the organization on one-year deals to presumably groom the future face of
the franchise.

Despite McCown’s resurgent 2017 display, the 38-year-old is clearly not the long-term solution under center.

Bridgewater, on the other hand, is an interesting case. Before his gruesome leg injury, the former Minnesota Viking was a rising star in the league. After almost two years away from the field, Bridgewater enters training camp as a huge question mark. It is unknown whether or not he can recapture his Minnesota magic, but this season will more likely than not serve as his audition to eventually become a starter elsewhere.

With no commitments for quarterback extending beyond this year and two experienced veterans on the roster who can help mentor a young talent, the Jets look primed to pounce on one of the many prospects in this year’s draft.

Most mock drafts have Sam Darnold from the University of Southern California Trojans football getting drafted No. 1, though it is possible that the notoriously ill-managed Cleveland Browns could end up butchering this.

There are also dividing opinions on who the New York Giants will end up taking.

While many believe Big Blue is dedicated to two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning and will thus select Pennsylvania State University running back Saquon Barkley, others say that the Giants will bring in a young gun to eventually usurp the 37-year-old as the starter.

Because of this uncertainty, it is unclear who will still be available when the Jets are on the board. Assuming Darnold and Barkley go one and two, the Jets may decide UCLA’s Josh Rosen is the answer.

“Chosen Rosen” is widely considered to be the second-best quarterback in this draft after Darnold. He built an extremely impressive resume over the course of his three-year college career, despite being surrounded by mediocre talent.

However, several teams have expressed concern over Rosen’s durability.

Additionally, his outspoken political nature may backfire in a league that exiled Colin Kaepernick for similar reasons. His boastful intelligence may also cause unrest among critics.

However, New York City might be one of the premier places for a vocal liberal and superior intelligence that has proven to be a great attribute for quarterbacks in league history.

If the Giants scoop up Rosen before the Jets have a chance, then the latter team’s decision gets tougher.

The remaining quarterbacks available all have undeniable talent, but also considerable drawbacks.

One of the hottest and most controversial names in the draft is Oklahoma Sooners’ Baker Mayfield. He is either reminiscent of future Hall of Famer Drew Brees or perennial backup Colt McCoy, depending on who one asks. The Heisman winner’s talent is undeniable, as are questions about his size and character.

New York City can be an easy place to get into trouble and the elevated profile of playing under such a bright spotlight can and has ruined the careers of many talented yet irresponsible athletes in
the past.

If Mayfield can assure general manager Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles that he is more Russell Wilson than Johnny Manziel, then he might be worth handing the franchise to.

Another option might be Wyoming Cowboys’ quarterback Josh Allen, who many scouts say has the highest upside of anyone in the draft. His freakishly strong arm is enough to propel him into the first-round conversation, but his inaccuracy is more than a little troubling. A 56 percent career completion in college means that Allen is likely more of a project than an instant star, and it is doubtful that the Jets will want to spend their expensive first-rounder on a work in progress.

The same goes for Louisville Cardinals’ Lamar Jackson, whose athletic ability has many scouts envisioning him more as a pass catcher than a thrower.

The last time both New York teams had the second and third overall picks, the Giants took Hall of Fame pass rusher and greatest player in franchise history Lawrence Taylor. Immediately after, the Jets selected three-time All-Pro running back and Ring of Honor recipient Freeman McNeil. It was a night that left both franchises happy for years to come.

Now, as both teams prepare to draft in the same spots yet again, they are hoping for the same result.

March 26, 2018

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Evan Lewis


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