The NFL Draft is just a week away and if you’re a Jets fan like me, you have no idea who the Jets will pick, who they should pick (Marcus Mariota maybe?), who’ll be available when they pick, or if they’ll even keep the pick—as opposed to trading it. But if they get it wrong, you’ll be sure to let them know. (Thank you, boo-birds!)
For those arriving late to the party, the Jets have the sixth overall pick—possibly high enough to take a top-rated QB like Mariota. Sounds great, right? It should be, but past Jets history isn’t on our side.
To wit, let me point out that the last time they held a pick this high, they took Mark Sanchez (he of the infamous butt-fumble) fifth overall in 2009—they actually traded up for him, too. Sanchez never put up Pro Bowl numbers, though he looked the part for four years before moving on. (FYI, though Sanchez looked pretty decent with Chip Kelly in Philadelphia last year, I’m convinced Kelly could make anyone look good at quarterback—and then deal him for Sam Bradford.)
In 2008, the Jets held the sixth overall pick and whiffed even harder, taking DE Vernon Gholston, who made just five total starts in three years before being released. He was never heard from again. (As an aside, Gholston would be considered a bigger bust if he was more well-known in college, but he wasn’t. Why the Jets took him is still a mystery—and I haven’t gotten over it.)
Going further back to 2006, the Jets finally had success with a top-six pick, selecting D’Brickashaw Ferguson, who’s a nine-year starter at tackle and three-time Pro Bowl pick—all with the Jets. Amazingly, they also nabbed Nick Mangold 29th overall in the same, great draft. Mangold, a three-time All-Pro pick and six-time Pro-Bowler at center, would have been drafted higher than Ferguson if they could do a re-draft. Still, getting a Pro-Bowler with the fourth pick isn’t bad.
In fact, we would take it again this year.
But who do they need? The obvious answer is a good quarterback, though there are differing questions surrounding Mariota as well as Jameis Winston—the two obvious choices.
Mariota’s issues are whether his statistics at Oregon are more a result of the fast-paced offense he quarterbacked (ironically, Chip Kelly was his coach as a freshman with the Ducks) rather than the quarterback skills he may or may not really possess.
Two years ago, the Jets took Geno Smith (in the second round) after he put up some impressive, if not erratic, stats with West Virginia. He’s yet to get it going in the pros.
Sanchez put up some gaudy stats at USC, and though Kelly made him look decent last year with the Eagles, he didn’t look like that in New York, so he’s going to have to put up better numbers to be the starter this next season.
Meanwhile, Winston put up great numbers at Florida State, and he looks like he has a Pro Bowl arm that’s ready to lead an NFL team up and down the field. It’s off the field where the questions arise. First there was the rape allegations, then the theft accusations, and finally the paid-autographs scandal, which would have jeopardized his amateur eligibility.
It seems that the only sure pick would be if you could combine someone with Mariota’s clean past and Winston’s obvious talent.
Or have Chip Kelly coach them.