New York Jets: The Marcus Mariota Catch-22


Dec 28, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback

Geno Smith

(7) at the line of scrimmage against the Miami Dolphins during the second half at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

With about 10 weeks to go before the Draft (which is an eternity in the Draft process) the “in” thing to do for the so-called “experts” is mock Oregon QB Marcus Mariota to the Jets with the number six pick. Mel Kiper, Todd McShay, among others, have done it and I’m sure after all the interviews and measurements at the Combine next week there will be more buzz linking him to the Jets. Nevermind that the Jets have a new General Manager, Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator so no one knows what direction they are going in.

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The decision of whether or not to draft Mariota, if he’s available, is so much more complex than “if he’s there then take him”. Drafting Mariota means that you have 100% given up on Geno Smith, who was a project when they drafted him two years ago, before he has a chance to even compete for the job in his 3rd year. It also means that you are going to repeat the same mistake of not developing your quarterback and surrounding him with talent by drafting another quarterback with your top-10 pick and a quarterback in Mariota that is no sure-fire franchise quarterback at that.

There are plenty of people, our own Alan Schechter included, that believe that Mariota’s adjustment to the pro-style is going to take time and that he is a project. You don’t take projects with top-10 picks. You cannot miss on a top-10 pick or it will set your franchise back for years.

So the Jets desperately need a franchise quarterback but the two at the top of the draft, Mariota and Jameis Winston, are crapshoots at best. So, what do you do? In my opinion you go elsewhere with the top-10 pick, be it an edge rusher like Dante Fowler or Randy Gregory, a wide receiver like Amari Cooper or a lineman like La’el Collins and bring in a free agent like Ryan Fitzpatrick or Ryan Mallett to compete with Geno Smith.  If Smith can’t get it done then you give up on him after year three and aggressively pursue a QB in the 2016 Draft.

But, if Mariota turns into a franchise quarterback and they aren’t in position to draft one next year then the Jets are in a bad situation. No one said running a football team was easy. These are the decisions that make you a hero or unemployed.

Your move Mike Maccagnan.

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