New York Jets: Drafting QB in first round would set team back

By Michael Pallas
Jan 10, 2015; Frisco, TX, USA; North Dakota State Bison quarterback Carson Wentz (11) throws a pass during pre game warmups against the Illinois State Redbirds at Pizza Hut Park. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 10, 2015; Frisco, TX, USA; North Dakota State Bison quarterback Carson Wentz (11) throws a pass during pre game warmups against the Illinois State Redbirds at Pizza Hut Park. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

The New York Jets absolutely should stay away from the idea of drafting a quarterback, especially if they move up in the 2016 NFL Draft.  It will be an expensive move for them to do so and isn’t an immediate need on the team.

Jared Goff recently visited the Jets, and as ESPN reported, this is leading people to speculate that they could potentially move up.  I think this is just the Jets doing their due diligence, just in case they feel like they can get him in a deal that would not have them giving up their No. 20 first-round pick.  Even in that scenario, it would be a mistake.

Related Story: New York Jets should target Jared Goff in 2016 NFL Draft

Normally, the Jets should be all for drafting a quarterback as they haven’t had a franchise player at the position in a very long time, but let’s examine some numbers:

Those were the combined number of Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler in both the regular season and the NFL Playoffs.  The numbers are underwhelming, and the Denver Broncos won Super Bowl 50.

Feb 7, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after beating the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 at Levi

It’s also not the first time that a defense carried a team to a Super Bowl championship in this pass-happy-era NFL.  In 2013, we can’t say the numbers of Russell Wilson were eye-popping either.  When you combine his postseason and regular season numbers they look like this:

Those numbers aren’t bad, but they would be not be considered great either.  So that means that two of the last four seasons have had a defense carry the team with adequate or sub-standard quarterback play.

Another reason they shouldn’t draft a quarterback is that Geno Smith is reliable and cheap enough to have him start for one more season, especially with the talent around him.  They could catch lightning in a bottle if Ryan Fitzpatrick doesn’t come to his senses and sign a reasonable deal.

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His supporting cast is much better than it was in his first two seasons, and he did go 8-8 as a rookie.  While he did fall into a funk in his second season, there could be three key reasons to his second-year struggles:

  1. “Sophomore slump”
  2. Eric Decker isn’t a No. 1 receiving option, and he was the Jets’ top receiver
  3. The league caught up to him with a year of tape, and he struggled to adjust.  (Which is typical for a quarterback considered to be a project going into the draft.)

Let’s not forget that Fitzpatrick is a journeyman quarterback coming off the best season of his career.  A career in which he had these numbers prior to this past season:

Also, this season, his four worst performances (all losses) were multiple interception games in which the team lost by one possession.

It was just a season of feasting on bad opponents with a good supporting cast for Fitzpatrick.

According to the SB Nation site Blogging the Boys, the Jets are facing teams whose combined record in 2015 was 136-120 (.531), and they, along with the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins, are the only teams to face 10 teams whose records were .500+ in 2015.  It would be much better for the team to have a veteran with real NFL game experience than a rookie with none or even Bryce Petty for that matter.

They also have holes to fill on the offensive line, pass rush and tight end spots.  So, taking a quarterback early would severely hamper those efforts, and there are quarterbacks later who can be good in the NFL with a season or two as a backup.

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Now the Jets must make their next prudent move by not drafting a quarterback in the first round, even if they make a trade involving Muhammad Wilkerson that allows them to keep the No. 20 pick and move up for a higher pick to address other areas of need.  The Jets at this point in time need to draft some upgrades for their overall pass rush, offensive line and their defensive secondary.