If the New York Jets truly decide to draft a quarterback with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, they’re better off going with Deshaun Watson over anyone else.
Let’s face the facts fans of the New York Jets, our team is at a crossroads. With the No. 6 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, a big decision must be made. Bottom line, this team will need a transformative player, someone who will contribute and help immediately. But with so many needs, the question becomes should the Jets select a stud defensive player, or continue to ignore offensive players?
Defense, or offense? It’s an age-old question NFL teams this time of year face. And we’ve observed enough recent drafts to know that current Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan adheres to the “best player available” mantra. We also know the Jets love picking defensive players in the first round, probably based on past needs. But Maccagnan has only one pick in the first round so whether it’s a “need” or “best player available” variety, still, he must get it right.
I’m not going to speculate as to who Maccagnan ends up picking. That’s just impossible, but I will go on the record here by stating that if he does decide to go with a quarterback, then Clemson quarterback—and college football national champion—Deshaun Watson is the right pick.
The other quarterbacks considered first round worthy (Mitchell Trubisky, DeShone Kizer, Patrick Mahomes) are all underclassmen and the Jets should skip past them despite all of the potentials. To be clear, the NFL is not the place to develop quarterbacks.
Ideally, rookie quarterbacks should be able to start from day one. Have there been some exceptions? Yes, underclassman quarterbacks such as Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Cam Newton, and Andrew Luck have undoubtedly achieved success in NFL. One (Flacco) has a Super Bowl ring, while the other two (Ryan and Newton) have each appeared in one Super Bowl, and then Luck has come close a few times. But make no mistake about it, these are superior players. Yet this level of success is typically hard to come by and certainly not the norm.
Do the names Vince Young, Matt Leinart, JaMarcus Russell, and Brady Quinn ring a bell? Yep, they were all underclassman. And the jury is still out on last year’s underclassman quarterbacks picked in the first round; Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, and Paxton Lynch. I should also point out that we cannot assume seniors out of college are successful quarterbacks either. Regardless, the point is that there are too many horror stories and unknowns involving underclassmen quarterbacks and put simply, the Jets have to get this pick right. They cannot afford to pick a quarterback under the assumption the player has a few years to develop.
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Unfortunately, the current Jets roster has too many quarterbacks of this type. And from what the scouts have said about Trubisky, Kizer, and Mahomes, it could take years for them to develop (if they develop at all). Quite frankly the Jets fan base is tired of hearing the words “develop” and “quarterback” in the same sentence.
Granted there are some studs on defense for the Jets to pick, Malik Hooker from Ohio State, Jamal Adams (who will likely not even make it to the sixth pick since he’s that good), and Marshon Lattimore (another Buckeye) all certainly merit top 10 pick consideration.
Some have even speculated that the Jets could go for Alabama’s stud tight end, O.J. Howard, or even a stud running back in Leonard Fournette, either of who would be excellent picks for the Jets. But if the Jets want to go the quarterback route, they must take Watson and avoid the other underclassmen quarterbacks.
Watson in my estimation could start next season as the Jets quarterback. Although there would certainly be growing pains with starting a rookie quarterback, still, I’ll take my chances with Watson.
Why? With three years of college football under his belt, Watson’s experience compared to the others is incalculable. And let’s not underestimate the fact he’s a national champion. That’s the kind of pedigree the Jets franchise desperately needs.
And finally, the one “X’ factor that Watson has that the other quarterbacks do not, would be the buzz he brings to the stadium, which the Jets no doubt desperately need. At the moment the Jets lack any star power, which is a problem for any professional sports franchise, particularly ones trying to sell personal seat licenses year after year. Watson would immediately become the face of the Jets franchise, and potentially for years to come.
Most importantly, though, Watson offers the Jets a quick and viable solution to the quarterback quandary. Again, it is quite likely that he would have the advantage over the other quarterbacks currently on the roster and potentially start right away for the Jets. So, if the Jets do end up wanting to draft yet another quarterback, let’s hope it’s Deshaun Watson.