Jets do not have to take a quarterback in 2018 NFL Draft

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 02: Running back Saquon Barkley
PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 02: Running back Saquon Barkley /

The New York Jets aren’t tanking to land one of the prized quarterbacks in the 2018 NFL Draft. They are a team that’s building and has options.

As Ethan Greenberg of wrote, the New York Jets have said they will build through the NFL Draft. Owner Woody Johnson told Greenberg that it’s all about building the Jets up again through the draft.

Even though the Jets want to “build through the draft,” the Green Bay Packers have proven that you can’t completely rely on building solely through the yearly event. So, the Jets have to hedge their bets. They’ve done that successfully.

If Christian Hackenberg plays well enough to warrant starting in 2018, they will only need to find a veteran backup for injury replacement. Plan B: He doesn’t, and they use some of their war chest of $90M+ in 2018 cap space to land Kirk Cousins. Plan C: Use their expected top pick on a quarterback.

I don’t think they will have a top-five pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, but if they do, they don’t have to settle for living with the mistakes of a young quarterback. Who would they draft in place of one of the young up and comers, if either Plan A or B comes to fruition? The answer to that question is simple, running back Saquon Barkley.

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In each of his two seasons at Penn State, Barkley has produced 1,000-yard rushing seasons. Last season, he finished 2016 with nearly 1,900 yards from scrimmage and 22 touchdowns. He would be an instant force in the backfield for the Jets.

An addition like Barkley to the backfield would immediately pay dividends. The presence of Barkley would open things up for the young receivers, by providing a weapon for the Jets on all three downs.

Before penciling in one of the top three quarterback prospects, let’s see how 2017 plays out. The 2018 NFL Draft could look a whole lot different than most people expect.