The New York Jets are still searching for a franchise quarterback. Here are the tales of three future potential quarterbacks that might call the city that never sleeps their new home as early as 2018.
New York Jets vs. New York Giants, even in preseason, has been a pro football show stopper in the city that never sleeps since the first encounter in 1969. And this Saturday’s battle has the added luster of Jets’ quarterback decider: Josh McCown vs. Christian Hackenberg vs. Bryce Petty. Not a bell-ringer.
But this year, Todd Bowles having to choose is sad. Happily, there is a monumental three-way quarterback battle about to get underway that will mean more to the Jets – and provide fans with games that matter.
The week prior to the launch of the NFL season, USC’s Sam Darnold vs. UCLA’s Josh Rosen vs. Wyoming’s Josh Allen emerges for Jets’ scouts and fans. Any could turn out to the highly-touted college quarterbacks that the Jets covet and select in the first-round of the 2018 NFL Draft next April.
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On Saturday, September 2, USC Redshirt Sophomore Darnold and the Trojans host the Western Michigan Broncos at the LA Memorial Coliseum. It will be televised on the Pac-12 Network at 4:15 EDT.
That same day, Wyoming Junior Allen travels to Iowa City to face the Iowa Hawkeyes. It’s on the Big 10 Network at 12 Noon EDT.
The next day, Sunday, September 3, instead of NFL football, we can watch UCLA Junior Rosen in a showdown with Texas A&M from the Rose Bowl. It’s a nationwide Fox telecast (7:30 PM EDT).
What’s the preseason consensus about these three?
One of the common benefits of all three is their operation of a pro-style offense. There won’t be a time-consuming, difficult learning transition from shotgun to ducking under center for any of them.Allen might be the best of the three based on an analysis by NFL.com analyst and former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah. Here are their official scouting profiles by Jeremiah for NFL.com:
It sounds as if of the three, Allen is the best physical specimen, Darnold is the top overall thrower (long and short) and Rosen has a superior throwing motion. But, each has negatives:
• Rosen missed most of 2016 due to an injury, so he has less experience than Allen and has the most to learn about being the complete quarterback.• Darnold is only a sophomore and didn’t start for USC at the start of 2016, thus he also has to experience all situations – and thrive in all situations. Plus he may not leave school after this year.• Allen’s competition may be less imposing, which will raise larger questions about his readiness to take on NFL defenses.
Then there is the reality of what is incredibly difficult to assess at the college level. How well and quickly can each one pick up an offense? How well do they take a hit, which no one will see until they turn pro; well, maybe in a postseason all-star game against the top graduating talent. What kind of leadership skills do they possess and how comfortable are they in taking charge? And then there is the bugaboo that buries most quarterbacks: how well do they read defenses – and not just any defense, but the complex ones that confuse the most-seasoned veterans.
On many of these questions, you either have it between the ears, or you don’t.
Whenever the Jets have needed a quarterback, dating back to the pre-Namath era, I’ve made it a point to watch potential college quarterback picks. There won’t be any shortage of opportunities for Jets’ fans this fall to watch, evaluate and ponder Darnold, Green or Allen in a kelly green pro uniform next year.
There is a full fall slate of televised games featuring the three (including Darnold vs. Rosen on Saturday, Nov. 18). So far, four USC games, three featuring UCLA and six Wyoming games are scheduled to be shown nationally, predominantly on cable: NBC, ABC, Fox, ESPN, FS1, CBSSN, and Pac-12. I’d bet on even more telecasts, depending on these quarterbacks’ performances.
So, get comfortable, start doing your own personal evaluations, then say a prayer that the one you like best declares that he’s going pro.
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