The NY Jets are essentially guaranteed a top-two pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
The NY Jets have just five games remaining in what has been an utter disaster of a 2020 season. But as the old saying goes, it’s always darkest before the dawn.
A new era is coming for the Jets’ organization. An era that will be captained by a new head coach, a new quarterback, and a brand new roster — primarily shaped by general manager Joe Douglas.
But before the team officially kicks off said new era, they must bring their previous one to a close. And they must do so while setting themselves up for future success.
The Jets haven’t been focused on the playoffs since around about Week 2. Instead, they’ve mostly played out this season without a central goal of success. The attention hasn’t been on a race for a playoff spot — it’s been about the race for the No. 1 overall pick.
As much as a portion of the fanbase won’t want to admit it, the fate of the Jets’ future will be relying on these five games. The outcome of this coming five-game stretch could determine how the next 10-15+ years go for Gang Green.
Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields. That, in essence, is what it comes down to. Will the Jets land the first or second overall pick?
Fortunately for them, any other scenario seems almost completely impossible at this point. For the Jets to fall out of the top-two selections, they will not only have to finish the season with a 3-2 record, but the Dallas Cowboys will have to lose out.
The NY Jets aren’t winning three of their final five games
Anyone who has watched more than three minutes of Jets football this year can tell you they’re not winning three of their final five games — especially with all but one of their opponents possessing a winning record.
Recent projections have the odds of the Jets securing either the first or second overall pick at around 98 percent. But for all intents and purposes, it might as well be 100 percent.
But what about the team’s odds of landing that coveted first overall pick? After all, Justin Fields would be one heck of a consolation prize, but he’s not Trevor Lawrence. No one is.
ESPN’s Football Power Index currently gives the Jets a 68.7 percent chance of finishing with the worst record in the NFL and punching their ticket to Lawrence Land.
Those are some pretty good odds — odds that will only increase by the week if the Jets continue their losing ways. Conversely, if the Jacksonville Jaguars manage to win another game down the stretch, the Jets could theoretically clinch the top pick before Week 17.
That’s crucial given that their Week 17 opponents, the New England Patriots, needed a last-second 51-yard field goal to beat the Jets back in Week 9. The Jets don’t want to go into that game needing a loss.
All of this is to say that while the Jets certainly haven’t locked up Lawrence yet, they’re pretty much guaranteed to have one of the top two picks.
Either Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields will be the Jets’ quarterback next year. Both players will be compared to each other throughout their entire careers. The same goes for the two franchises that draft them.
The Jets will be one of those two teams. The Jaguars will likely be the other. But the direction that history takes will be determined over the course of the next five weeks.
Never say that the Jets don’t play meaningful football in December.