Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield has officially been named the winner of the 2017 Heisman Award. His great season has propelled Oklahoma to an undefeated season. It has also given his team the number two seed in the College Football Playoff.
The future looks bright for the quarterback who has finished in the top three in Heisman voting three times. Mayfield is expected to enter the 2018 NFL Draft, where he will be submerged in a handful of talent, and likely won’t be the first quarterback off the board. That’s good news for the New York Jets, who have been searching for a franchise quarterback for years on end. It is likely that they’ll be drafting somewhere in the top ten, and Mayfield should be high on their list.
Why It Makes Sense
Mayfield has been turning heads all year with his versatility on the field. His ability to throw the deep ball combined with his out-of-the-pocket play are only some of the reasons. He’s also been manageable in the clutch, and is a proven winner and leader.
That being said, he is exactly what the Jets have been searching for. A man with a voice who can back it all up with his game. While he remains cool and collect while leading Oklahoma to a slew of victories, his mind remains in the game, and winning seems to be his number one focus.
When looking at his play-style, it is exactly what the Jets are lacking. Emerging receivers Robby Anderson, Jermaine Kearse and currently injured Quincy Enunwa could feed off of that versatility. We’ve already seen flashes of it this season with Josh McCown at the helm. Mayfield has the arm to throw the the ball deep to speedster Anderson, and could sling bullets to the bigger targets in Enunwa, Kearse, and even Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
— The Jet Press (@TheJetPress) December 4, 2017
A Happy Marriage
While Mayfield’s athletic ability could add a powerful dynamic to the Jets’ offense, it would also pay dividends to the defense and coaching staff.
The Jets have remained a defensive-minded franchise for quite a while, attempting to build and develop a secondary similar to Seattle’s “Legion of Boom.” But the offense hasn’t received the same attention. We’ve seen with the unprecedented success of Josh McCown, that the defense has had room to grow. They’ve been fortunate to have been put in a handful of postive situations, allowing them to figure the game out as a young unit.
Mayfield could extend that development. While he may not come out of the gates firing, he’ll bring with him a confidence that could match that of the defense. It would allow the Jets to become threatening on both sides of the ball, similar to what Russell Wilson has provided to Seattle.
When you realize you can throw deep to Robby Anderson and Quincy Enunwa next year… pic.twitter.com/WXlqjJhAD1
— Joe Caporoso (@JCaporoso) December 2, 2017
The Jets Can Offer the Best Lecture
Every quarterback taken in the upcoming draft is going to need some development. It was the case for Carson Wentz, Jared Goff, Marcus Mariota and even Andrew Luck. The right situation can make development an easy process, and the Jets can offer that to Mayfield.
Development comes in many forms. First off, the Jets have the offensive pieces for Mayfield to succeed. He would have an abundance of targets to throw to, and his versality should open up the run game more than ever.
There would also be a higher chance that the Jets resign McCown, who presents many similarities to the Heisman winner. McCown’s mentoring could push Mayfield and would be crucial to his development. In the end it could pay dividends down the road for this franchise.
Lastly, the Jets’ coaching staff has been showed signs of strictness when it comes to off-the-field issues. Mayfield has dealt with that in college, and many NFL teams will be skeptical of it being a distraction. The Jets can handle it though, and have the pieces in place to put him on the right track. That may be the most important.
Recently, Jets’ head coach Todd Bowles has been the face of applying discipline. Most recently to second year linebacker Darron Lee and aging defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson. Both players have shown the potential to be great, and while Todd Bowles understands that, it is never an excuse when it comes to off-the-field issues. His focus has remained the same: Force them to understand the focus that is needed to keep a job. This type of mentality would mix well with Mayfield. It would allow him to unleash his potential for a team that desperately needs it.
Take the Risk
When it comes to draft day, the Jets will need to tighten up and take a risk. General Manager Mike Maccagnan has played it safe in his first few years in the front office, but no more. It is obvious what this team needs, and now it is time to pull the trigger.
Mayfield will be a huge risk, simply because nothing is ever guaranteed. He could flop. We’ve seen it happen before. But the Jets need to gamble on his potential, or they could remain in stagnancy for years to come. It’s all or nothing when it comes to selecting a quarterback (cough, cough…Hackenberg), but making a move like this could point this franchise in the right direction.