The New York Jets have had the 2018 NFL Draft in their sights for a few weeks now (probably longer than that if we’re being honest), and a great debate will soon be heating up. The team entered the 2017-18 regular season with a different frame of mind than most of the media projected. They came out to compete. Ultimately however, that wasn’t good enough as the Jets and their fans suffered through yet another season of mediocrity.
But now, with the Jets’ season just barely complete, things are beginning to look different. Some see Gang Green as a team on the rise despite back-to-back 5-11 seasons, and others are just hoping the team can escape the middling misfortunes the Jets have long been accustomed to.
April 26th, 2018 is a day most of JetsNation should have circled on their calendar. The Jets will be selecting with the 6th overall pick in this year’s draft for the third time in four seasons. And they’ve had success in this position before, with Leonard Williams being taken in 2015, and Jamal Adams in 2017.
But 2018 screams discrepancy.
The draft is perceived to be quarterback heavy, something that likely gives the Jets front office some exciting goosebumps. And with the current position they hold, they have an opportunity to grab one of five current studs:
- Sam Darnold, USC
- Josh Rosen, UCLA
- Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
- Josh Allen, Wyoming
- Lamar Jackson, Louisville
And while it is never truly out of the question until draft night arrives, the Jets realistically will only have a shot at Mayfield, Allen and Jackson, as Darnold and Rosen are projected to be selected within the top five.
With the 6th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the New York Jets select…
It’ll be a tough decision. The Jets absolutely need a franchise quarterback, and they are in prime position to possibly get that guy this year. With Jackson unlikely falling in the top ten, Mike Maccagnan will likely need to roll the dice on either Mayfield or Allen. But who would be the better selection?
Analysis: Baker Mayfield
A hot name around college football, Mayfield presents plenty of positives, as well as many negatives. The 2017 Heisman trophy-award winner skyrocketed his draft stock this year with a slew of valiant performances. Last year, he was merely a nobody, and looked to be a major risk for any NFL team with his undersized frame and countless off-the-field antics.
But now, here we are in 2018, and Mayfield is undoubtedly one of the more intriguing prospects.
Who is Baker?
His size, as mentioned, remains a skeptical attribute amongst NFL molds. At approximately 6-feet, Mayfield will try and be one of only a few who find success as a smaller quarterback. Teams tend to avoid shorter pass-makers simply because it is an impossible feat to develop a line-of-sight past towering offensive linemen. It will be something Mayfield either has or doesn’t, making him a risky selection off the bat.
But he has covered up his unfortunate genetics with his recent play and athleticism. Mayfield has proven he can not only throw a deep ball with accuracy, but he can also run and move swiftly around the pocket. The only question that arises from that sense of athleticism is if he is able to maintain the same play-style at the NFL level.
His most recent collegiate stats also glimmer to the eyes of scouts. With 4,627 yards, 43 touchdowns, and six interceptions during his senior year, it’s quite tough not to see the potential. However, many forget to take into account that collegiate stats, especially out of the spread offense, usually tend to be mere miragaes. The inflated statistics have, in most recent history, been used against general managers and their teams. They elevate player recognition, thus increasing draft value, which in most cases is overrated.
The Jets may fall for it though, and it is unknown as to whether it will bring back a return. Despite Mayfield’s below average height, his attributes as a quarterback are quite eye opening. He certainly possesses a strong arm, he can move and run, he maintains a sense for the pocket, and he can make nearly every throw. It makes sense that he may very well be the Jets’ knight in shining armor.
Analysis: Josh Allen
Mayfield may be the biggest question mark of the draft, but the same doesn’t go for Josh Allen. Some say he may have the best arm in all of college football, and that’s an attribute that has paid dividends when transitioning to the NFL.
Who is Allen?
If you take a second and think about the type of quarterbacks who have seen the most recent success in the NFL, who do you think of? Whichever names just popped into your head, they were likely big, tall and possessed a powerful arm. It’s hard to miss that sort of trend when analyzing NFL quarterback success.
Sure, not all guys of this stature reach such successful heights. There’s the obvious Jay Cutler and Ryan Tannehill, who have yet to get there despite their empowering genetics. Sometimes it’s unavoidable, and teams know that. But in most cases, the hefty big arm players tend to outshine the smaller guys whose best days usually don’t stem past their collegiate years.
— NFL Mocks (@NFLMocks) January 6, 2018
That’s what a lot of teams will see in Josh Allen, including the Jets. In many ways, he possesses some similarities to Carson Wentz, who was a mere no name before transitioning to the main stage. They both posted sub-par stats in their senior years while playing against Divison I rivals. However, Wentz’s physical attributes propelled him to be able to perform at the highest level.
Allen will come into the NFL at a solid 6-foot-5, 233 pounds. He’s proven not only that he can make throws both deep and short, but that he can move around the pocket with ease. Like Mayfield, Allen is able to throw on the run in tight situations, and his pocket awareness is nearly unmatched.
So…he’s perfect for the Jets?
Not so fast. Despite Allen being gifted a number of great attributes, it’s not to say that he doesn’t possess and negative qualities.
The most glaring issue with Allen’s game is his accuracy. He finished his senior year with a 56.3 completion percentage, which isn’t all too wonderful. His career completion percentage is right around the same at 56.2, which is a telling statistic when coming into the NFL.
And in the midst of all of that, Allen’s accuracy issues tend to stem more from his wildly incompetent decision making from time to time. There’s been instances of him making some very poor throws both deep and short. It was an issue that remained consistent throughout the year for Allen and Wymoing, and in a way he’s lucky his athleticism overshadowed that.
Unfortunately for him though, if he cannot weld together that necessary attribute, his success in the NFL could be capped. While most of the successful, big and strong-armed quarterbacks you thought of earlier were blessed with outstanding pass-making qualities, they also possess precise accuracy and decision-making skills. Maybe Mayfield isn’t the biggest question mark after all?
J-E-T-S: Just End The Suffering
While it isn’t guaranteed one of these quarterbacks fall into the hands of Maccagnan and the Jets, it certainly seems more than likely. With a number of jobs on the line, and a team looking to escape a seven-year playoff drought, the Jets just need to end the suffering.
Mayfield or Allen may or may not be the answer. The team and it’s fan won’t know that for quite some time. All they know is that they need someone to lead and turn their misfortunes around. April 26th, 2018 could be that day. We’ll just have to wait and see.