There has been a lot of talk about the New York Jets' potential draft prospects at pick number six. However, it appears general manager Mike MacCagnan would prefer to trade down from the number six spot to garner more picks. That may create complications since there are some interesting quarterback prospects that will be available early in the first round.
It has been a while since the New York Jets have had a sustainable quarterback behind center. Mark Sanchez fit the bill for a brief period during his tenure with the team from 2009-2012. He had success throwing to a wide variety of targets including Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards, and Plaxico Burress. With his arsenal of weapons, Sanchez led the team to two straight AFC Championship appearances against the Colts in 2010 and the Steelers in 2011. Three years later, Sanchez, who was once considered the Jets franchise quarterback, was released by the team due to his monumental cap charge of $13.1 million dollars.
Since Sanchez’s departure the Jets have gone through a multitude of quarterbacks including journeymen Ryan Fitzpatrick, Michael Vick, Geno Smith and Bryce Petty. Vick had a short stay in Florham Park, playing in nine games, starting three, with the Jets during the 2014 season. Last season, three of the four quarterbacks on the roster, Smith, Fitzpatrick, and Petty, saw playing time, but couldn't make the team competitive. Smith saw action in two games during the regular season but tore his ACL while getting sacked by Baltmore Ravens linebacker Matt Judon. Petty, on the other hand, posted inconspicuous numbers throughout the season, including a 56.4 completion rate, three touchdowns, and seven picks. Christian Hackenberg, the latest addition to the Jets quarterbacking depth, failed to see anytime on the field as he was inactive from week to week. Although Fitzpatrick was the most successful quarterback on the team, the Jets finished the 2016 with a 5-11 record. Further, none of the quarterbacks on the current roster appears to be the franchise’s answer in the long term.
This year’s draft has many potential interesting choices with potential upside at quarterback including North Carolina’s Mitchel Trubisky, Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, and Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes. All four quarterbacks made the trip to Florham Park to visit with the team in early April, but that is no guarantee that the Jets will select one of them with the sixth pick.
Even though a quarterback seems intriguing, the Jets have glaring holes all over their roster especially in their offensive line, secondary, and tight end positions. The Jets also need to find a way to replace Brandon Marshall, a big target on the outside, who signed a two-year $11 million-dollar contract with the New York Giants this offseason. Further, during the offseason the Jets brought in veteran quarterback Josh McCown, but he is a longshot to deliver the Jets back to the playoffs.
In my opinion, Watson should be chosen sixth overall by the Jets and be the first quarterback off the board in 2017 draft. He holds a lot of value, he’s a high character player who plays for his teammates, and he would fulfill a major need for the Jets in the long term. Watson had a magnificent National Championship game against an undefeated Alabama team where he went 36/56 passing for 420 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions. The National Championship game could be a prelude of what’s to come in the NFL from Watson. He has experience playing on the biggest stage in all of college sports, plus he has proven that he can make plays during crunch time. Deshaun Watson has the eye of the tiger and he can help the Jets soar to new heights in their upcoming season.