2018 NFL Draft: New York Jets

03/26/2018
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The New York Jets recently traded up to the third overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. In doing so, they sent the 6th pick, 37th pick, and 49th pick to the Indianapolis Colts. Also attached to this deal was a second round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

When teams outside of the top 5, or even the top 10, of the NFL Draft trade into the top 5, they’re normally aiming for a quarterback. With the Jets, they recently signed both Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater to one-year deals, a clear indication that they have their ‘bridge’ quarterback(s) for the 2018 season. But what falls behind them? Bad quarterback play from Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg. Their performances over their tenure with the Jets have been enough for the Jets to decide that they’re not the future of the franchise.

Now with the third overall pick, it’s clear the Jets should be aiming for a quarterback. If they didn’t, it would shock just about everyone. What non-quarterbacks would they consider? Bradley Chubb, Saquon Barkley and Quenton Nelson come to mind. Again, though, it’s got to be a quarterback. So let’s take a look at which quarterbacks the Jets could be considering with the third overall pick.

Josh Rosen, QB from UCLA

Now that the New York Giants have traded away Jason Pierre-Paul, they’ve created an obvious need at defensive end. Bradley Chubb to the Giants could be a “smoke-screen”, but with this edge rusher class being weaker than normal, Chubb makes a ton of sense. Passing on a player like Rosen could come back and haunt the Giants, especially if the New York Jets draft him.

Out of all the quarterbacks, Rosen is the most pro-ready. Does he have to play from day one? No, he doesn’t. For example, Deshaun Watson was my top quarterback last year and was the most pro-ready, but he sat behind Tom Savage initially. There should be no issues with Rosen sitting behind Josh McCown and/or Teddy Bridgewater.

The Jets have done a great job of establishing their bridge quarterback situation. Bringing back McCown, who was their best quarterback last year, will help with teaching a young player like Rosen. Bridgewater, meanwhile, was very good for the Vikings before a torn ACL sent him to the bench and on a long road to recovery. That’s neither here nor there, because the Jets should be looking to get their next franchise quarterback. Rosen possesses the traits to become one. He’s fantastic with his pre-snap reads and has experience running a pro-style offense.

https://streamable.com/n1c79

Whether they ran “10” personnel out of shotgun or “21” personnel out of an offset I-formation (see above), Rosen looked comfortable. He’s got experience in a pro-style offense (see Jim Mora – his UCLA head coach) and should transition just fine to the NFL. He doesn’t have a cannon for an arm like Josh Allen, but he’s far more accurate and will survive with his deep ball. Ball placement is an area in which he needs to improve. At times, he’ll under-throw a pass, which forces the receiver to backtrack on the ball. But with time, that can be fixed. Remember, I said he’s pro-ready, not perfect.

His frame looks the part of an NFL quarterback, and his pocket progression is good. Scanning the field and anticipation in the pocket are another two attributes he possesses. Many will question and have questioned how healthy he can be at the next level. He’s missed time due to concussion issues and a shoulder injury in the past, which will make plenty of people wary about what kind of longevity he can achieve. If he’s on the board at pick number three, though, there’s no way the Jets can pass on a player of his skill-set.

Josh Allen, QB from Wyoming

It’s time for everyone’s favorite quarterback in this class. Josh Allen is either “boom” or “bust”, and that’s the only way to put it. He’s far from pro-ready, even with his cannon of an arm. It’s very impressive to see him launch a ball 75-yards, but at the end of the day, his sporadic ball placement makes his future look spotty.

Cleaning up his lower body mechanics and where he throws a pass will determine how long Allen plays in this league. Can he be very good? Absolutely. There are two things you can’t teach with quarterbacks: size and arm strength. Most quarterbacks aren’t getting taller when they enter the league and it’s rare to see their arms get any stronger than they already are. However, you can teach, fix, and tweak mechanics. By doing so, that should (theoretically) fix ball placement and help with accuracy issues. That’s the biggest flaw in Josh Allen’s game.

Josh Allen is that player who measures similarly to Carson Wentz, but from a talent perspective, Wentz was and is far more talented.

The above graphs are from mockdraftable.com, and the top graph is what Josh Allen did at the Scouting Combine. The graph below that is what Carson Wentz did at the combine.

As for Josh Allen, he progresses pretty well in the pocket. But once the ball is released from his hand, there’s no telling where it’s going and how hard he’s going to throw it. Most of his passes have a ton of velocity behind them, but for the most part, he either leads receivers too far or just misses them completely. There are times he throws off of his back foot or off-balance, and it’s a big part of why he misses so many passes.

If the Jets were to draft Allen, it would be somewhat of a surprise, especially if they were passing on Josh Rosen. They’d certainly need to sit Allen for the entire year. Don’t let him touch the field, unless it’s at practice or during warm-ups. The upside is there with Allen, but the way he reads the field and where he throws the football greatly lowers his standing on my board. He’s certainly an option for the Jets, but he won’t provide immediate results . . . at least not positive ones.

https://streamable.com/sl7qs

Baker Mayfield, QB from Oklahoma

If I see another Johnny Manziel comparison to Baker Mayfield, I’m going to vomit. They’re far from each other on the field and you can really only compare their heights. Even then, you’re wrong. Mayfield is the taller of the two and a far superior player.

Despite playing as an “undersized” quarterback by the standards of the NFL, Mayfield is far from standard. He plays with a boulder on his shoulder, and he’d thrive in the New York market; cue the “Broadway Baker” nickname. If the Jets were to draft him, they could definitely let him sit for a year. It gives him time to get comfortable, even if he’s a player that is comfortable with being uncomfortable. What does that mean? He makes the most out of nothing.

Above, you’ll see the pocket collapse in front of Baker. He escapes the pocket, extends the play, and makes a difficult throw on the run. Running to your left and throwing on the run with your right hand is a very difficult throw.

Before you bash me for being a “box-score” scout and about Baker Mayfield for being in a pass-first offense, let me put something in perspective for you. Throughout Baker’s career, he averaged 374.25 passing attempts per year. With 131 touchdowns to 30 interceptions on his 1497 career passing attempts, that gives him a touchdown for every 11.42 pass attempts and an interception for every 49.9 pass attempts. Clearly, ball security is a trait he possesses.

Where does this compare to the potential first overall pick, Sam Darnold?

Just through his two years at USC, Darnold averaged 423 pass attempts per season. If he were to stay for two more years, he would have finished with 1,692 passing attempts (if he were to hit the average). With his 57 career touchdowns and 22 career interceptions, he threw a touchdown for 14.84 pass attempts and an interception for every 38.45 pass attempts.

I’m not going to bash Sam Darnold because those numbers are actually pretty good, but Baker Mayfield was the better quarterback in college. What makes Baker so good?

Like every quarterback, he takes risks, but they’re calculated risks. For example, he led the country (before the bowl games) in adjusted completion percentage. That is a statistic that is for passes that were actually aimed at and delivered to a receiver. In that category, Baker led the way.

And furthering the point of how good he is at passing deep, he led the way for every quarterback in the country with deep passes of 20-yards or more. (Both charts are pulled from Pro Football Focus)

Many will critique Baker Mayfield for his actions on and off the field, but he’s natural born leader. I saw him firsthand in Mobile at the Senior Bowl, and he was the first player on every good play to congratulate his teammates. He was talking them through bad plays. He loves football and, again, is a natural born leader.

His arm strength is very good, and he’s the most accurate quarterback in this class. Add in his athletic ability, anticipation and pocket mobility, and he could easily be the top quarterback in this class. He’s my second-ranked quarterback, but you should have no issue with him being on your team. There’s no guarantee that he would have been available at the sixth overall pick, because the Denver Broncos got an up-close look at both Allen and Mayfield at the Senior Bowl.

By moving in front of the Broncos, the Jets have ensured that they’re going to get one of their quarterbacks. If it’s Mayfield, you should feel confident, Gang Green; you get a player who wants to win and wants to leave a legacy. No matter who they take with the third-overall pick, one thing is certain: the Jets are taking a quarterback.

National Scout for Cover 1. Host of Cover 1 | The NFL Draft Podcast. NFL Draft Enthusiast. X's and O's. Heard on ESPN Radio, FOX Sports Radio and CBS Sports Radio.

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