The New York Jets are in a familiar place: they hold the sixth overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft and could certainly use a quarterback.
What makes 2018 different is there are at least five quarterback prospects that have all been mocked in the top 10 at some point since the exciting conclusion of the college football season.
Could the Jets take one of the potential franchise-changers? Ahead of the Senior Bowl, various experts projected which young star would don the green and white next season.
NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah — Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
If Rosen, whom many pundits project as the best quarterback prospect, falls to No. 6, Mike Maccagnan should be thrilled. He has a big arm, a big-game mentality and is a playmaker at the game’s most important position. In Jeremiah’s mock, only USC’s Sam Darnold is off the board at the quarterback position, so Maccagnan had his choice of passer at No. 6.
Here’s what Jeremiah said about Rosen.
“Rosen is ready to start right now and he would give the Jets a key building block on the offensive side of the ball.”
USA Today’s Luke Easterling – Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
Finally, someone projects Mayfield to New York. Here’s what we know about the Heisman winner: he’s got a very good arm and is accurate. He’s a bit undersized for the “ideal” quarterback prospect (whatever that means), but has the mobility to make plays outside of the pocket. He’s one of the most exciting quarterback prospects in years, but also comes with baggage. Remember when he grabbed his crotch and yelled an expletive at the Kansas bench during a game? Or when he was charged with public intoxication, disorderly conduct, fleeing and resisting arrest?
All of these things are true, but Mayfield is still a top-tier player in the draft. Here’s what Easterling says about the pick.
“No team needs a franchise quarterback as badly as the Jets, but this year’s deep class should give them a chance to find one here. What Mayfield lacks in ideal size, he makes up for in just about every other area of his game.”
Easterling’s four-round mock also has the Jets taking USC running back Ronald Jones II, Mississippi State offensive lineman Martinas Rankin, Notre Dame wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown, and Georgia edge rusher Lorenzo Carter.
WalterFootball – Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
The one quarterback prospect more polarizing than Mayfield: Josh Allen. He’s had some horrific games (64 passing yards on 24 attempts in a loss to Oregon) but has made some jaw-dropping throws. He didn’t have much (if any) help around him at Wyoming and has a cannon of an arm. His accuracy is questionable-at-best and his gunslinger mentality could hold him back — or propel him to stardom.
Here’s what WalterFootball said about the Allen selection.
“Josh Allen has to really work on his accuracy, mechanics and field vision, but he has top-five overall physical talent, and he has the type of size and arm strength that general manager Mike Maccagnan likes out of his quarterbacks.”
It’s worth noting that in this mock, Mayfield was still on the board.
CBS Sports’ R.J. White – Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
Defense again? According to White, the Jets will take a defensive player in the first round for the ninth consecutive year. Jackson, who led the NCAA in interceptions, has rose on draft boards throughout the season after dominating a talented Big Ten conference. He’s a dynamic playmaker at the defensive back position — he had two pick sixes against Wisconsin this year — and has the size to be a solid NFL corner.
It is worth noting, however, that there are a few other defensive backs (Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick, Ohio State’s Denzel Ward) that could go at this spot as well.
Here’s what White said about the pick:
“Logic dictates that the Jets should take a quarterback here, but this is a franchise that loves spending first-round picks on defensive players… I think the best-case scenario for this front office is for Fitzpatrick to drop to No. 6, but if he doesn’t, Jackson makes for a nice consolation prize after leading the nation in interceptions this past season.”