The consensus number one overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft is Sam Darnold of the University of Southern California. With names and expected talents like Darnold, Josh Rosen, and Josh Allen in the 2018 draft class, many may think it would be nuts to avoid them at all cost, but that’s what the Jets should do.
New York Jets Should Not Target Quarterback in 2018 NFL Draft
If the Jets end up with a top-three pick, as most are expecting, they should do everything in their power to move down, accumulate picks and draft at positions other than quarterback. The Jets have already shown a propensity to accumulate picks by moving down, and that might be a good strategy in 2018.
Running Back Target in 2018 NFL Draft
But there could be reason the Jets may not want to move out of the top-ten, though. Based on last year’s performance, barring injury, Saquon Barkley may not fall out of the top-ten. After a season that saw him go for nearly 1,900 yards from scrimmage and 22 touchdowns, Barkley is poised to land in the top-ten of the 2018 draft if he produces another monster season in 2017.
After a 7-6 season in 2015, things seem to be looking up for the Nittany Lions. They appeared in the Rose Bowl for the first time since 2008, and the third time in program history. Despite losing 52-49 to USC, they went toe-to-toe with the Trojans, and the program seems to be heading in the right direction.
Barkley is a huge part of that and there’s a lot of hype surrounding him, especially from Matt Miller of Bleacher Report.
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) June 14, 2017
He wrote this:
The New York Jets may be looking at a Josh Rosen or Sam Darnold here next season; it all depends on if we see Christian Hackenberg and how he looks. Right now, no one outside the Jets’ facility knows how he’s developed throughout his redshirt rookie season. Given the potential there, I have the team passing on a quarterback for a dynamic running back that can change an offense immediately.
If Hackenberg shows some signs of ability during the 2017 season, maybe pairing him with a young dynamic running back is just what the doctor ordered. If not, that moves us into our next discussion.
Draft Pick or Proven Veteran Quarterback?
The Dallas Cowboys proved one thing last year, an NFL team can pair a young quarteback with a dynamic young running back and find success. Well, it appears that the Jets don’t have faith in either Christian Hackenberg or Bryce Petty. So, what are they to do?
The quarterback crop in 2018 is very top heavy, and they probably won’t be able to do what the Cowboys did, unless they can get lucky later in the draft and take a signal caller that works out. However, there is another option.
There is a quarterback who currently resides, for eight Sundays a season, 220 miles away from MetLife Stadium, in Landover, MD, at FedEx Field. According to ESPN’s Rich Cimini (via overthecap.com), the Jets will have at least $80M in cap space in 2018.
The Jets expect to be at least $80 million under the projected cap, which would put them at or near the top of the league.
It would be much better to have a proven quarterback, like Kirk Cousins, than hope a draft pick will do well. With the expected cap space, there’s no doubt the Jets can spend to lure Cousins away from the Redskins. In addition to that, if the coaching staff stays in tact for one more season, Cousins has experience in the West Coast offense, which is perfect for the Jets.
The pairing of Cousins and Barkley would be fog for the Jets. Fans want an A or A+ quarterback, but that’s not necessary. Cousins has shown himself to be reliable in his first two seasons as a starter. The combination of Barkley and Cousins could prove to be a dangerous backfield combo.