Whether they’re intending on it or not, the New York Football Jets are tanking. It may be disguised as a competitive rebuild, but make no mistake, this isn’t a team that is actively trying to win this year. If you for some reason disagree with me, just watch their final play of the game on Sunday:
“So much for razzle dazzle.” The announcers talked about how to defend the upcoming Hail Mary attempt, suggesting that the Panthers throw some of their tallest and most sure-handed players deep downfield, mainly Devin Funchess. The Jets elected to throw a quick hitter to Jermaine Kearse, who dove for a first down instead of starting some schoolyard bullshit with either Robby Anderson or Josh McCown trailing close behind him.
That play was the final nail in the coffin that is the 2017 Jets season. My expectations weren’t high coming into it, and to be honest they already surpassed even my wildest dreams for this year. They’ve been competitive in every game besides losing to the Raiders in Week 2. They played tight with the Patriots and Falcons, only to fall due to late game errors. They went toe to toe with the 8-3 Panthers and once again shot themselves in the foot on the final play of the game, a punt return TD, and coughing up a fumble for another score. They took down the AFC South leading Jaguars. The rookies that have played this season have been bright spots in Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye, and Elijah McGuire. The ILBs have taken a step forward in Darron Lee and Demario Davis. Josh McCown and the team as a whole have limited their turnovers while having a positive turnover rate (for now). There’s a lot to build on.
But. As both the NFL regular season and CFB season are unwinding, a new season is just beginning. Draft SZN, that is. I’ve been watching a lot more college football this season, knowing that the Jets are seriously considering taking one of the many very talented QBs in this upcoming draft. I’ve been toying around on a website called fanspeak.com, where you can mock draft with all 32 teams for all 7 rounds. It’s pretty realistic, and after using it a bunch before last year’s draft, the names that were available in the simulation were actually quite accurate. I delved in today and picked up these 2 draft classes for the Jets:
DRAFT #1 – The ‘Get a QB in Free Agency’ Plan
The Jets have a big decision to make this offseason at the Quarterback position. With Jimmy G getting traded to the 49ers, Kirk Cousins is probably atop the list of QBs the Jets should target in free agency. He’ll demand a hefty contract, but the Jets need a top-10 QB if they ever want to seriously contend. Drew Brees could be an interesting short-term option, and Alex Smith is another option that I’m not all too crazy about. But say they sign one of those 3 guys, this is a draft class that I could be into:
EDGE ARDEN KEY
His draft stock may have fallen a bit due to a series of injuries, but Arden Key is a beast. He’s got some Jadeveon Clowney in him, meaning that when he wants to, he’s going to get you, no matter who you put in front of him. The Jets desperately need an edge rusher, and Arden Key is just that. Consecutive years for the Jets taking a defender from LSU in the 1st round? I don’t hate it.
LB MALIK JEFFERSON
If Malik Jefferson is available in the early 2nd round, the Jets better take him. If he were to slip to day 2, I’d consider trading up for pick #1, similar to what the Giants did a few years back with Landon Collins. With Demario Davis’ contract ending after this season, Jefferson could immediately fill in next to Darron Lee at ILB.
RB NICK CHUBB
Nick Chubb has the power and speed to be a three-down back in the NFL. With two older RBs in Matt Forte and Bilal Powell on the roster, the Jets drafted Elijah McGuire last year. He’s been solid in his limited snaps this season, and he would be a great compliment to Nick Chubb, should he be drafted here. Chubb can pound the rock, while McGuire is a proven pass catcher. The Jets haven’t had an all-around solid RB since Thomas Jones. Time to change that.
CB JALEN DAVIS
The Jets drafted two CBs last year that won’t touch the field this year. Both are considered long-term projects as well. Jalen Davis is much less of a project who has taken over a few games this year. He can join Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye, and Morris Claiborne (if they re-sign him) in what would be a very respectable secondary.
G TYRONE CROWDER
First Team All-ACC Guard. Proven Champion with the potential to repeat this year. I’m here for it.
QB LUKE FALK
More often than not, NFL teams find their franchise QB in Days 2 and 3. I wrote about that here. Luke Falk is a QB with pro potential that can be a late-round steal.
DL DREW BAILEY
The Jets need some DL depth. Drew Bailey is a big body that can replace Mike Pennel/Kony Ealy/Steve McClendon if/when they leave.
DRAFT #2 – The ‘Draft your Franchise QB’ Plan
QB JOSH ROSEN
Chosen Rosen. It’s a tough call deciding which QB will be the best coming out in this class. Rosen, Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson, Mason Rudolph, Drew Lock, Jake Browning, Luke Falk, Josh Allen, Will Grier. I’m sure somebody that I forgot will end up being the Hall of Famer. I was a fan of Josh Rosen coming into this year and his performance this year didn’t change my mind in the slightest. He’s handled the bright lights and expectations in Los Angeles with some outstanding performances and seems to have the “it” factor. His comeback against Texas A&M in Week 1 was jaw-dropping:
EDGE OGBONNIA OKORONKWO
The Jets need an edge rusher. Okoronkwo is just that. Not sure where exactly his home will be on the defense, but this guy makes plays.
CB JOSH JACKSON
I unfortunately don’t think that Josh Jackson will be available this late in the draft. He’s not YET a household name, but he will be soon. Despite being considered as a tier below Tarvarus McFadden, Denzel Ward, and Ken Webster, I think that he absolutely belongs in that group.
RB ROYCE FREEMAN
He’s one of the more experienced RBs on the board, as he holds the Pac-12 record for rushing TDs. I think I have a soft spot in my heart for Oregon speed backs due to their excellence in NCAAF 2014 for Xbox, but Freeman would definitely be a solid addition to this team.
DL JERRY TILLERY
Shades of Ndamukong Suh. Might not reach his ceiling, but he has a high motor, making plays far away from his position. A few character concerns on & off the field, but he’s a game changer.
LB CAMERON SMITH
There are rumors of Smith, one of USC’s captains, returning to school next year. If he doesn’t, the Jets would get a great, smart, and instinctive linebacker.
OT BENTLEY SPAIN
Bentley Spain is a 6’6″ 300lb OT that can one day make it as a solid LT in the NFL. Build the offensive line through the draft to protect your new QB.
It’s been a fun chat. Definitely check out fanspeak.com and play with the draft simulation if you’re into that kinda stuff. Of course, a lot can happen between now and the end of Week 17, as the Jets can end up anywhere between the 3rd pick and one up in the high teens. Either way, with college football bowl season around the corner, this is a fun time to soak in some college football, check out some prospects, and throw down some bets.
Until next time……