Thoughtful coverage for thinking fans.
As the 2013 draft edges ever closer, one debate that grows more heated by the day is the one surrounding the question of whether or not the Jets should select a quarterback and – if they do – which one they should pick. So, let’s take a quick look at the top options before giving you the opportunity to vote on who you think is the best of the bunch.
1. Geno Smith (West Virginia) – Projected: 1st Round
If Mark Sanchez thinks that he’s been the victim of instability over the past few years he might want to talk with Geno Smith. During the short span of his collegiate career, the Mountaineers signal-caller has been asked to run three different offensive systems and, more or less, has been effective in each one. Despite having a fairly indifferent campaign in 2012, many observers believe that if there is potentially a Franchise QB in this draft, Smith is the man. His arm strength is beyond question, but at times last year his sloppy footwork led to inaccuracy issues. However, his pocket composure combined with an ability to get the ball out rapidly could prove to be major assets in the type of quick-fire, high-tempo offense that is favored by new Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg.
2. Tyler Wilson (Arkansas) – Projected Round 2-4
Usually it’s a good idea to stay in school. But there’s always an exception to every rule and, in this instance, it’s Tyler Wilson. After being named first team All-SEC in 2011 it looked as if Wilson had the NFL world at his feet, but a disastrous 2012 has raised a number of serious questions about his ability to produce in the big league. One thing that might attract the Jets is Wilson’s accuracy but, at the same time, they may also be deterred by his tendency to trust his arm too much and sometimes force the ball into dangerous areas. Some scouts also believe that his 2012 season was a one-off nightmare that came about as a result of being forced to learn a new system under a new head coach while at the same time playing behind a woefully inadequate offensive line and without his favorite three receiving targets from the previous year. For these reasons, Wilson may be the steal of the draft.
3. Matt Barkley (USC) – Projected Round 1-3
I’ll make a bold prediction now and say that in all likelihood Matt Barkley will come somewhere near the bottom of this poll. Why? Because too many Jets fans have already made their minds up about him based on the ability of a certain other former USC signal-caller as opposed to that of Barkley himself. However, the Jets front office may see things a little differently and perhaps take the view that despite his questionable arm strength, Barkley’s intelligence and excellent ability to read a defense (both pre and post-snap) might make him the perfect candidate to run Mornhinweg’s new system. His leadership skills are also a major asset, and if any young quarterback seems primed to handle the pressure of playing in the Big Apple while at the same time being ready to plug-and-play in an NFL offense, Barkley is probably the man.
4. Ryan Nassib (Syracuse) – Projected Round 2-3
Any team that decides to draft Ryan Nassib will most likely do so as part of a long-term project. Although he clearly has plenty of potential, he is a long way from being the finished product at this stage of his career. Although he’s perfectly capable of wowing a crowd with breathtaking downfield completions, he’s just as likely to float a ball ten yards ahead of an open receiver. His arm strength is also questionable, and so if the Jets are to use a pick on Nassib it seems unlikely that he will have any impact as a starter before he’s done extensive work with new QB coach David Lee.
5. EJ Manuel (Florida State) – Projected Round 2-3
In terms of sheer athletic ability, EJ Manuel is probably as good as it gets in the 2013 quarterback class and in a physical sense he is equipped with all of the attributes you might wish for. But unfortunately all of those positives are undermined by his tendency towards poor decision making and questionable accuracy. That said, his raw physical ability may be enough to convince the Jets that if Mornhinweg is able to design the right system, Manuel can provide the unpredictability that head coach Rex Ryan spoke of at the beginning of the year.
Which of these five candidates would you draft if you were Jets GM John Idzik? Cast your vote below and also feel free to express your thoughts in the comments section.