Less than a week remains until the rampant Jets quarterback rumor cycle will slow down, after the Kirk Cousins pursuit and the months-long prospect evaluations have kept the Big Apple’s AFC team at the center of many offseason news cycles.
But the identity of Gang Green’s hopeful franchise quarterback remains unknown, and the latest coming out of Jets headquarters centers on two players — with a catch.
New York would likely be quick to take Sam Darnold if the USC-developed passer remained on the board at No. 3. Though they didn’t work him out, the Jets finalized a Darnold visit because of the signs the Browns may pass on him at No. 1, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv reports. But if he goes to either the Browns or Giants, the Jets look to be engaged in an interesting debate.
Although the Jets were the only team to trek to Laramie, Wyo., to work out Josh Allen, the latest noise related to their No. 3 overall pick centers on a Baker Mayfield-or-Josh Rosen decision. Brian Costello of the New York Post describes a “hearty debate” among Jets brass about the merits of the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner or the brash UCLA product who may be the most pro-ready passer in this draft. Both Schwartz and Vacchiano expect Darnold to be the pick if he’s still there at 3, but if he’s gone, these contingency talks could decide the Jets’ future.
Mike Maccagnan was reportedly a Mayfield skeptic earlier the pre-draft process, with Rosen having the early advantage in this head-to-head comparison, but Vacchiano notes the fourth-year GM looks to have warmed up to him. The Jets’ concerns about how Mayfield would handle the New York market look to have diminished as well. All four of the top QB prospects visited the Jets, but they did the most work on Allen.
As we heard earlier this month, the Jets have concerns about Allen’s readiness — mostly based on his accuracy at Wyoming — and may not be especially interested in the 6-foot-5 prodigy. However, a Jets faction “loves” Allen’s skill set. Allen falling past the Browns would create an interesting scenario, because the Giants appear to be zeroing in on Darnold or Saquon Barkley at No. 2. His being there at No. 4 could make the Browns’ second first-round pick valuable for QB-seeking teams, because John Elway — whose Broncos hold the No. 5 selection — has a history of preferring this type of quarterback.
The Jets did not call the Giants about moving to No. 2 instead of No. 3, but Vacchiano reports the NFC’s Big Apple team would have listened to an offer. With the Jets having surrendered three second-round picks to move up to the Colts’ slot, though, Vacchiano notes there is a feeling in the building that the team has already made its big move and is set to stay at No. 3 and pick its favorite quarterback remaining.