Are NYJ Interested, Or Just Trying To Force Buffalo's Hand?

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s hard to believe anything in the days leading up to the NFL Draft.

Is such-and-such team interested in so-and-so, or is it just a smoke screen? Prospects routinely talk about which clubs have shown “interest,” and the list often reads like a standings page.

But that’s what makes it all so much fun.

The Bills are reportedly worried that the Jets could move in and ruin Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib’s potential reunion with coach Doug Marrone in Buffalo. According to ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio, New York offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg is “very high” on Nassib, a player thought to be rocketing up some draft boards.

“The Jets control the wheelhouse on Day 1, and a guy they love at the quarterback position … is Ryan Nassib of Syracuse,” Sal Pal reported Wednesday on “Sportscenter.” “I’m told new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg loves Nassib, his quick decision-making and ability to run the West Coast offense.”

Of course, New York could be trying to force Buffalo into drafting Nassib at No. 8. If the Bills pass, the Jets would have three chances to take Nassib (Nos. 9, 13, 39) before Buffalo gets back on the clock at No. 41.

The Bills may have countered with a smoke screen of their own. Peter King of Sports Illustrated said he’s hearing Buffalo is “seriously targeting” USC quarterback Matt Barkley.

The forgotten guy in all this? West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, the first quarterback taken in countless mock drafts before Nassib’s stock went up, up, up.

Smith took to Twitter this week to respond to his critics, and said Wednesday the Jets showed “a level of interest” during a “great visit” at his pro day.

Smith is “atop the Jets QB rankings,” Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News tweeted Wednesday.

“My expectations obviously are to go early, but if I don’t, it’s not going to faze me,” Smith said at an NFL Play 60 event in Manhattan. “Whichever team I’m on, I’ll go in there and try and win the starting job, and once I’m the starter continue to win games and build on my goals.”

Despite the struggles of Mark Sanchez, it’s no guarantee the Jets will spend one of their two first-round picks on a quarterback. Far from it. New general manager John Idzik is open to anything — even trading down in a draft deep on talent but short on sizzle.

“I think we’re in a position at No. 9 and No. 13 in the first round to get two really good players, but it also opens up the gates for potential alternatives, potentially trading down and picking up more players,” Idzik told ESPN on Wednesday. “We’ll be open minded about it. This is a very deep draft.”

The draft will get underway with Round 1 on Thursday night at Radio City Music Hall.

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