By Jason Keidel
» More Columns
No matter what you think of the Cleveland Browns, Chicago Bears or Houston Texans, they all shoved their draft-day chips to the middle and gambled on a quarterback in the first round of the NFL Draft. Even the Chiefs, with easily one of the five best rosters in the league, belched some valuable picks to bag their QB of the future.
The Jets? In light of their long-term quarterback woes, they went all in by … loading up on sixth-round draft picks and leaving Philadelphia sans a single quarterback. After stalwart safety Jamal Adams from LSU fell into Gang Green’s lap in the first round, they could at least have taken a flyer on one QB. While this draft class was, by nearly all accounts, pedestrian at the position, there was value to be had.
Even the Giants, who have had the QB spot locked down for a dozen years, have at least gestured at the future, by drafting former Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib in 2013. And some feel they got a steal this year in the third round with Cal QB Davis Webb. That’s what good franchises do — meet today’s needs with an eye on tomorrow’s holes. It’s amazing how teams can occupy the same state, county and building for over 30 years and be so historically divergent.
The Jets’ presumed quarterback of the future, Christian Hackenberg, has taken on comical contours, with last year’s second-round pick not even taking a single snap on a team desperate for someone to grab the gig. So far, Hackenberg makes Geno Smith look like Joe Montana.
Could the current lineup possibly be the Jets’ dream for the future? To sign Josh McCown, a 37-year-old (who turns 38 in July), with any hopes of winning today? Even worse, is he a bridge to Hackenberg? Or to Bryce Petty?
Say what we want about the Bears — and much has, particularly by the beleaguered natives — but they at least had the stones to strike a deal and snag the man they wanted. Sure, it seems silly now for them to give up so much for a player no one heard of six months ago and has all of 13 college starts under his belt — and an 8-5 record, at that — but if Mitchell Trubisky actually matures into a starting NFL quarterback then he will have been worth the post-draft rancor from the fans.
Kansas City arched a few eyebrows by being so bullish on Patrick Mahomes. But Andy Reid has earned the latitude to make such moves. And even the lowly Browns got a QB with considerable gifts in DeShone Kizer. His talent is unquestioned, just not his temerity. Even still, the Browns have options at QB. And the Texans, who seem to have skill at every position except quarterback, picked the man who picked apart Alabama — twice — in Deshaun Watson.
And the Jets got Josh McCown.
Not only did they get their man in the middle-aged vagabond, they outbid the Dallas Cowboys by $4 million to get him (according to NFL Network’s Ian Rappaport). The Jets are McCown’s eight — yes, eighth — NFL employer.
Would it have been so much to ask the Jets to grab Webb, or Nathan Peterman, or Josh Dobbs? Or use one of their three sixth-round picks to pluck Brad Kaaya? Someone, anyone, to give the fan base and franchise a variable for 2017, instead of the same failures and retreats that rule the roster today.
Maybe the Jets are shell shocked. After Browning Nagle and Geno Smith and Mark Sanchez and the litany of failures under center, they simply can’t pull any trigger on another quarterback. But that’s not the way to run a football team. All it takes is one, the right one, and all the wrong ones will be forgotten.
Lord knows, Mr. Right is not on the roster now.
Please follow Jason on Twitter at @JasonKeidel