NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Todd Bowles is either an incredible poker player or has just let the cat out of the bag.
Speaking to reporters at the NFL meetings in Orlando, Florida, on Tuesday, the Jets’ head coach dropped some major hints about which quarterback his team will select with the No. 3 pick in the draft next month.
He said he wants a signal-caller with “leadership, accuracy, toughness, intelligence.”
All of those terms have been used on numerous occasions to describe Baker Mayfield, last year’s Heisman Trophy winner.
It’s no secret that the Jets have been in love with Mayfield for some time. And why not? He threw for 12,292 yards and 119 touchdowns — with just 21 interceptions — while completing roughly 70 percent of his passes at Oklahoma from 2015-17.
The Jets have studied Mayfield extensively and as a result many draft experts have ticketed him for Florham Park.
But they did it mostly when the Jets were picking sixth in the first round.
When the Jets pulled off the blockbuster trade with the Indianapolis Colts to move up to No. 3 rumors started swirling that Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan have their eyes on another quarterback.
Perhaps Sam Darnold of USC.
Possibly Josh Rosen of UCLA.
Potentially Josh Allen of Wyoming.
The idea of Mayfield in green cooled because the general consensus has been that the Jets wouldn’t need to move up in the draft for Mayfield, because the aforementioned big three were generally considered better prospects and likely to go before the Oklahoma gunslinger.
But now, it appears Mayfield’s stock has risen so much, the Jets consider him as good and ready-made for the NFL as any other college quarterback available.
“You see it on the field,” Bowles said of Mayfield. “There’s not too much you’re going to get out of him at the combine in 15 minutes. You’ve got to ask all type of football questions. We’ll do our due diligence going forward. You see the player and you see the play and you know the guy can play football, and he’s a competitor.”
Adding to the intrigue is the fact that the two teams that are expected to pick before the Jets, the Cleveland Browns at No. 1, followed by the Giants, reportedly have their eyes on Darnold, Rosen and Allen.
The Jets have huddled with Mayfield on four different occasions — at the Senior Bowl, the Scouting Combine, his pro day and then held a private workout with him on Saturday in Oklahoma. Mayfield is also expected to visit Florham Park in the coming weeks.
So, is Mayfield-to-the-Jets really a foregone conclusion at this point?
“We’re looking for leadership, obviously confidence,” Bowles said. “It takes a different kind of guy to play in New York.”
And make no mistake, Mayfield is indeed a different kind of guy.