FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The New York Jets have a good chance of being No. 1 — in the NFL draft.
At 2-11, they’re in the mix with Tennessee, Oakland, Tampa Bay and Jacksonville for the dubious distinction of having the NFL’s worst record.
So, with three games left, the race is on. Next Sunday could play a big part in deciding things with the Jets playing the Titans in Tennessee. And for some fans, they might prefer the Jets continue to lose to secure the best draft spot.
“I know where our fans are coming from,” coach Rex Ryan said Monday. “Absolutely, I get that. That doesn’t mean that we’re going to approach this game any different — because we’re going to try to win the game.”
So fans hoping to see perhaps Oregon’s Marcus Mariota or Florida State’s Jameis Winston in green and white next season might have to temper those wishes for the time being.
“If there was a Peyton Manning out there or whoever out there, a Walter Payton, then I’d say you throw it,” Ryan joked. “No, I’m just kidding. We’re not (tanking). We’re trying to win the game.”
According to the sports analytics site www.numberFire.com, the Jets have an 11.82 percent of securing the top pick, ranking them fifth behind the Titans (17.02), Buccaneers (17.58), Raiders (18.72) and Jaguars (33.84).
“Using our internal efficiency metrics, we calculate each team’s chances of winning every remaining game on its schedule,” said Zach Kempner, the site’s communications director. “Then we simulate the NFL season thousands of times to determine the probability that each team will have the worst record in the NFL.”
The projections also include the usual tiebreakers such as strength of schedule, strength of victory and conference winning percentage. After the game against Tennessee, the Jets finish with New England (10-3) and Miami (7-6).
Since the modern draft era began in 1970, the Jets have picked among the top five just 10 times. They have had the No. 1 overall pick only once: in 1996, when they took wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson. New York has had the second selection twice (Johnny Lam Jones, 1980; and Blair Thomas, 1990) and the No. 3 pick once: Freeman McNeil (1981).
The Jets have had five No. 4 overall picks, including Marvin Powell (1977), Chris Ward (1978), Marvin Jones (1993), Dewayne Robertson (2003) and D’Brickashaw Ferguson (2006). They traded up in the 2009 draft to take Mark Sanchez with the No. 5 selection.
The big question, though, is who will be doing the picking when the next draft begins in April with the futures of Ryan and general manager John Idzik uncertain beyond Week 17.
Owner Woody Johnson has some big decisions to make with the Jets missing out on the postseason for the fourth straight season — the longest drought since he took over the team in 2000. Many fans and media already assume Ryan will be gone after the regular-season finale at Miami on Dec. 28.
“You’re 2-11, so I understand the things that I get,” Ryan said.
Ryan took full blame for New York’s 30-24 overtime loss at Minnesota on Sunday, and praised Johnson for his commitment to putting together a winning team. In some ways, it sounded like a concession speech from a coach who knows he’s on his way out after six seasons.
“I’m not conceding anything,” Ryan said Monday. “I’m not going anywhere. I know I’ve got three weeks and here we come. That hadn’t been told to me — at least I know I think I have three weeks here, and here we go.”
Idzik is in his second season as GM, but has been widely criticized for his personnel decisions since he has been with the Jets, whether it has been failed free-agent signings, subpar draft selections or not being aggressive enough in free agency to provide adequate quality roster depth.
Fans have started billboard and website campaigns urging Johnson to fire Idzik, despite a short stint on the job. Some have also aimed their blame at Johnson, something Ryan wholeheartedly disagrees with.
“I just really wanted the fans to know that, hey guys, this is your owner,” Ryan said. “You should be happy that this is your owner. You can do a heck of a lot worse than having Woody Johnson as your owner, I promise you. You’ve got a guy that’s 100 percent committed in this organization. He wants to win.”
NOTES: WR Percy Harvin has a low ankle sprain and is in a boot, putting his availability vs. the Titans in doubt. X-rays were negative. “It probably doesn’t look that great,” Ryan said, “but we’ll see as it progresses.” … S Antonio Allen has a broken hand, but isn’t expected to be sidelined. … Ryan is encouraged about the chances of DE Muhammad Wilkerson (turf toe) and TE Jace Amaro (concussion) for Sunday’s game. The coach said “the arrow seems to be pointing up” on Amaro, who is going through the NFL’s protocol for head injuries. Wilkerson is being fitted for a special shoe that could allow him to practice this week.
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