NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Jets have had a monster offseason thus far. They’ve shored up their secondary with the signings of old friends Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie and have added an offensive weapon in wide receiver Brandon Marshall.

Other smaller, less publicized moves made by general manager Mike Maccagnan have made Gang Green a much more complete and dangerous squad.

But until this team finds a franchise quarterback — or at least a competent signal-caller — it will only go so far.

Geno Smith regressed in his second year in the league and 32-year-old newcomer Ryan Fitzpatrick is far from a sure thing.

Is the key piece to the puzzle in the upcoming NFL draft? Maybe, maybe not. But Joe Namath, the greatest quarterback in franchise history, thinks Maccagnan needs to roll the dice and pick Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota if he’s available at No. 6.

“Yeah, I would take him,” Namath told Metro New York’s Kristian Dyer. “I would take him. I don’t believe he’s going to be sitting there. I don’t. But yeah, I would take him because he might be the best of the three.”

The “best of the three” is in reference to Smith and Fitzpatrick.

Jameis Winston, the 2012 Heisman winner, will almost certainly be gone when the Jets are on the board. But many draft experts have Mariota falling to No. 6, and New York selecting him.

“You’ve got to sit down and look at every bit of tape,” Namath told the newspaper. “I don’t know how many of us fans have actually seen Mariota run 900 plays and how he’s reacted in various situations. I don’t know if any of us know the plays called ahead of time for the quarterback that weren’t good calls.

“But there’s no doubt that the kid can play.”


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