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New York Jets Draft Watch: To QB, Or Not to QB? That is THE Question
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20 Apr 2017 02:09 PM EST

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky attempts pass. (Image Source: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Here’s a breakdown of the New York Jets need at quarterback:

Depth Chart: (1) Josh McCown (2017 free agent), 2) Christian Hackenberg (2016 2nd Round Pick), (3) Bryce Petty (2015 4th Round Pick)

Offseason Addition: Josh McCown; Subtractions: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Geno Smith

Ten wins and 31 touchdowns in 2015 enticed the Jets to bring Ryan Fitzpatrick back for another season in New York. Five wins and 17 interceptions (12 TDs) proved general manager Mike Maccagnan right for not giving him a long-term deal. While the Jets are not saddled with a bad quarterback contract, they also have many questions and possibly zero answers at the position. Josh McCown is a stopgap at best and it’s unclear how much if at all the organization believes in either Christian Hackenberg or Bryce Petty. This is New York’s biggest need heading into the 2017 NFL Draft.

Reported Pre-Draft Visits: Patrick Mahomes II (Texas Tech), Mitchell Trubisky (North Carolina), Davis Webb (Cal)

Known Workouts: DeShone Kizer (Notre Dame), Trevor Knight (Texas A&M), Patrick Mahomes II (Texas Tech), Mitchell Trubisky (North Carolina), Deshaun Watson (Clemson), Davis Webb (Cal)

Pro Days of Interest: Patrick Mahomes II (Texas Tech), Nathan Peterman (Pittsburgh), Patrick Towles (Boston College), Mitchell Trubisky (North Carolina), Davis Webb (Cal)

All-Star Game Connections: Senior Bowl Chad Kelly (Ole Miss)

Combine Connections: Cooper Rush (Central Michigan), Mitchell Trubisky (North Carolina), Deshaun Watson (Clemson)

Most-Likely First-Round Target: Mitchell Trubisky (North Carolina)

Crystal Ball: This is the most challenging aspect of pre-draft analysis. The predictions. Considering quarterback is New York’s biggest need and they’ve selected a passer in four-straight drafts, five of the past six, and seven of the past nine, including in each of Mike Maccagnan’s two drafts as the team’s GM the odds are the Jets will choose a quarterback. Having noted that, they do have two young passers already on the roster that they need to learn about and could have their eyes set on drafting a potential franchise quarterback next season.

With the 6th pick… At this point it would come as a surprise if the Jets used the sixth pick on a quarterback other than Mitchell Trubisky. He’s considered the top QB prospect by most evaluators and is the one the Jets have shown the most interest in throughout the draft process. The only other realistic option would be Deshaun Watson who brings the experience and championship pedigree that Trubisky lacks. Two additional quarterbacks the Jets appear to be very interested in are Patrick Mahomes II and Davis Webb, a duo that is gaining traction as the draft approaches. If the Jets trade down from No. 6 overall, they could be in play later in the first round, especially Mahomes. Who knows, maybe Watson is their main target and their public interest in other passers is just smokescreen.

On Day 2(No.’s 39, 70, 107) … The odds are Trubisky, Watson, and Mahomes will all go in the first round. It’s also becoming more likely that Webb, who teams appear to love more than the pundits, will also hear his name called on Thursday. If it works out that way that would leave DeShone Kizer, who some say is slipping, as the top passer on the board when Day 2 begins. Three additional players to consider with their two third-round picks are Nathan Peterman out of Pittsburgh, Miami man Brad Kaaya, and Tennessee’s Joshua Dobbs. Accurate with experience in a Pro-Style offense, Peterman is considered NFL ready, while Dobbs offers a higher ceiling but is more of a project, with Kaaya landing somewhere in between.

On Day 3 (No.’s 150, 191, 224) … I would be surprised if the Jets used a pick in rounds five through seven (they don’t own a fourth-round choice) to draft a developmental passer considering they already have Hackenberg and Petty on the roster, as well as a plethora of needs beyond quarterback. Other passers who are expected to hear their name called include Iowa’s C.J. Beathard and Chad Kelly out of Ole Miss. If Texas A&M’s Trevor Knight or Central Michigan product Cooper Rush go undrafted they could become priority free agents the Jets call upon.

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards. You can reach him via email: danmogollon@gmail.com.

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