When you are looking for a franchise quarterback, maybe you should listen to the advice of former Packers GM Ron Wolf, who says "you draft one every year."
So when the Jets made the 20th overall pick of the second round on Friday night and went with Penn State signal caller Christian Hackenberg, you should not be surprised. The Jets are still looking for their long-term solution at the position. Their short-term answer will be Ryan Fitzpatrick, once cooler heads prevail and they reach a deal on a new contract.
The drafting of Hackenberg does not and will not muddle the quarterback situation in 2016. He is not ready to play in the NFL in his first season. He might be the answer long-term, and if he proves to be the franchise quarterback then spending a second round draft choice on him will be worth the price.
Even if Hackenberg does not turn out to be the answer, I still think spending a second round draft choice on him was worth it the risk. Why? Because, as a GM, you must continue to search for a franchise quarterback when you don’t have one. Hackenberg has all the measurables you are look for in size, athleticism and arm strength, and clearly showed his toughness the past two seasons at Penn State. His weaknesses are hand size and accuracy.
On the East Coast, we have been hearing about Christian Hackenberg since he was in high school. He was certainly better his freshman season under Bill O’Brien than he was the last two seasons under James Franklin. But there are tangible reasons why he dropped to the 51st overall pick in the draft.
So the gamble by the Jets on Friday night was worth it. But make no mistake who the quarterback of this team is: Ryan Fitzpatrick. Geno Smith, Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg are not legitimate threats to the starting quarterback position right now.
Brian Hoyer, before he signed a deal with the Bears to be the backup quarterback, was never a threat to displacing Fitzpatrick as the starting quarterback of the Jets. San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick was never a threat and should not be. Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford is certainly not the answer. He has accomplished next to nothing and now he wants to be traded because he was not told the Eagles planned to trade up for Carson Wentz in the draft. Amazing for a quarterback whose high water mark for touchdowns in a season is 21. Why would you ever want Bradford to represent and quarterback your team as he is shying away from what your team does each and every week, which is compete. Thanks, but no thanks.
The latest and greatest rumor was Rams signal caller Nick Foles? Don’t make me laugh — well, you already did with that suggestion. The quarterback situation with the Jets is not muddled at all. The drafting of Hackenberg may be more of a knock on former Baylor QB Bryce Petty than it is on anything else with the Jets. So, Ryan Fitzpatrick can threaten that he will sit out and not play football if he is not paid what he wants in 2016. Look at that as nothing more than an old-fashioned negotiating ploy.
As Mike Maccagnan said this past week, the team's focus is getting Fitzpatrick signed — Fitzpatrick is a good fit for the Jets and the Jets are a good fit for Fitzpatrick. This is a veteran-oriented team that is looking to win now and also looking for an answer at the quarterback position long-term. Hackenberg was too good of a value to pass up when the Jets were drafting in the second round and the Jets did what most good teams do, they draft the best player on the board. Now, go sign Fitzpatrick.