With draft pundits everywhere wondering how the Cleveland Browns and New York Giants will divvy up the likes of Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen, USC passer Sam Darnold and Penn State running back Saquon Barkley with the first two selections, the New York Jets look as though they’ll get their man no matter what.
That’s because the apparent top-three prospects don’t seem to be Gang Green’s top choice.
A source has told NFL insider Tony Pauline that the Jets selecting Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield with the third-overall selection is “a done deal.” Though UCLA passer Josh Rosen is also an option as well.
Out of the big quarterback prospects expected to go within the top-10 of this year’s draft, Mayfield is considered by many to be the fourth-best professional prospect compared to Allen, Darnold and Rosen. Allen and Darnold used big-time pro days to help solidify their stock as possible top-three selections.
Mayfield though has something none of the other three can boast: a Heisman Trophy.
The Oklahoma product put on a show in the offensive-minded Big 12, completing 70.5-percent of his passes for 4,627 yards with 43 touchdowns and six interceptions. Those stats are best among any of the other three by a considerable margin:
Sam Darnold- 63.1 completion percentage, 4,143 yards, 26 TD, 13 INT
Josh Rosen- 62.6 completion percentage, 3,756 yards, 26 TD, 10 INT
Josh Allen- 56.3 completion percentage, 1,812 yards, 16 TD, 6 INT
Mayfield and the Jets have been linked for the better part of the past few weeks, though they were also on hand at Allen’s pro day toward the end of March and were apparently very interested at the time.
It was less than a week after they swapped picks with the Indianapolis Colts, moving up from No. 6 to No. 3, which was a clear statement that they intended to draft a quarterback.
The Jets have been one of the busier, more aggressive teams during free agency this offseason thanks to plenty of cap space. Among their notable signings, they brought back Josh McCown on a one-year deal and signed former Vikings passer Teddy Bridgewater, who had his promising career derailed by a leg injury two years ago.
McCown, 38, earned the starting job heading into the spring this year after the journeyman put together a career year as the Jets starter in 2017. While Bridgewater is just 25, there are still questions surrounding his health, which obviously creates reservations about him being a long-term answer at the position. However, it does provide much-needed, somewhat proven depth.
Drafting a passer, whether it’s Mayfield or another, now affords the Jets the opportunity to mold a franchise quarterback instead of rushing him under center while plastering large and unrealistic expectations on him and a rebuilding team.