Right now after a 5-11 season, the talk of tanking is in the air for the Jets fans and media. It’s nonsense.
The Jets are three years into a rebuild. The draft picks from their first two classes will be tasked with taking on bigger roles this season. They weren’t throwaway picks. They are being told to win. The additions to the roster via free agency and to the coaching staff are further indication of this.
After the disastrous way the 2016 season went for the Jets it would be very easy for a culture of losing to set in. Once it does, it is very hard to shake off. In essence, the team could potentially waste their previous two drafts by poisoning the well.
Compare the Jets with the Browns. Cleveland has acquired an absurd amount of draft picks over the next couple drafts by deferring to the future and appears to have tanked the 2016 season. In spite of that, they are no closer to having locked in a franchise QB. The consensus No. 1 player is a defensive lineman. The QB’s in this class all have question marks and need at least a year of development.
There are no guarantees that a franchise QB will be waiting for the Jets in the 2018 draft. Right now, the top rated seniors are Mason Rudolph, Luke Falk and Baker Mayfield. It is unknown if names like Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen or Jake Browning would declare. Any number of things can happen – they can get injured, regress or simply stay in school. There are no assurances they will be as good as advertised either.
Draft order is a factor fans and media alike throw out as if it has some major significance. More often than not, it doesn’t. Among the current franchise QB’s in the NFL, here are ones that were first or second overall picks.
- (8) Eli Manning, Matt Stafford, Carson Palmer, Cam Newton, Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Andrew Luck, Carson Wentz
Here are the ones that went other than #1
- (11) Russell Wilson, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers, Dak Prescott, Drew Brees, Joe Flacco, Derek Carr, Kirk Cousins
For the sake of argument, the odds of finding a franchise QB outside of the top 2 picks are almost equal to having a top pick. In many ways it is just luck and the best course of action is to do what the Jets have been doing: keep drafting QBs until they find one.
For now this season is about Christian Hackenberg or Bryce Petty. Both young QB’s are being afforded the opportunity to win the Jets starting job in training camp against Josh McCown. Whomever gets the starting role will be tasked with learning from their mistakes as the season progresses. That isn’t tanking, that is developing. Learn from their mistakes and don’t make the same one twice.
If they are as bad as many want to sell you on, the team will lose. Not for tanking, but because they still don’t have a solution at the most important position: quarterback. However, if one starts to show promise, the team will win and the answer solved.
In their current state, installing a culture of accountability, excellence and winning is more valuable to the health of the Jets. As long as they continue to build up the foundation around the signal caller position, the franchise QB will eventually fall in to place – and it won’t require tanking.