Could the New York Jets come out of the 2018 NFL Draft with not one, but two potential franchise quarterbacks?
It is almost a certainty that New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan will select a quarterback with the third pick in the 2018 NFL Draft on April 26. Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield are the likely candidates depending on how the chips fall.
Whoever is drafted will most likely sit for a season to learn behind veterans Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater. This could spell the end of the tenures of Bryce Petty and former second-round pick Christian Hackenberg.
For a team that hasn’t drafted or acquired a franchise quarterback in nearly 50 years, the New York Jets should be aggressive during the draft to get “the guy.” Maccagnan could implore a strategy that the Washington Redskins used during the 2012 NFL Draft.
The Redskins traded a king’s ransom to the St. Louis Rams to acquire the second pick in the draft to select Robert Griffin III. For insurance, head coach Mike Shanahan and general manager Bruce Allen grabbed Kirk Cousins in the fourth round of the same draft.
This strategy was used once before by the Redskins in 1994 when the team spent two draft picks on Heath Shuler and Gus Frerotte. Not as a successful plan as when the strategy was used with Griffin and Cousins, of course.
Despite having an abundance of cap space at his disposal, Maccagnan has yet to make impact deals on the offensive and defensive lines. The team’s picks from the third round to the seventh round could be used to address both areas.
However, for a team yearning for a franchise quarterback, Maccagnan may strike gold by selecting one of the high-upside quarterback prospects in the middle rounds. Though the quarterback room may seem crowded, both McCown and Bridgewater’s contracts have early outs that can be absorbed without hamstringing the franchise.
Maccagnan could also move forward with four quarterbacks on the roster. In 2016, the Jets kept Ryan Fitzpatrick, Geno Smith, Petty and Hackenberg on the roster. Two years later, that plan did not help discover a franchise quarterback.
Carrying four quarterbacks has had some success in the past. Most notably was in 2000, when the New England Patriots kept four quarterbacks, including sixth-round pick Tom Brady. The beginning of a dynasty began with that four-quarterback strategy.
It’s not inconceivable that Maccagnan uses a fifth-or-sixth-round pick on a project quarterback. Here are a few names to keep in mind if the Jets buy that additional insurance.
Luke Falk, Washington State
Draft Grade: Fourth Round
Luke Falk is a name that will be familiar to college football viewers. Playing in a spread offense at Washington State, Falk was a very accurate passer at 67-percent.
He showed very good pocket presence throughout his collegiate career but made some curious throws into coverage that certainly gave talent evaluators pause. But unlike another accurate passer—Baker Mayfield—Falk has prototypical height but could use a few extra pounds to deal with the grueling NFL season.
While Falk may not have the athleticism of other draft prospects, his pocket presence is good. In a pass-happy league, with the right protection, he could be the second coming of a Pro Bowl quarterback like Matt Ryan.
.@wsucougfb QB Luke Falk's Pro Day highlights!
— NFL (@NFL) March 24, 2018
Kyle Lauletta, Richmond
Draft Grade: Fourth Round
A quarterback like Kyle Lauletta will receive mixed reviews from talent evaluators. While he is an accurate, smart passer, he lacks the arm strength of the top four draft prospects.
Still, Lauletta has the athleticism and knowledge of coverages to make safe and high percentage throws. He is comfortable making throws on the run and while deep passes are a challenge, timed routes seem to be his bread an butter.
To be successful, Lauletta will need to rely on brains over brawn in the NFL. He will remind you of another past New York Jets quarterback, Chad Pennington.
.@SpiderFootball @kylelauletta showed up big time in Mobile. Never hurts when you get named the Most Outstanding Player at an All-Star game. Sneaky quick release catches your eye #BaldyBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/2BoUM83JRR
— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) March 21, 2018
Mike White, Western Kentucky
Draft Grade: Fifth Round
When talent evaluators identify draft prospects that could help a franchise, they look for elite attributes. Some prospects have many while others may only have one or two.
That’s the case with Mike White. Like Josh Allen, White has a cannon for an arm. The former pitcher threw in the mid-nineties before switching to football full time. Though the fastball and deep ball are eye-popping, his touch passing is more than adequate.
White falls down to the late rounds of the draft due to his pocket mobility. He was sacked a lot at Western Kentucky, some due to inadequate offensive line protection and some due to his lack of pocket awareness.
Logan Woodside, Toledo
Draft Grade: Seventh Round
Logan Woodside is an interesting late-round prospect. He was extremely accurate at Toledo, especially against man coverage, while boasting a 65-percent average over his final two seasons.
Finding the open receiver has been his largest achievement, garnering 73 touchdowns in those same two seasons. Unlike White, arm strength is an issue, the deep ball is non-existent.
Former New York Giants defensive back, Will Blackmon spoke glowingly of Woodside while on the Colin Cowherd show on FS1. He compared his grit and determination to Jimmy Garoppolo. As a seventh-round pick or undrafted free agent, taking Woodside as insurance could pay dividends for Maccagnan.
Logan Woodside under pressure was calm, cool and collected pic.twitter.com/qL6dH8apsI
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) March 24, 2018