It’s the 800 pound gorilla in the room and newly hired general manager John Idzik appears ready to finally address the New York Jets quarterback situation once and for all. Mark Sanchez, at one time nicknamed " The Franchise," was in store rude awakening this past year as the fourth-year pro hit rock bottom and went down with a sinking ship.
Were the failures of the 2012 season entirely on Sanchez’s shoulders?
Not by any stretch.
Surrounded by upstart wide receivers, a suspect offensive line and mediocre running backs, the former USC Trojans' supporting cast was hardly Pro Bowl caliber. Even with marginal talent around him, Sanchez continued to make rookie mistakes with poor decision-making and careless turnovers culminating in his removal from the starting lineup in the final weeks of the regular season. With his confidence shot and future with the Jets in serious doubt, Sanchez’s starting position is tenuous at best entering the 2013 campaign.
So the question remains, how do the Jets solve their quarterback woes when most within the organization (Rex Ryan notwithstanding) think Sanchez is not part of the solution but instead the problem?
Well, with a few starting quality quarterbacks already finding homes this offseason: Alex Smith in Kansas City, Kevin Kolb in Buffalo, Carson Palmer in Arizona and Matt Flynn in Oakland just to name a few, it’s looking more and more as if the Jets will find them long-term answer in this month’s NFL draft.
The only problem: scouts and draft experts are pegging this year’s quarterback draft class as one of the weakest in recent memory.
Quite a conundrum for Rex Ryan and company wouldn’t you say?
One player has captured the attention of general managers across the league with his draft stock soaring in the weeks leading up to April’s big day. That man, West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, is widely regarded as the top quarterback prospect and a name that could fly off the draft board earlier than many had previously thought. Following a 60-of-64 performance at last month’s West Virginia Pro Day, Smith became a hot commodity and embarked on a month-long tour working out for several NFL teams.
The Jets hold the No. 9 overall pick and have yet to give any clear indication as to what player or which position they have their sights set on with their first round selection. There’s also no guarantee that Smith falls into New York’s lap and he could fly off the draft board as high as No. 1 overall with the Kansas City Chiefs already bringing the former Mountaineer star in for a private workout this week. Of the eight teams ahead of Gang Green in the draft order, the Jacksonville Jaguars are in most dire need of a quarterback with Chad Henne, Jordan Palmer and Blaine Gabbert headlining one of the NFL’s weakest rosters.
It’s conceivable that if the Jaguars pass up on their opportunity to take Smith, the Jets could restructure the foundation of the franchise and enter a new chapter with a Geno-era underway in New York. While Idzik and crew have no assurances that Smith will be available when the Jets are on the clock, Gang Green can ill-afford to neglect a chance for a fresh start that will help wash away the horrors and disappointments of the past two seasons.