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Dear Jets: Why the New York Jets should draft a quarterback

Just a Jets fan pleading with his team to get a quarterback, and the fantasy implications of them doing so.

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Dear Jets,

Please draft a quarterback.

To clarify, I don’t mean, “Please draft a quarterback at some point on Thursday.” I mean, draft one of the premier options. Use that No. 6 overall pick or trade back a few spots to grab someone who can potentially start right away. I’m talking Mitchell Trubisky, Deshaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes II, or even DeShone Kizer.

I know there are other spots to fill. I know we have a lot of holes. I know we need to boost our secondary and strengthen our offensive line. But please, for the love of Joe Namath, draft a quarterback. It would mean more to me than you could ever know.

Sincerely,

Alex

***

Quick aside:

If you aren’t a Jets fan (which I am, if that wasn’t clear), you probably don’t know that we’ve selected a quarterback in each of the last four drafts. In round 2 of 2013, it was the dynamic Geno Smith. Round 6 of 2014: Clemson product Tajh Boyd. Round 4 of 2015: Slinger Bryce Petty out of Baylor. And last year, the mysterious Christian Hackenberg in round 2.

None of these guys have panned out. In fact, our coaching staff was so down on Hackenberg that we wouldn’t even give him a chance down the stretch last season (and we were pretty pretty bad, reaching 20 points in just 2 of the final 7 games).

Our tendency has been to select a defensive player in the first round and use late picks to address offensive deficiencies. To be fair, a number of our defensive guys have developed nicely, including Leonard Williams, Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson.

But here’s what happens (or is bound to happen). The Wilkersons hold down one side of the ball, while we catastrophically struggle on the other (we’ve finished in the top 15 in total yards only once in the last 6 years, and in the top 15 in passing yards only once since 2003). We send our studs to the Pro Bowl. They gain the prestige and recognition that they deserve. Then they leave and join the Patriots or the Giants.

And I guess if we’re lucky, they come back as a shell of what they once were. Jets fans know what I’m talking about.

In my opinion, the number 1 priority is building up that offense; and we can sit here and argue about the relative importance of positions, but you NEED at least a Top 15 quarterback to compete at the next level in the NFL. You don’t NEED a Top 15 right guard. I’m not saying whoever we draft will be that guy right away (or even for the next few years), but we have to give it a shot.

Wow, that was a much longer aside than I anticipated.

***

Dear fantasy football owners,

Here are five reasons why this matters:

Reason 1: My desperate plea begs the divisive fantasy question – which of the four quarterbacks listed above will be the best (in terms of fantasy) if handed the keys right away? I’m no draft expert, but I think Deshaun Watson.

My decision was predicated on two factors: experience and mobility.

Rookie starters have a lot of pressure on them. Rookie starting quarterbacks have an IMMEASURABLE amount of pressure on them. Watson seems like the guy most capable of handling that pressure, having played in back-to-back national championships and thrown for over 400 yards in each (against Alabama, I’ll remind you).

And mobility. I like fantasy quarterbacks who have the potential to pick up 5-6 points on the ground; that way, there exists the chance that a poor passing day can be salvaged. All four of these guys have the ability to do some damage running the football, but Deshaun certainly is the most promising. He had the fastest forty time and logged a total of 1,734 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns over the last two seasons at Clemson.

Our managing editor Pete Rodgers wrote in his pre-draft rookie rankings that he “wouldn’t be too thrilled with any of these signal callers on his fantasy team.” I agree with him, to some degree. These guys certainly don’t have the same appeal as an Andrew Luck or a Marcus Mariota.

But I do believe Watson could have an immediate fantasy impact if he starts Day 1, especially in deeper leagues. I’d like to see the Jets take him sixth, and would be heartbroken to see him go fourth to Jacksonville.

Reason 2: This piece also affords me the opportunity to warn you against taking a chance on Josh McCown, should he end up being the Jets’ starter. The NFL journeyman played in 5 games for the Browns last year and had a QBR of 35.5. He turned the ball over 11 times, while throwing just 6 touchdowns.

Unfortunately, this isn’t an anomaly. The last time McCown played 10 plus games in a season was back in 2014 as a member of the Bucs. That year, he finished with 14 interceptions, 9 fumbles, and 11 touchdowns, averaging just over 200 yards per game. Not good.

It’s always enticing to swing on a guy who’s switching teams and hasn’t had a solidified starting role in awhile. But in this case, stay away.

Reason: 3: Having suffered through all 16 games last season, I’ll say this about the Jets: their receiving core has real potential, even without Brandon Marshall.

We know Eric Decker can ball. He missed most of 2016 with a hip injury, but scored 12 touchdowns and had over 1,000 yards in 2015.

I really like 24-year-old Quincy Enunwa, who had 806 yards and 4 touchdowns as the No. 2 option. I presume his role will only expand in 2017. The dude is strong, fast, and physical. He’s got the tools and the hands.

And lastly, Robby Anderson showed flashes in his rookie year, recording 42 receptions and going for 60+ yards four times. He could be a sleeper.

With even a semi-effective quarterback (AKA, not Josh McCown), these guys could have solid fantasy seasons.

Reason 4: Let’s say the Jets don’t draft a quarterback. They are reportedly considering tight end OJ Howard, who could be a force in his rookie year. If they do end up with the Alabama stud, that obviously decreases his fantasy value quite a bit.

So you should hope they take Deshaun too!

Reason 5: I just had to get this off my chest.

Sincerely,

Alex