Ranking the 11 Best QB Options for the New York Jets in 2013
At 4-7 it's fairly safe to say that the Jets' 2012 season is effectively finished. There will be many questions about this team, one of them being who will play quarterback.
This isn't a slam against Mark Sanchez, but there's a good chance that after two successful seasons where he led the Jets to the AFC Championship game followed by two seasons of failure, New York might choose to re-evaluate what they have and go from there.
So where could the Jets go? Let's take a look at 10 options for the Jets going forward. Why 11? Because I like to go one step beyond.
11. Jason Campbell
Yes, we've reached that part of the list—the one where Jason Campbell becomes a serious suggestion.
Campbell is a free agent after this season. In his one start this year...well, let's just forget about that.
Overall, Campbell's career has been a story of some bad luck. In Washington, he struggled due to constant changes in coaches and offensive schemes. In Oakland, he started off well until an injury ended his 2011 season, which forced the Raiders to bring in Carson Palmer.
With the Jets, Campbell would likely get his best chance of starting.
Would it be ideal for the Jets? Not at all. Nothing on this list is really "ideal." However, the Jets could do a lot worse than Jason Campbell as a place-holder.
10. Logan Thomas
This pick depends on a lot of factors, including whether or not Logan Thomas decides to stay at Virginia Tech for one more season.
After his season with the Hokies, he definitely should stay. His draft stock has plummeted due to his and the team's inconsistency.
Despite that, he's worth a gamble in the draft for a team that needs a quarterback but decides to address other needs first. The New York Jets fit that profile, and drafting Thomas could be a possibility if he chooses to leave school early.
9. Landry Jones
Much like that of Matt Barkley, Oklahoma's Landry Jones' stock has taken a tumble this season. He's now considered a second- or third-round selection, after being considered a first-rounder last season.
Jones' career at Oklahoma has been uneven; however, he has proven that he has the toughness for the NFL to go along with his skills.
Improving those skills has been an issue, which makes him more of a project piece. For the Jets, he could be a project worth the investment in the third round.
8. Matt Moore
Let's pretend that the powers that be who run the New York Jets are dumb enough to bring back Tony Sparano as offensive coordinator. Or worse—promote him to head coach after firing Rex Ryan.
I honestly doubt that will happen, but dumber decisions have been made within this organization.
Matt Moore would be a potential place-holder starter with the Jets. He is an impending free agent who has shown himself to be a decent quarterback when given the opportunity.
In 2011, Moore went 6-6 after taking over an 0-4 Dolphins team, which prevented them from getting Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III. In his single 2012 appearance in relief of Ryan Tannehill, he led Miami to its most recent victory—against the New York Jets.
Signing Moore would be a move that Tony Sparano would make. At first, he would back up Sanchez/Tebow or a rookie quarterback (assuming that the Jets move away from Sanchez).
However, considering his history with the Dolphins and Carolina Panthers, he would wind up taking over the starting job at some point in the season.
7. Greg McElroy
There's a good chance that the Jets' quarterback of the future is already on the roster.
Consider this: Their backup quarterback was one of the best quarterbacks in SEC history.
He appeared in two SEC Championship games and won an SEC title. On top of those achievements, he dominated in the National Championship game, capping off an undefeated season for his team.
I'm not talking about Tim Tebow.
I'm talking about Greg McElroy, the Jets' third-string quarterback.
Although McElroy was only a seventh-round pick in 2011, he was a proven winner in high school and college.
Jets fans, remember the last Alabama quarterback who played for the Jets?
Joe Namath worked out fairly well. McElroy might be a successful option. too.
6. Tim Tebow
Some readers might be annoyed that Tebow is on this list, but I figured I had to get this selection out of the way.
Besides, Tim Tebow is under contract for 2013. According to Spotrac.com, he will make $2.586 million next year with a $1.972 million bonus.
The Jets' cap hit for Tebow: $3.616 million.
That's a bargain.
Tebow, however, will need an offense that is built specifically around him. For this to work, the Jets would have to invest further in their offensive line (a good idea regardless of the quarterback). They would also have to improve the power running game, which they have attempted to run in the last four seasons to varying degrees of success.
Is Tebow the ideal choice? Not really.
But as a worst-case scenario, he could work for the Jets.
5. Michael Vick
This is the best example of Woody Johnson logic.
Michael Vick will be available in the offseason, and I wouldn't discount the possibility of him wearing a Jets uniform in 2013.
He would be a slight improvement over Mark Sanchez.
Is he a turnover machine? Yes, but partly due to Philadelphia's porous offensive line.
The Jets' line is slightly better than Philadelphia's, and is likely more capable of keeping Vick on his feet.
Vick also still has a lot of skill left and is able to make plays on his own. We've seen him do that this season.
This would happen in two stages.
Second, the Jets would have to continue the losing strategy of winning the back pages in the offseason. Vick would cause an even bigger buzz than Tebow (for opposite reasons), and would be far more polarizing.
4. E.J. Manuel
If the Jets choose to address one of their many other needs in Round 1, they could do worse than drafting Florida State's E.J. Manuel in Round 2.
Manuel's two seasons in Tallahassee have been a mixed bag; however, he does have Florida State on the cusp of its first ACC Championship since 2006. With a few lucky breaks, he could lead the Seminoles to its first National Championship since 1999.
Manuel has had a phenomenal 2012 season with the 'Noles, throwing for 2,785 yards, 21 touchdowns and only six interceptions. He has raised his draft stock, and it wouldn't surprise me if a team gambled on him in the later rounds.
If that team is the Jets, it wouldn't be much of a shock. While Manuel might take some time to adjust to the pro game, his skill set is worth picking up.
3. Matt Barkley
At the start of the 2012 season, I would have been crazy to suggest that Matt Barkley would be available for the Jets to draft.
The Trojan quarterback was a Heisman front-runner, and the Trojans were considered the No. 1 team in the country. However, an inconsistent season from both USC and Barkley has not only dropped USC out of the Top 25, but has also dropped Barkley down on many draft boards.
Despite that, Barkley has the tools to flourish as an NFL quarterback.
If the Jets decide to turn the page on the Sanchez era, the next quarterback might be the man who succeeded him at USC.
2. Collin Klein
Collin Klein going to New York would be a lot like Tim Tebow going to New York—except Klein will likely have a better NFL career than Tebow, if given the chance.
Klein is a dual-threat quarterback in every way.
Defenses don't want him to run the ball, but he can be dangerous passing the ball, too. He has been the most exciting player in college football this year, and he will likely make a trip to New York in December to collect a well-deserved Heisman Trophy.
How would it go over if he were a Jet? I think it would go over well. He does have an arm, which is more than some people would say about Tebow, and he has a reputation for winning (and looking great in the process).
Klein would have to make some adjustments, and it's unlikely he'd start right away. But if the Jets decide to draft and develop Klein the right way, then they would put the AFC East on notice. The Jets might not win instantly, but they would be dangerous in a year or two (which is why Klein is my No. 2 pick).
The kid is just that good, and the best news for the Jets is that he will likely last well into Round 3 or even Round 4.
1. Mark Sanchez
Since none of these choices is the most "ideal," Sanchez is actually the best choice.
The draft class of 2013 isn't ripe with quarterback prospects, and I kept Geno Smith off of the list due to the fact that he will likely go No. 1. None of the aforementioned quarterbacks is ready to start right now.
With Sanchez, the Jets have a mature quarterback who has already been to two AFC Championships.
Keep in mind that his coaches have been Brian Schottenheimer and Tony Sparano. Then add the Tebow distraction and Santonio Holmes' injury.
You know what? Sanchez has gotten a raw deal.
The Jets could salvage Sanchez' career, but only if they keep him and instead jettison Rex Ryan and Tony Sparano. Then they would have to bring in an offensive-minded coach with a reputation for developing quarterbacks.
I could see Sanchez excelling in New York under a Chip Kelly-run offense.
Sanchez is the best option going forward for the Jets.