Florham Park, NJ – While New York Jets players got the rest they needed after playing ten straight games, management and the coaching staff took the time to think about the rest of the season.
The Jets (4-6) got this week off after falling to the Ryan Fitzpatrick-led Tampa Bay Buccaneers 15-10 last Sunday. A win in that game could’ve put the Jets at 5-5 with a ton of confidence before hosting the Carolina Panthers Thanksgiving Weekend. From the beginning of the season, head coach Todd Bowles has said that the goal of the Jets was to win. Now they come up on a tough portion of their schedule which features four playoff-contending teams, putting the front office in a dilemma: do they go for an early first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft or the playoffs?
The answer is simple: go for the pick. At this point, the Jets have figured out Christian Hackenberg isn’t progressing as much as they would like, Bryce Petty isn’t the long-term answer for the team, and Josh McCown is a short-term answer at best. If the Jets are to go for a quarterback in the draft, this coming draft is the one to do it. This draft class is one of the most QB-stacked classes. The Browns, Giants, and 49ers will most likely get the first several picks so they won’t get Sam Darnold from USC or Josh Rosen from UCLA. Still, the possibility of ending up with Josh Allen from Wyoming, Lamar Jackson from Louisville, or Baker Mayfield from Oklahoma is there.
Another reason to go for the pick is the upcoming opponents on their schedule. Carolina is contending with New Orleans for the NFC South division, so neither team is going to be playing to lose. The Saints look especially tough after their 47-10 manhandling of the Buffalo Bills. The Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots aren’t feeling the pressure for their divisions, but that doesn’t mean they’ll go easy on the Jets. Facing the Denver Broncos on the road will be a tough challenge, regardless of how they’ve played so far. Basically, the only game that the Jets are favored to win in the upcoming stretch is at home against the Los Angeles Chargers.
For these reasons alone, the Jets’ front office and coaching should consider going for an early first-round pick over the playoffs. Petty and Hackenberg aren’t the Franchise QB that Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles were hoping for and McCown will just be a Fitzpatrick 2.0. While they won’t get Darnold nor Rosen, they can’t go wrong with Allen, Jackson, or Mayfield. Besides, the rest of the schedule doesn’t play in the Jets favor. They’re facing the Panthers, the Chiefs, the Saints, and the Patriots, who are all contenders for the playoffs, and the Broncos in Denver, which is always tough to win in. For Jets fans, the matchup against the Panthers will give insight into what direction the team is heading in.
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