An open letter to the New York Jets:
Don’t do it. Don’t draft Zach Wilson. Give the kid a break; pick someone else. The Ohio State quarterback, for instance. Or whoever that guy is from North Dakota State.
When the Jets traded away Sam Darnold to the Panthers — thus, ending their latest quarterback fail — the New York Post ran a headline: “The Jets now belong to Zach Wilson.”
Thanks for nothing.
Former NFL wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who spent two seasons with the Jets, says Ohio State’s Justin Fields should be picked before Wilson.
He’s absolutely right.
Let Wilson fall to the 49ers with the third pick. Boy, will they be, ahem, sorry.
Look, the Jets are to quarterbacks what Larry King was to marriage. Look at their record.
They traded up to get the fifth pick of the 2009 draft and used it to select Mark Sanchez. He lasted four seasons before the team released him.
Sanchez was still on the roster when they made Geno Smith the 39th pick of the 2013 draft. He was the starter for all of two seasons and then got kicked to the curb.
They drafted Bryce Petty in the fourth round in 2015. He lasted three seasons and played in just 10 games. Done.
They made Darnold the third pick of the 2018 draft. He’s gone.
QBs drafted by New York Jets since 2006
James Morgan, 4th round, 2020
Sam Darnold, 1st round, 2018
Christian Hackenberg, 2nd round 2016
Bryce Petty, 4th round, 2015
Tajh Boyd, 6th round, 2014
Geno Smith, 2nd round, 2013
Greg McElroy, 7th round, 2011
Mark Sanchez, 1st round, 2009
Erik Ainge, 5th round, 2008
Kellen Clemens, 2nd round, 2006
Brad Smith, 4th round, 2006
The Jets have switched quarterbacks a dozen times the last five seasons. They tried journeymen Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh McCown, who have played for 18 teams between them. They tried Luke Falk (the Logan native), Trevor Siemian and Joe Flacco.
In the last 15 years, the Jets have drafted 11 quarterbacks, four in the first two rounds. To quote Rooster Cogburn, “Well, that didn’t pan out.”
Meanwhile, the Packers have had two starting quarterbacks in 29 years. The Chiefs, Saints, Patriots, Falcons, Seahawks, Giants and Steelers, among other teams, also have had stability at the position.
It might surprise you to know that the Jets have had one winning season in the last decade. Who thought it was that many?
Do you realize that the Jets’ all-time leader in starts is still Joe Namath? Namath is the single-most overrated football player in history (look at his stats, just for fun), and he’s still the most successful player they’ve had at the position. That’s more than a half-century ago.
So much of a quarterback’s success depends on landing with the right team, even for the very best players. What if Matthew Stafford hadn’t spent the first 12 years of his career with the Detroit Lions? How different would Jim McMahon’s career have been if he hadn’t been saddled with the Bears, who haven’t had a great quarterback since, what, Sid Luckman (look him up, kids).
Steve Young got lucky. His career was going nowhere with Tampa Bay. Then Bill Walsh threw him a lifeline and brought him to San Francisco, where he was parked on the sideline for a few seasons. The best thing to happen to Brett Favre was getting traded from Atlanta to Green Bay.
Players know this, of course. They know what teams are dead ends. John Elway was drafted by the Colts but refused to play for them and forced a trade to Denver. Eli Manning did the same thing when he was drafted by San Diego; he forced a trade to the Giants.
Quarterbacks are the most valuable commodity of every team and great effort is made to select the right one, but it remains a crapshoot. As noted by Pro Football Talk, of the 22 quarterbacks drafted in the first round between 2009 and 2016, not one is expected to be playing for his original team this season, if in the league at all. The draftees: Stafford, Sanchez, Josh Freeman, Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow, Cam Newton, Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder, Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden, EJ Manuel, Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz,and Paxton Lynch.
Where will Wilson be in a few years? Much depends on being selected by a team in which quarterbacks thrive. History shows that isn’t the Jets.
Correction: The original version of this column incorrectly stated that the Jets traded Sam Darnold to move up to No. 2 in the draft. The Jets always had the No. 2 overall pick.