The Jets went into the NFL Draft as living proof of an old adage: When you have too many quarterbacks, you have no quarterback.
Yet as the draft rolled on to the third day and the late rounds, the Jets kept picking, kept trading, kept moving around … and kept taking everybody except quarterbacks. When they took their final player Saturday afternoon, they had stockpiled fifth- and sixth-round picks, filled needs in their secondary, got help with pass catchers … but still had the same underwhelming people throwing to them.
And that’s a good thing.
MORE: NFL Draft Board
If one theme was pounded home in the run-up to this draft, it was that this quarterback class was nothing special. This was not the year to give in to the usual quarterback panic — the fear that you’ll miss one if you don’t grab one right now, no matter who he is and how much you had to talk yourself into liking him.
The last thing the Jets needed to do was to repeat what they’d done each of the previous four years (and five of the previous six): draft a quarterback without a clear-cut plan for him. Drafting them high, drafting them low and drafting them to add to the ones already on the roster, including the ones they signed as free agents.
That’s how they ended up where they are: looking at the most important position on the field, and not only picking a player they weren't sure was the answer, but not knowing the question in the first place.
They began the 2016 NFL Draft with Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty from the year before — not to mention offseason signee Josh McCown.
They ended it with players who were not Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson, who were both available when they took safety Jamal Adams sixth overall.
DeShone Kizer was there when they took another safety, Marcus Maye, in the second round. With Davis Webb out there in the third round, they traded down, took wide receiver ArDarius Stewart further down and let their stadium co-tenants, the Giants, take Webb.
And on Saturday, in the fourth, they traded down twice, going back 28 spots, taking another wide receiver and signaling for good that they were out of the quarterback business for this draft.
That’s a worthwhile streak to end. It served as a reminder that, unless things change drastically this offseason and in training camp, the streak ended a year late.
Hackenberg is the biggest unknown of the quarterbacks they have — the second-rounder that perplexed everybody when they took him last year, then perplexed them further when he couldn’t get on the field at all during the disaster of that season.
If that position is utter chaos, it’s still an isle of calm compared to the rest of the roster. And Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles have torn it down to build it up for that exact reason. The secondary was an abomination last season. The wide receiver spot was gutted. They found a tight end in the fifth round this year (Clemson’s Jordan Leggett) after the position was a mirage all last year.
The top quarterbacks were not going to help them with all the problems they had to address. The players they did take were very much what they needed. And after the second round, the quarterbacks in play were not worth the excess drama drafting them would have caused.
Would Webb, Josh Dobbs or Nathan Peterman have made the Jets’ quarterback situation any clearer, more encouraging or less baffling? Would Chad Kelly or Brad Kaaya satisfy anybody? And C.J. Beathard — how excited was anybody about him other than the man who drafted him so high, Kyle Shanahan?
The one thing that’s worse than passing on good quarterbacks, is reaching for inadequate ones.
Like the ones the Jets appear to have already.