With the First Pick in the 2018 NFL Draft the New York Jets Select….

The season may be another three months away but the debate has already started on who is likely to be taken early in next year’s draft. Jets fan Andy Turner suspects his team might already have their sights set on the number one pick…

If the rumour is to be believed, and looking at the roster moves this off-season you cannot help but wonder, the Jets are looking to tank next season. Tanking, for those unfamiliar with the term, is basically being garbage on purpose, as opposed to by accident (which is something the Jets have easily accomplished in other seasons without having to make a conscious effort!).

Tanking is something that first seemed to make headlines in the NBA in recent years with the Philadelphia 76ers being fairly blatant about it.*

So why would the Jets be tanking this season? 

Well they need a quarterback of the future and there are a couple of likely candidates who may be entering the 2018 draft. It would certainly not be unprecedented for a team to do this; see the Indianapolis Colts’ “Suck for Luck” season, when they went 2-14 and were rewarded with the number one pick which they used on Stanford’s Andrew Luck.

So who might the Jets have in their sights for next year?

Sam Darnold, QB, USC

Darnold, a red-shirt freshman, was inserted into the USC starting line-up in week 4 of the regular season.  He proceeded to be the catalyst that turned around his teams’ season, saved HC Clay Helton’s job and now has USC being touted as a possible playoff team for this season. He is also being mentioned in the Heisman Trophy conversation.

He has the prototypical size and put up some eye-catching performances, capping a 9-3 regular season with a stunning 453 yd 5TD performance in the Rose Bowl.  To be a possible number one pick he has to match that, but he has a big stage to do it in LA. 

There is some doubt that he may not be ready for the pros and he has no need to graduate yet. There is also a nagging thought that there hasn’t been a decent NFL QB out of USC since Carson Palmer.

Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

Allen is already being compared to Eagles QB, Carson Wentz. He’s from a small school in the north, he had no scholarship offers in high school yet has earned himself a burgeoning reputation at the college level.  Just for good measure, his offensive coordinator was Wentz’s QB coach at North Dakota. 

Those in the know think he genuinely has a chance to be the 1st passer drafted in next year’s draft. He could have entered the draft this year but wisely chose to have another year. Wyoming are not North Dakota in terms of winning though, and Allen could be this year’s Brad Kaaya.

Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

At the start of last season Rosen was Sam Darnold; the king of college football in LA. One of the hottest QB prospects in the country out of high school, he had thrown for 3669 yds and 23 TDs in his first season with the Bruins. 

His second season was a different story, struggles with a new offensive system and a season limited by injury to only six games mean that the man once labelled ‘chosen Rosen’ has faced some adversity. He now has the chance to prove that is capable of overcoming it. He has been eclipsed in LA by Darnold, which may not be a bad thing as he will have to step it up to regain the spotlight.

The questions over Rosen surround his health and ability to adapt to UCLA’s pro style scheme. If this is to be his last season in college football he needs to answer each unequivocally.

Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn. State

I read a comment about Barkley that said “…Barkley is the kind of freakish athlete whose NFL combine performance will go viral in a hurry”

If you believe that a running back will ever go no. 1 in the draft again, Barkley might be that back.  He was awesome in the Rose Bowl, which was one of the best college games of the 2016 season, putting up 194yds and two TD’s in a losing effort. For the season he had 1495 yards and 18 TDs.

Ezekiel Elliott has shown the impact that top backs can have on an NFL team and if Leonard Fournette does for the Jags this season what he showed in college then Barkley’s stock will surely rise.

Top Non-Offensive Players (would you Tank for a Defensive player or an O lineman?)

Derwin James, S, Florida State

Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson

Arden Key, Edge Defender, LSU

Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas

Da’Shawn Hand, DL, Alabama

*Sam Hinkie GM of the Philadelphia 76ers pretty much owned this concept over the last few seasons, right up to his eventual firing!  He is an interesting guy, worth a follow on social media and it will be interesting see where he turns up in the future.

Andy Turner

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Andy Turner
College Football Anorak from Britains Steel City. Boomer, GO Jets
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