Newyorkjets.com's coverage of the 2012 draft includes breakdowns of each position group, the Jets' needs at the spot, and the top players expected to be selected at the position from April 26-28. Today's seventh and final preview in the series: Quarterbacks.
The Jets addressed the quarterback position this offseason on a couple of occasions, inking starter Mark Sanchez to an extension and then trading for a new backup as Tim Tebow came over from Denver.
"We're adding another player. We're not replacing anybody. He's here to help us," Sanchez said after the Tebow deal. "I'm confident in my abilities. I know the team has the same belief. I'm the same guy who helped the team win a lot of games here with a lot of good guys around me, a lot of comebacks, playoff wins. I'm not worried about losing my spot. Rex [Ryan] and Mike T [general manager Mike Tannenbaum] have been absolutely clear about that."
Greg McElroy, a seventh-round pick from Alabama last April, will start the spring third on the depth chart. So when the draft starts in April, the Jets will be spectators as the QB dominoes start to fall.
The Big Three
Barring a late change in the forecast, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III will be selected Nos. 1 and 2 overall and will make their homes next season in Indianapolis and Washington respectively.
Some have called Luck the top QB prospect in the past 20 years. The 6'4", 235-pounder set Stanford records with 82 touchdown passes and 10,387 yards of total offense while completing 69 percent of his passes. After the Cardinal had suffered seven consecutive losing seasons, Luck led them to a 31-7 mark as a starter and 24-5 in conference play.
RG3, who claimed the Heisman Trophy in 2011, set or tied 54 school records in 41 games played for the Bears. The dual threat, who became one of only three players in FBS history with at least 10,000 yards passing and 2,000 yards rushing, threw for 78 TDs and added 33 on the ground at Baylor. Griffin met with Redskins Wednesday in the nation's capital.
Just how far will Ryan Tannehill climb up the draft board? Some pundits now believe the Texas A&M product has vaulted himself into Top 10 status and that the Browns could take the plunge at No. 4.
Tannehill, a 6'4", 221-pounder, had six 300-yard passing games last season. He was the sixth-most-accurate passer in school history with a 62.5 completion percentage and he ranks fifth with 42 touchdown passes. Since he excelled at wide receiver before moving under center, Tannehill became the only player in FBS history to total more than 4,000 passing yards and 1,500 receiving yards in a career. If he is on the board at No. 8, he may be Miami-bound.
Kirk Cousinsis a natural-born leader and he was the only three-time captain in Michigan State history. He also was the Spartans' winningest QB ever with 27 victories as he led Sparty to a 22-5 mark over the past two seasons. The 6'3", 214-pound Cousins doesn't have a rocket launcher for an arm, but he's an interesting prospect and likely won't slip past the third round.
"Old" Brandon, Young Brock
The wild card among the signalcallers isBrandon Weeden. A second-round pick of the New York Yankees back in Major League Baseball's 2002 draft, the 6'4", 221-pound Weeden is 28 years old. Weeden was a two-year starter for Oklahoma State and led the Cowboys to a 12-1 record and a Fiesta Bowl triumph over Luck's Cardinal last season.
Working almost entirely out of the shotgun at OSU, Weeden passed for 9,260 yards and 75 scores in just two years as a starter. He'll probably be drafted in the second round and perhaps he could start immediately if the fit is right.
Brock Osweiler, on the other hand, is just 21 and started only 15 games at Arizona State. He's a giant at 6'7" and 242 pounds and doesn't have any problems looking over defenses. He had seven career 300-yard games at ASU and became the first Sun Devils QB to throw for more than 4,000 yards in a season. Former Jets offensive assistant Noel Mazzone mentored Osweiler last season before he departed for UCLA.
Russell Wilson's stock is climbing after the Wisconsin product reportedly hit on 59 of his 63 attempts at his pro day. Often on target last season, the 5'11" Wilson completed 72.8 percent of his passes for the Badgers. Of his accuracy Wilson said: "I think it's something that's going to be huge in the NFL. Obviously, you always want to be accurate with the football. You want to deliver the ball on time and put it in a place where only your guy can get it."
After three highly productive seasons at N.C. State, Wilson had a spectacular year in Madison with 33 passing TDs and 3,175 passing yards. The mobile QB will likely be either a third- or fourth-round selection in the draft.
Listed at 6'0" and 197 pounds, lefty Kellen Moore is not going to blow anyone anyway with his measurables. But his 50 wins at Boise State are the most for any quarterback in NCAA history. Moore ranks second on the NCAA's all-time list with 142 career TD passes and fourth with his 69.8 percent completion accuracy.
B.J. Coleman, Chattanooga; Nick Foles, Arizona; Case Keenum, Houston; Ryan Lindley, San Diego State; Patrick Witt, Yale.