Will the Jets Draft a QB Early?

Less than four calendar years ago, the Jets traded up in the first-round to select a USC QB with the No. 5 overall selection.  Mark Sanchez became the first Jets QB selected in the opening round since Chad Pennington in 2000 and the hope was the team had found its signal caller for the next decade.  Despite starting only 16 games on the collegiate level and former USC coach Pete Carroll indicating Sanchez wasn't ready for the NFL, draft pundits were impressed with his arm strength, accuracy and footwork.

But with the 2013 NFL Draft now three weeks away, Sanchez has lost a firm hold on the No. 1 job and there will be an open competition for the starting position.  The Jets currently have five QBs on their roster as veteran David Garrard was added in free agency and Greg McElroy, Tim Tebow and Matt Simms remain in the mix.  While many who cover the team ultimately believe Tebow won't be here at the start of the 2013 season, the Jets may elect to add another passer in the draft.

The Green & White currently own the No. 9 overall selection in the first-round, but they aren't the only team at the top of this draft that has QB questions.  There have been a couple of interesting transactions around the league the past few days and you wonder how they could impact selection weekend.

The Buffalo Bills signed Kevin Kolb, the Oakland Raiders traded for Matt Flynn and the Carson Palmer watch is on in Oaktown.  Could Palmer, who still remains a member of the Silver & Black, be on his way to Arizona and paired up with Larry Fitzgerald?

On the surface, the Bills and Raiders moves give both clubs insurance policies.  They still may elect to draft quarterbacks (most believe it's a lock for B-Lo), but there is no pressure to get desperate on Thursday night.

As recently as last week, it appeared that there were six teams — No. 2 Jacksonville (Chad Henne & Blaine Gabbert), No. 3 Oakland (Carson Palmer, Terrelle Pryror & Matt Leinart), No. 4 Philadelphia (Michael Vick & Nick Foles), No. 6 Cleveland (Brandon Weeden & Colt McCoy), No. 7 Arizona (Drew Stanton & Brian Hoyer) and No. 8 Buffalo (Tarvaris Jackson) — scheduled to pick before the Jets in round one that had uncertain QB situations.

But the picture appears a lot different with the two recent moves and the speculation that Palmer could be headed to the Valley of the Sun.  If the Jags and the Eagles bypassed a QB at No. 2 and No. 4 respectively, then where would we be headed?  As The Sports Exchange’s Rob Rang pointed out, you have to trace back to 1996 when no quarterbacks were drafted in the first-round and four QBs have been selected in round one each of the past two years.

The Jets have not held their pre-draft press conference yet, so it is impossible to know what the club is thinking.  While it still probably isn't likely, there is a chance the Jets could be on the board at No. 9 with all the QBs available.

If there isn't a run on QBs at the top of the draft, then things could get really interesting in round two.  A number of those QB cloudy clubs — Oakland, Cleveland & Buffalo — slated to pick ahead of the Jets in round one are no longer in front of them at the top of the second.

While a number of pundits believe West Virginia's Geno Smith is the top QB talent in this class, he is not a consensus No. 1.  And in all likelihood, there are going to be at least a couple of prospects who will become good/very good signal callers on the professional level.  But don't expect the meticulous John Idzik to be forced into any move in his first draft as GM.  The Jets have done their due diligence and they will be ready to strike on draft weekend.

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