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Tuesday, December 3, 2013
One less quarterback in draft pool

By Rich Cimini

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, projected as a top-5 pick in next spring's NFL draft, announced Tuesday that he's staying in school for another season. That means there will one less top prospect for the quarterback-needy New York Jets to evaluate.

If the season ended now, the Jets (5-7) would own the 11th pick, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Even if they finish 5-11, there's virtually no chance of cracking the top 5, meaning Mariota was only a pipe dream. The same can be said for Louisville junior Teddy Bridgewater, assuming he enters the draft. The Jets could be looking at the second tier of quarterbacks, but because of the intense demand at the position, that group could get pushed up the rankings, perhaps beyond the Jets' reach.

According to Mel Kiper's Big Board, the next-best prospects are Texas A & M's Johnny Manziel and UCLA's Brett Hundley.

This, of course, is based on the assumption the Jets will be looking to draft a quarterback. A lot can happen between now and then.