AFC East: Nate Davis
Of the 11 quarterbacks selected in this weekend's draft, the New York Jets took the least-experienced in terms of game action.
Southern California star Mark Sanchez, however, comes from a pro-style offense and has played against a higher-caliber of competition that certainly puts him ahead of prospects like Ball State's Nate Davis or Mike Teel of Rutgers.
USC practices probably are more competitive than games in some conferences.
Former USC quarterback Matt Cassel didn't start a single game and led the New England Patriots to an 11-5 record last year.
But for those interested in games started, here is how this year's quarterbacks ranked:
- Mike Teel, Rutgers (42)
- Pat White, West Virginia (42)
- Curtis Painter, Purdue (41)
- Davis, Ball State (34)
- Tom Brandstater, Fresno State (34)
- Matthew Stafford, Georgia (34)
- Josh Freeman, Kansas State (32)
- Stephen McGhee, Texas A&M (30)
- Rhett Bomar, Sam Houston State (29)
- Keith Null, West Texas A&M (26)
- Sanchez, USC (16)
Team needs: Quarterback, receiver, cornerback
Dream scenario: The Jets went into the offseason with numerous positional needs to address, and they got around to all but two of them through free agency. The leftovers are biggies: quarterback and receiver.
|Jody Gomez/US Presswire|
|The Jets could use help at QB, but will one of the top three prospects, such as former Trojan Mark Sanchez, be available at No. 17?|
Brett Favre retired, leaving a three-way competition among Kellen Clemens, Brett Ratliff and Erik Ainge. They have a combined eight NFL starts. Many observers considered receiver an area the Jets needed to improve even before veteran Laveranues Coles negotiated his way off the team.
The Jets hold only six draft picks, the fewest among AFC East teams. Unless they make a trade, their first crack is at No. 17, and they'll have to wait until No. 52 to go again.
If the Jets want to take a quarterback, most draft evaluators insist they'll need to get one of the top three: Georgia's Matthew Stafford, Southern California's Mark Sanchez or Kansas State's Josh Freeman.
There's a significant drop-off after that trio, and there are no guarantees any will be there at No. 17. The Jets might have to swing a deal to elbow ahead in the draft order. Next up is West Virginia's Pat White, who likely will be drafted as a receiver. Nate Davis of Ball State is considered the fourth-best passer, and he still might be available in the third or fourth round.
If the Jets want to go receiver, Texas Tech's Michael Crabtree and Missouri's Jeremy Maclin will be long gone at No. 17. If the Jets can come away with Maryland's Darrius Heyward-Bey or North Carolina's Hakeem Nicks, they will be filling a significant need.
Plan B: Another possibility is cornerback. Although the Jets have bolstered their secondary with Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland, the Jets could snag another for the future. Ohio State's Malcolm Jenkins could slip to them, but probably not. Illinois' Vontae Davis might be a reach at No. 17.
If Louisiana State defensive end Tyson Jackson somehow slides, the Jets should be thrilled. Jackson projects as a stellar 3-4 run-stopper.
Scouts Inc. take: "As the offseason has shown, they're a very defensive-minded, decision-making group right now. But their offensive needs are glaring. They need to find a passing game. They need to find at least one receiver, preferably a No. 1-type guy because Jerricho Cotchery is not a No. 1, but if Sanchez is there, you've got to pounce on him. If he starts to fall, maybe you even make a package to move up and grab him." -- Matt Williamson
Who has final say: General manager Mike Tannenbaum and rookie head coach Rex Ryan will work in concert.
Now On the Clock: San Diego Chargers, March 31.