Monday, April 28, 2014
Jets draft preview: Quarterback
By Rich Cimini
This is the first installment in a position-by-position analysis of the New York Jets as they prepare for the draft:
Current personnel: Geno Smith (signed through 2016), Michael Vick (2014), Matt Simms (2014).
Projected starter: Smith.
Departures: Mark Sanchez (released/Philadelphia Eagles), David Garrard (free agent).
Top salary-cap charge: Vick, $4 million.
Scouting report: Welcome to the hottest story on the team. The Smith-Vick battle in training camp will make most of the headlines, and with good reason. Right now, Vick is a better quarterback than Smith, especially since he's already familiar with Marty Mornhinweg's system, but the playing field is tilted in Smith's favor because he's a lot younger and could be the future of the franchise. Key words: Could be. They won't be as patient with him as they were last season, when, by all rights, he should've been benched. Smith fought through the adversity to finish on an upbeat note, but there needs to be a carryover. Ball security will be key, as both quarterbacks have struggled with turnovers. Since 2011, Vick has committed one turnover for every 28 dropbacks (not good). For Smith, it was one every 21 dropbacks as a rookie (not good at all).
The last time: The Jets stopped Smith's free fall last spring, drafting him in the second round and changing the landscape of the position.
Potential targets: With Smith, Vick and Simms, the Jets have quarterbacks at three different levels of experience, so they don't feel an overwhelming need at the position. But you can never rule out a middle- or late-round pick, especially with a total of 12 choices, including three in the fourth round. Jimmy Garoppolo (Eastern Illinois) and Logan Thomas (Virginia Tech) visited the Jets' facility. They've also been paying a lot of attention to Tajh Boyd (Clemson) throughout the scouting process, engaging in multiple meetings and a private workout. Boyd is an inconsistent thrower, but he's a winner. If they pick a quarterback on the first or second day, it would send a message to Smith.
Need rating (scale of 1 to 10): 5