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You have been hearing this narrative a lot recently, but Joe Douglas probably needs to avoid this way of thinking.
And Douglas was asked a couple times about this common narrative during his pre-draft press conference on Thursday.
Here is the narrative in the words of a former NFL scout – “For me if you’re trying to put yourself in that situation, this whole draft would be about Zach Wilson for me, at least early on. We’re going to devote as many resources as we can to give him the opportunity that Sam didn’t have, which is to have some good people in front of him and a lot of options of where to go with the football.”
Joe can’t draft this way, and he knows it.
“There is a balance you try to strike,” said Douglas in response to the first question about this – there were two. “You are trying to build the best team that you can possible build. This is also an opportunity to do everything we can to provide what we can to make the young QB successful. There is a balance there.”
The theory is that the Jets can’t fail the next QB like they did Darnold by not surrounding him with the best supporting cast, i.e. line and weapons.
First of all, as I have said myriad times, if Darnold’s issues were solely related to line and weapons, then why did they trade him? Why not keep them, and fix those supposed problem?
Resetting the financial clock is fine, but you don’t worry about paying the QB if you feel you have an elite QB. It’s worth the money.
And this idea being pushed that the Jets need to load up on weapons for the new QB is a tad overblown. They just paid two free agents – Corey Davis and Keelan Cole – pretty good money, especially Davis. Davis will start, and Cole could start, but if not, play a lot. They drafted Denzel Mims last year who looks like a good one, and one of the NFL’s top slop receivers, Jamison Crowder, is still in the building. There are other guys in the receiver room they really like, but that’s for another day. Chris Herndon, who finished strong last year, could be special in the Jets’ new offense that features the tight end more.
I’m not saying they won’t pick a wide receiver and tight end (or running back) in this draft, but this idea that they have to be obsessed throughout the draft process with weapons for the new QB, is short-sighted.
As for the line, no doubt there were issues at times, but just as much of an issue was Darnold holding the ball too long, and not making quick enough decisions with the rock.
But here is a just as important point to counter this popular narrative. Even if you think Darnold was a victim of his weapons and line, you could make an argument he was also let down by his defense.
Darnold wasn’t the kind of QB who was going to win a shootout with a big-time QB across the way, like a Tom Brady. So the best winning formula for him was/is to keep the score manageable with a strong defense. The Jets’ defense, especially their pass defense. was so porous the last couple of years, it created a lot of big deficits for Darnold that were tough for him to overcome.
So with that being said, Darnold, or any young quarterback, needs the powers-that-be to make sure they have the requisite defensive pieces, to keep the score down.
And the Jets enter this draft with a lot of needs on defense, especially at all-important cornerback position. If I’m the Jets, I might pick two or three of them.
So no, Douglas should not enter this draft preoccupied with the offensive side of the ball to buttress the new young QB.
He needs to stick the board, and pick the best value available on either side of the ball, when the Jets are on the clock.
And I think he will.
April 23, 2021
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