New York Jets’ 2022 NFL draft strategy will be impacted by the demand for quarterbacks
Last year, the New York Jets drafted a first-round quarterback for the second time in four years. With second overall pick Zach Wilson slated to start his sophomore season this upcoming September, the Jets will be out of the QB market this offseason.
That said, the strength (or lack thereof) of the 2022 QB class could still affect the Jets and their offseason strategy.
First and foremost, it’s important to take note of the top quarterback prospects in the 2022 NFL draft. Unlike most years, there’s not a clear number one. There’s no Trevor Lawrence, there’s no Joe Burrow, and there’s no Kyler Murray.
As of mid-January, there does seem to be a consensus top six, though: Ole Miss’ Matt Corral, Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett, Liberty’s Malik Willis, North Carolina’s Sam Howell, Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder, and Nevada’s Carson Strong.
Even for a QB-needy team, it would be hard to picture one of these six going first overall. And they likely won’t, but at least a couple could sneak their way into the top 10, which could change the Jets’ draft strategy.
The Jets will select at Nos. 4 and 10 in the 2022 NFL draft, and as previously stated, will be out of the QB market. At the same time, they have one of the worst overall rosters in the NFL. If more players that your team doesn’t need are being drafted around where you pick, it will ultimately help you in bettering your team.
There are two main ways that the number of teams in the QB market could help the Jets. First, someone ahead of them takes a QB, causing prospects at positions of need to drop into their lap. Second, if a team behind the Jets at four or 10 wants to trade up to take a QB, general manager Joe Douglas could move down and get more draft capital to build his roster.
The number of teams in the market for a QB is important because it will dictate the number of picks used on QBs, as well as how much teams are willing to give up in trades and how likely they are to reach on a QB prospect because of positional value.
As of now, it is unlikely that any team ahead of the Jets at four will take a QB. The Jaguars have Trevor Lawrence, the Lions are in a premium position to land a bluechip edge rusher, and the Texans will presumably want to see what they have in Davis Mills, who they drafted in the third round last year.
After the Jets selection at four, however, almost every team from five to nine could possibly be in the market for a QB: the Giants, the Panthers, the Giants again, the Falcons, and the Broncos.
Aside from the Falcons and Matt Ryan, the three other teams head into the offseason with uncertainty at the position. With the Giants and Broncos hiring new head coaches in the coming weeks, comfortability with their current starting QBs could change from now until the draft.
Other teams that could potentially trade up with the Jets or in front of them for a QB include the Washington Football Team, the Vikings, the Browns, the Saints, and the Steelers.
There is a lot of time left until the draft in April, and QBs will rise and fall on big boards throughout that time frame, but it’s something Joe Douglas and his staff will likely be keeping an eye on. Sometimes teams overvalue taking a QB in the first round because of the value of having a good one, so reaching for a lesser talent is commonplace in the NFL.
A weaker QB class often will hurt teams that aren’t even in the market for a QB because prospects at positions of need will fly off the board, but with so many teams needy at the position, organizations like the Jets could take advantage.