It's time for the New York Jets to continue their search for a franchise quarterback. It's apparent that Geno Smith, who threw three interceptions in only eight pass attempts on Sunday, is not the long-term answer. Neither is 34-year-old Michael Vick.
Fortunately for the Jets, their quarterback duo - who have combined for a passer rating of 56.9 - and banged up secondary have put the team in a position for a top-five pick, thanks to their 1-7 record. This pick could be the solution for New York's never-ending quarterback problems, and it's possible that the Jets already have someone on their radar.
"[Owner Woody] Johnson, smitten with [Mark] Sanchez in the run-up to the 2009 draft, will fall head over heels for Oregon's Marcus Mariota during the evaluation process in a few months," wrote Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.
"Mariota, who has completed nearly 70% of his passes with a 24-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio this season, is a star in the making. At 6-4, 219 pounds with 4.5 40 speed, Mariota has been described as a freakish blend of Ben Roethlisberger and Colin Kaepernick, a deadly dual-threat quarterback with the competitiveness, intelligence and mental toughness to excel at the next level."
The Oakland Raiders (0-7) are projected to land the first overall pick in the draft, but they have been pleased with the promise shown by second-round rookie Derek Carr so far this season. The Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons, Minnesota Vikings and Washington Redskins all will also be in a position for a top-five pick. However, those teams (presumably) have their franchise quarterbacks already on their roster.
"The Jets would get a 'potential coup,' so to speak, if they land Mariota."
Florida State quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston is the only other passer to get a first-round grade on the Big Board of ESPN's draft expert Mel Kiper. However, Mehta describes him as "the ultimate boom-or-bust consideration," while Kiper noted that he "still needs time to prove doubters wrong."