If the Jets don't end up trading for Deshaun Watson, New York can still upgrade at the quarterback position in a big way during this spring's NFL draft.
In this mock draft from NFL analyst Bucky Brooks, the Jets take a quarterback with the No. 2 pick, choosing the Ohio State's Justin Fields, before adding a second playmaker later in the first round.
"The Jets opt for Fields over BYU's Zach Wilson in this scenario as GM Joe Douglas and coach Robert Saleh build a new-school offense around the former Buckeye QB's unique talents," Brooks wrote.
Picking Fields would certainly mean the end of the Sam Darnold era in New York, a sign that New York was able to ship him off to another team for future draft capital (or that they were actively trying to do so). It's worth noting that teams have already begun monitoring Darnold's availability this offseason, per Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated. Clearly other organizations are seeking to take him off the Jets' hands.
As for New York's second first-round pick, acquired from the Seahawks in the Jamal Adams trade, Brooks sees the Jets adding Clemson running back Travis Etienne at No. 23.
"The Jets' shift to a Shanahan-style offense could make Etienne the perfect fit as a one-cut runner with home run speed and acceleration," said Brooks.
Etienne rushed for almost 5,000 yards over four years at Clemson, compiling 1,155 receiving yards out of the backfield. He led the nation this year with 588 receiving yards, falling just short of his third-consecutive season with 1,000 yards on the ground.
If they do end up taking a quarterback in the first round, New York may elect to draft Zach Wilson over Fields. In fact, Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network had the Jets taking Wilson, as well as Etienne, in his latest mock draft.
All of this could change, of course, if New York can find a way to trade for Watson from the Texans. Then, they wouldn't need a new franchise quarterback with the No. 2 selection and can address other weaknesses on their roster (like an offensive lineman or wide receiver).
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