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Is Jake Haener the Jets' QB of the Future?

This former Jets scout evaluates Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener as a possible replacement for Zach Wilson.

Former Jets’ Head Coach Bill Parcells had a saying, “Two years in the NFL is a lifetime.”

Current Jets’ quarterback Zach Wilson has played one season and will have played his second season by the next time the draft rolls around.

Will New York be in a spot by that point they will be looking to replace Wilson or one of his two back-up QB’s?

That remains to be seen. 

If they do find themselves in the market, might they be looking at Fresno State QB Jake Haener? 

It’s possible.

Haener showed attributes on his 2021 game film that will have NFL scouts attention in the coming season. 

NBC Sports and Pro Football Network have come out of the gates early and have Haener going first round in the top 15 (nflmockdraftdatabase.com). 

I am not that keen as they are on Haener. He has ability, but I am seeing his skill set more on the side of being a career back-up in the NFL at this point who can come in and provide a spark. 

There seems to be a growing trend among college quarterbacks I have been seeing over the past couple of seasons. If you have seen one of them, it’s like you have seen most of them. 

They tend to thrive mostly in the short game and have varying degrees of success further downfield. 

Haener looks extremely well schooled as a QB. He is as polished as Rams’ QB Matthew Stafford, when it comes to what he looks like in the pocket, but his downfield game is nowhere near Stafford’s. 

Guys like Haener tend to have outstanding pro days, but the game film paints the real picture.

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At this point, Haener looks like a solid No. 2 QB a team would not want to have starting for any extended period of time. 

Could that change prior to the draft?

It’s possible, but Haener needs to show dramatic improvement at the intermediate and deep levels of the field this season. For me, as someone who has worked in the pro scouting department for four years at the Jets, my chief concern is his arm strength. 

Grading Jake Haener

6-foot-1, 195 pounds 

2021 Fresno State game film reviewed: UCLA, Boise State and Oregon 

2021 stats: 329/490 (67.1%), 4,096 yards (8.4 average), 33 TD, 9 INT. 

Grade: 3rd Round.

Scouting Report

Tough signal caller with polished raw mechanics, good mobility and his downfield throwing leaves a lot to be desired. Looks like a smart football player. Demonstrated some fancy ball handling skills in the pocket and good mobility to move around and roll out. Best throwing short on the run when he can get defenses to react to him. Solid short range throws, but too inconsistent at the intermediate range with placement. Tendency shown to pat the ball pre-delivery and lock in with receivers. Ability to throw timing routes is a huge concern. Tends to throw when receivers have made their breaks or are wild open. Sometimes receivers visibly had to wait on the ball. Tends to do best with larger throwing windows and slant routes. The ball took too long to get outside on out-routes. Had to really push it out there. Throws inconsistent touch passes. Puts too much air under passes at times. Deep game is sub-par. Too many interceptions and dangerous passes, especially the Boise game. Ability to come back against UCLA was good and not giving up against Boise was good (threw TD at the end of the game despite the score being out of hand). Does have a gunslinger mentality and he does not give up. Can pick up some yardage with his legs when he has too. Tends to take sacks and yardage losses. An interesting prospect to watch.

Bottom Line 

Haener is one of these QB’s who looks great until he goes vertical with the ball. 

There are things he did well at the college level this past season, that he will not be able to get away with in the NFL. 

Haener best projects to an offense where the primarily focus is a quick release short passing attack. He will need receivers that excel in picking up yards after the catch, and a strong accompanying run game. 

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