Future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers made his New York Jets debut in front of a raucous MetLife Stadium crowd on Monday Night Football. His night ended abruptly upon being sacked by Leonard Floyd. The 39-year-old stood up grimacing and promptly sat down on the MetLife turf as 82,000 of the Jets faithful let out a collective gasp. The Jets turned to former first-round pick Zach Wilson for the rest of the night.
As Rodgers was carted to the locker room, head coach Robert Saleh watched Zach Wilson flail for much of the first half. Wilson, the former number two overall pick who was benched last season, was not moved this off-season and was kept to back up Rodgers. Wilson did not look drastically better than his 2022 version and still made many of the same mistakes. With Rodgers pushing 40 years old and recovering from an Achilles tear; the Jets must look to the future of the quarterback position in the 2024 NFL draft.
Whether Rodgers decides to return or not, the Jets cannot leave the 2024 NFL draft without a quarterback. Wilson, despite his big win on Monday night, is not the answer. Even with Rodgers coming back, running it back with those two in the quarterback room would be a massive blunder. A Rodgers retirement after 2024 would leave the Jets with an empty quarterback room and a team ready to win.
The 2024 NFL draft is full of quarterback options for the Jets. This class may be one of the deepest quarterback classes in recent memory. There are options at every level of the draft for the Jets to have some insurance in 2024. The options that will be available to New York are dependent on what Wilson can accomplish the rest of the way.
New York Jets Must Leave the 2024 NFL Draft With a Quarterback
The Jets, who sit at 1-0 after the miracle win on Monday, find themselves with a miniscule chance at one of the top two quarterbacks. North Carolina’s Drake Maye and USC’s Caleb Williams are nearly locks to go first and second overall in April. Starting with a win puts New York in a tough spot for one of those two. There is simply too much talent on the rest of the roster for the Jets to win less than five games.
New York is far more likely to be picking in the 8-15 range of the draft, which puts them squarely deciding who is QB3. The hottest name around right now is Colorado’s Shedeur Sanders. Sanders is lighting the world on fire this season. However, it is unclear whether Sanders is leaning towards staying with his father for another year or bolting to the NFL.
Some options who are coming out that may be options for New York are Oregon’s Bo Nix and Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. Nix, a former highly touted Auburn recruit, who joined the Ducks prior to 2022 and before his college career. Nix is a serious Heisman candidate with a tantalizing blend of arm talent and running ability.
Penix, another transfer, revived his college career at Washington after suffering some incredibly unfortunate injuries at Indiana. An experienced passer with a strong and accurate arm, Penix could step in and play right away if Rodgers is not ready for 2024 on time.
Should the Jets choose to continue building the rest of their roster, there are still plenty of options in the middle rounds. Some names that come to mind are Florida State’s Jordan Travis and Arkansas’ KJ Jefferson.
Travis started his career out at Louisville before transferring to Florida State. Despite almost quitting the position entirely, Travis has transformed into one of the most effective quarterbacks in the country. While still not a great passer, Travis has improved every single season and remains a dynamic runner.
KJ Jefferson, a hulking presence under center for the Razorbacks, is a rather difficult evaluation. Standing 6-foot-3 and over 240 pounds, Jefferson shrugs off tacklers both in the pocket and on the move. He has struggled with his accuracy at times, but has a strong arm and is a threat to escape on every play.
There are certainly countless more names that are options for the Jets. Whether it’s one of these four or another, the Jets must draft a quarterback at some point in 2024.
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