Geno Smith has been critiqued all season long for his indecisiveness and mediocre play. During the Jets 37-27 victory over the Oakland Raiders, Smith threw the ball 25 times completing 16 of his passes for 219 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. Prior to this game Smith had not thrown a touchdown in five games. Smith's 2013 stats are as followed: 195 completions, 352 passing attempts, 2,475 yards, 9 touchdowns, and 20 interceptions. They're certainly not impressive stats. His quarterback ranking is amongst the worse in the league (25.4 QBR ... ranked 37 out 38 quarterbacks).
The Jets currently are sitting at 6-7, with three crucial games left to play. Depending on how the season plays out, Gang Green should have an early first round pick. It seems more reasonable to draft a defensive back or receiver with a first round pick, but there may be some formidable quarterbacks left in later rounds. Let's take a look at some potential picks.
A.J. McCaron: Senior QB Alabama 6'4'' 214 lbs.
The Jets have set the standard for inconsistency in the NFL. McCaron is mister consistency. The senior quarterback has been called a "game manager" by many. McCaron has benefitted from playing on a team that is loaded with talent. He has been surrounded by All-American/All-SEC caliber teammates during his tenure with the Tide.
Coming out of St. Paul's high school (Mobile, AL) McCaron was a four star recruit. Since joining the Crimson Tide, A.J. has put on solid size. This season McCaron became the all time passing leader and wins leader at Alabama. One NFL scout has gone as far as comparing McCaron to NFL All-Star Tom Brady having this to say:
"Good size, outstanding touch on all throws, can make all the throws but only has average arm strength, the executive said. Outstanding progression-read quarterback, makes throws to his second and third reads consistently. Doesn't turn the ball over. Winner. Mentally tough. Has the moxie and cockiness most great QBs have. Very similar to Tom Brady in stature, athletic ability, arm strength, touch." (via: bleacherreport.com)
It's a lofty comparison, but somewhat understandable. NFL Media draft specialist Bucky Brooks sees McCaron being a first round pick. He finds McCaron's performance in big games impressive. Although he is praised for his game management skills, A.J. is often criticized for his lack of "big play" capability. Despite his lack of "big play" capability, McCaron is very poised in the pocket and has a nice touch on the ball. McCaron's arm strength has been question. Although it is adequate, it isn't the type of arm strength that will threaten professional defensive backs.
McCaron leaves a lot to be desired. He has a high ceiling and potential to be a first round pick. The Jets shouldn't jump on him in the first round, but if he is available in later rounds he could be a good competitor for Smith.
David Fales: Senior San Jose St. 6'3" 220 lbs.
Fales is an intriguing draft prospect. Coming into the season many felt that he was one of the most underrated quarterbacks in college football. Although he doesn't play the type of competition big name prospects play, he still manages to impress scouts.
Coming out of high school, Fales wasn't a highly touted recruit. He originally signed with Nevada, but saw no playing time after sitting behind Colin Kaepernick. Fales enrolled at Monterey Peninsula junior college, where he threw for 4,635 yards and 37 touchdowns. Fales enrolled at San Jose St. and won the starting job after an impressive summer camp. This season he has thrown the ball 487 times completing 312 passes for 4,189 yards, 33 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions.
Despite not playing against top-notch competition, analysts have stated that Fales rises to the occasion in big games. He has excellent size, arm strength, and footwork. Fales is fairly mobile, but by no means is he a "duel-threat" quarterback. Fales needs to work on his field vision. Many times Fales stares down his primary passing target. Fales has a nice touch on his deep passes, but his high completion percentage can be attributed to the short passing game implemented at San Jose State.
Realistically, Fales is more of a late second round/possible third round option. Many analysts are unsure of his potential, but only time will tell how efficient the senior quarterback can be. He would be a decent late round draft pick for the Jets if they are looking for a quarterback to compete with Geno.
Logan Thomas: Redshirt Senior Virginia Tech 6'6" 254 lbs.
What really jumps out about Thomas is his size. He is a massive individual. His big body has helped him play against formidable ACC opponents. Thomas has been criticized by many analysts. Opinions on the Hokies quarterback have varied.
Logan Thomas was a highly touted 4 star recruit coming out of high school. He was ranked the 19th overall prospect by Super Prep. Coming out of high school, Thomas was a tight end. Viriginia Tech's coaching staff made the decision to switch Thomas to quarterback. Thomas officially started at quarterback in all 14 games during the 2011 season (234/391 on passing attempts, 19 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions).
NFL draft expert Todd McShay has had mixed opinions on Thomas. He notes that Thomas has "outstanding" potential. What is most impressive are his intangibles: size, speed, and competitiveness. McShay also noted that Thomas has shown improvement with his quarterback Mechanics. McShay is worried that a team will draft Thomas and expect too much of him early on. A team that drafts Thomas needs to help him continue to grow into a true quarterback. In closing, McShay pointed out that unlike other draft prospects, Thomas hasn't benefitted from playing around stellar receivers.
Thomas is a risky pick, but his potential is high. It is uncertain where he will land. Some see him as a late pick, while others feel that he is a second round option. Given the current status of the Jets quarterback depth, Thomas could come in and continue to progress. If he progresses properly, he can possibly create pressure for Geno Smith later in the season.
Geno Smith's role as a starter is not set in stone. Early in the season it was easy to say that he was making "rookie mistakes". He has shown little progression throughout the season. The Jets may have to look at a late round quarterback to create pressure for Geno.