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No need for the Jets to overpay to draft a QB

By Russ H.

Ex-Yankees GM Gene Michael used to say "When I need a player I'll go get a player". The Jets should heed that advice in this Saturday's NFL draft.

When Brett Favre retired after just one memorable season with the Jets the general consensus among most fans was that he left a big hole in the center of the 2009 Jets roster.  But did he?

Favre brought instant credibility and star power to a team that had been lacking in both since Bill Parcells stepped into the breech of a 1-15 Jets team and led them to the AFC title game just two years later. The following season Vinny Testaverde tore his Achilles tendon in the season opener and ended both his and the Jets dreams of playing in the Super Bowl.

Since that day the Jets have had other chances. A young Chad Pennington came off the bench in relief of a then struggling Testaverde and brought the 2-5 Jets back from the dead to win the AFCE on the final game of the season only to fall to the Raiders in the Black Hole. Two years later Pennington, this time coming back from a injury that forced him to miss three games, twice brought the Jets into FG range of another AFC title game only to watch Doug O'Brien miss both FG attempts.

Then last year hope was dashed again when the Brett Favre Jets, fresh off winning two road games against the previously undefeated 10-0 Tennessee Titans and AFCE power house NE Patriots, had the Jets at 8-3 and playing as well as any team in the NFL.

We all know what happened next.

Favre's impact on the franchise because of who he was not withstanding how hard will it really be to replace Favre on the field? He led the NFL in INT's, his QB rating was 21st in the NFL and he was terrible down the stretch.

This offseason the Jets fired Eric Mangini and replaced him with Rex Ryan, in essence exchanging ice for fire. Ryan, who brings an impeccable record as a defensive coach,has already upgraded a talented Jets defense which collapsed down the stretch in '08 by bringing in a few of his players from his Ravens defense. Players like Bart Scott & Jim Leonhard, two guys in particular whose motors are always revving on high. Once again there is a reason for Jets fans to be optimistic.

With the defensive and special teams pretty much all set and ready to go personnel wise the Jets can and should turn their attention to the offense during this weeks NFL draft. The Jets have needs at WR, they also need a blocking TE to replace Chris Baker, they may need a RB if the situation with RB Thomas Jones becomes a problem when training camp begins and they could also use some additional depth along the OL but they don't need a QB. Yet.

The Jets should see what they have right now in Clemens, Ratliff and Ainge before they bring in a nother QB. What we saw from Clemens, a 3-5 finish after he relieved injured and ineffective 1-7 Chad Pennington, should not be used as fodder to replace him.

Clemens was playing QB behind an OL decimated with injuries, with no running game and an injured WR corps. Defenses were keying on the QB all game long and they did admittedly make Clemens look awful, but playing under those conditions would make most QB's look bad.

The Jets should allow things to play out in training camp as far as the QB position is concerned. Put Clemens, Ratliff and Ainge through a spirited, competitive training camp and see who comes out on top, but before they do that the Jets must identify the WR position as their number one area of need.

This years draft is loaded with talented WR's and there are also a few Pro Bowl caliber WR's on the NFL trading block as well. This years draft has OT's, QB's and a few other players who will be going in the top ten which should allow some top WR talent to slide down most teams draft boards a little bit, possibly putting the Jets in position to draft a WR without having to move up too much on their draft board.

Georgia QB Matt Stafford and USC QB Mark Sanchez both figure to go as early as the top five and maybe even higher. Baylor OT Jason Smith, UVA OT Eugene Monroe & Alabama OT Andre Smith also all figure to go in the top ten as does Wake Forest LB Aaron Curry and BC DT B.J. Raji. Texas DE Brian Orakpo and Penn State DE Aaron Maybin might also slip into the bottom of the top ten. That means there is a chance some top WR talent should be within the Jets grasp when they pick at #17 or within the grasp of a small move up the draft board.

Texas Tech WR Michael Crabtree, Missouri WR Jeremy Macklin, Maryland WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, Florida WR Percy Harvin, NC WR Hakeem Nicks and Rutgers WR Kenny Britt all can be 1st round picks in the upcoming draft although Harvin testing for a recreational drug at the combine figures to hurt his draft position. If the Jets stay put at #17 they will probably miss out on both Crabtree and Macklin but If they want to move up a little, say to the #8 spot, both Crabtree & Macklin could still be there.

If the Jets decided to go in another direction to fill their hole at WR Anquan Boldin and WR Braylon Edwards are all currently being shopped. Of the two Boldin has the highest price tag, Arizona is said to be looking for a 1st and 3rd round pick for Boldin. Cleveland is said to be looking for a 2nd and 4th or 5th rd. pick. Arizona however does not have the ability to extend Boldin's contract due to salary cap constraints and Boldin has said without a new deal he will not play for Arizona in 2009 so that asking price will probably be coming down the closer we get to draft day. In other words there are plenty of ways for the Jets to fill their needs at WR without having to overpay.

The Jets should determine exactly what they have at QB before they bring in yet another QB and they should give the QB job who wins the job in training camp all the tools he needs to run the offense. Starting at WR.

Give the QB whatever he needs to be successful and give him the season to see what he can do. Since this team is being built to win with a running game, defense and special teams play the Jets don't need their QB to throw 35-40 times per game, they need the QB to manage the game and allow the team strengths to win the game. If after the season is over and it's become obvious the Jets need a QB then go get a QB.but they should take a good long look at what they already have before bringing in another QB.

Another QB means more rebuilding.  More rebuilding doesn't get the Jets a meeting with Obama in the White House any time soon.