jets should pass on qb
April 17, 2006 -- ARM-AGEDDON began yes terday for the Jets as the clock ticks toward a crossroads NFL Draft that will shape the future of the Eric Mangini Era.
There appears every likelihood the Jets, with the fourth pick on April 29, will get to choose between two of the three marquee quarterbacks: Vanderbilt's Jay Cutler and either USC's Matt Leinart or Texas' Vince Young.
The Jets huddled in Nashville yesterday with Cutler, then will head west for a tete-a-tete tomorrow with Leinart and Thursday with Young.
Barring unforeseen developments, the Texans - with the first overall selection - will take USC RB Reggie Bush, who will meet with the Jets next week. Then the Saints, if they do not trade down for Ohio State LB A.J. Hawk, are expected to target either North Carolina State DE Mario Williams or Virginia LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson. Then the Titans, desperate for a successor for Steve McNair, choose between Leinart and Young.
That would leave Leinart or Young available for the Jets.
Now, this Jets-Across-America Tour could very well be a smokescreen, with Mangini and fellow rookie (GM) Mike Tannenbaum setting their sights on Ferguson, Williams, Maryland TE Vernon Davis, Hawk or massive Oregon NT Haloti Ngata.
Here's my suggestion to the Jets:
Pass on Leinart.
Pass on Young.
The draft expert I trust the most, because of his experience as college scouting administrator from 1994-98 for the Rams and Midwest scout from 2001-04 for the Browns, is GMjr.com's Russ Lande.
Leinart's Hail Mary task will be to convince Mangini, Tannenbaum and rookie offensive coordinator Brian Schotteheimer that:
* He is not a celebrity Hollywood quarterback who lists Paris Hilton as a friend.
* It is not a red flag that he last week fired superagent Leigh Steinberg.
"I don't think he's anywhere near a franchise quarterback," Lande said. "Personally, I would not take him in the first round. I gave him a second-round grade."
Lande was more accurate than most when he gave Tom Brady, the Patriots' sixth-round pick out of Michigan in 2000, a third-round grade.
"I compare Leinart to Brady; very very similar in almost every category I grade," Lande said.
There are questions about Leinart's arm strength.
"He can make all the throws; he can't make them with unbelievable zip on them," Lande said.
Young's warts include that dreadful Wonderlic score and an alarmingly-low release point.
"I think he has all the tools to be a franchise quarterback," Lande said. "He's a developmental guy. He's just more of a risk."
Lande favors Leinart over Young.
"There are so many mistakes made with quarterbacks; I'd take the guy I think is the surest thing," he said.
Jay Cutler of Vanderbilt has been compared with Brett Favre, and I know that Phil Simms likes him.
"Probably the most intriguing of the quarterbacks," Lande said. "All the physical tools are there to be an elite quarterback."
"He's a very inconsistent guy accuracy-wise right now," Lande said.
Lande's second-favorite quarterback is Oregon's Kellen Clemens, who has recovered from a broken ankle and will meet with the Jets Wednesday. Lande likes his quick release, arm strength, accuracy and toughness.
He has Alabama QB Brodie Croyle rated no higher than the fourth round because of durability concerns.
"He's thin throughout his whole body," Lande says.
On little more than an educated guess, Lande gave the Jets Ngata in his mock draft to play the nose in their new 3-4.
He thinks the Jets have covered their bases for now with Chad Pennington and Patrick Ramsey, and would do well by taking Davis ("This kid, to me, is a better receiver than Kellen Winslow") or Ferguson ("He'll start from Day 1 and by the second or third year he'll be outstanding").
Remember, the Jets will have a chance to get quality players to address two of their other needs with the 29th pick they received in the John Abraham trade and the 35th pick.
No one is saying that they don't need a Quarterback of the Future. But the worst thing a franchise can do is to give in to public pressure and reach for a franchise quarterback just because fans and media think he might be the savior.
it's looking more and more that the saints stay pat and take leinart if no one offers a good enough trade. do you see the f.o. on the phone when they're on the clock papz? smitty
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