At least one team in the NFL is not fully convinced the Jets are selecting Zach Wilson with the second overall pick. And, perhaps, a few more.
It's a thought worth considering, at the very least. And an option worth entertaining, at the very least, for a football franchise that has done such a horrible job of developing a first-rate passer. What if the Jets chose Justin Fields? Is that really out of the question? Is that somehow crazy?
Anything goes this time of year in the NFL, with the draft less than two weeks away and silly season in maximum overdrive. And at a time when there has suddenly been at least a little more wiggle room in Mock Draft Nation – and in Vegas – when it comes to San Francisco taking Fields and not Mac Jones with the third overall pick (readers of this space already knew that was coming), well, why is it not worth examining the possibilities that the Jets don't grab Wilson?
Consider the fact that the narrative that the Jets were absolutely, positively going to take Wilson began well before the quarterback evaluation process was complete. In fact, it started to take shape before all of the quarterbacks had even completed their workouts. Now, count me among those who heard from proven, trusted sources, weeks ago, that Wilson was the Jets' guy at that time and they had an eye on him all along … But that doesn't mean they had to make the decision then, and they still don't have to make it now.
Fields looked like a stud last week in his final opportunity to wow teams, he did his work against far tougher competition than the kid from BYU, and as much as there are oh so many people out there trying to tear him down, there are no shortage of teams that totally love the kid and believe he would be the first overall selection in many drafts (just not this one, because of Trevor Lawrence and all). So, again, let's just keep in mind that the Jets are not contractually bound to take Wilson.
"Are we all sure that Wilson is going second?" one longtime AFC executive said. "Is that written in stone somewhere? Seriously, have they come out and said it? Maybe Wilson is the pick, but you can't tell me he is absolutely a better prospect than Fields. We would take Fields there at 2. What if they do take Fields? Then San Francisco takes Wilson. Then New England comes up to 4 and gets Jones. There's no way that could happen?"
Um, doesn't seem totally crazy to me. Not in the least.
Teams have done the unexpected and surprised us before, just when we thought we had them all figured out. It's one of the many things that makes this event so great. And while I get that one could make the case that the Jets have nothing to gain by pulling the okey doke and coming up with an elaborate ruse, well, I would counter by saying what exactly have the Jets done? Are we truly certain of all the things we believe we are certain of?
I'm as guilty as falling into that trap as anyone. And I may have already done it in this case. But I'm definitely going to keep sniffing and snooping around on the quarterback roulette, because that wheel is definitely still spinning and it might not stop on all of the spots we think it will.
Don't count on Steelers taking a first-round RB
Color me among those skeptical the Steelers take a running back in the first round. They have holes aplenty, and that cannot possibly be lost on them, and unless that offensive line is truly fixed and improving, the pass and run game are going to suffer.
I continue to get the sense the Dolphins are very serious about Najee Harris at 18, anyway, and while someone like Travis Etienne would intrigue them, an RB pick that high is a luxury they probably cannot afford. Etienne on Day 2, I could certainly see, but this team needs help in the trenches, and at pass rusher, and at corner, and need matters when you are trying to win one last time with a quarterback who may already be past his expiration date. I'd take a quarterback before a running back if I was running that draft, and I'd take at least another position or two before I go with an RB, given how plentiful they always are.
Ravens may be looking to move back in draft
Not a lot of buzz about the Ravens trading out of the first round, but I could see it. They badly need pass rush and wide receiver help, but this is a very deep draft at WR and just a year ago that need was every bit as acute and they moved down in the second round to take an RB, when that was already a deep position on paper. Of course, they run the ball much more and throw it less than any team in the NFL and that's not changing anytime soon.
They have already invested a lot of draft capital in the WR position and they traditionally are not good at drafting receivers. So I could see them doubling down on that spot on Day 2, like they did a year ago.
As for pass rush, it will be slim pickings by selection 27 and a whole lot of boom or bust. They can't afford that, given the composition of their edge group, and they still could sign a veteran like Justin Houston. Is there an edge rusher they absolutely fall in love with at that pick? Maybe not.
Alabama offensive lineman Landon Dickerson might be the safest pick of all if he's there, they love taking players from that program and that kid would be a perfect fit and fill needs as well. They definitely really like him, but it's an interior lineman, at the end of the day.
So if there is a team in love with a quarterback that wants to move up late in round one, or maybe a corner or whatever, I'd be very surprised if a Ravens team short on picks isn't shopping theirs.
Nine teams that could be eyeing Aaron Rodgers
If you think teams aren't already thinking about what it would cost to land Aaron Rodgers by early 2022, you would be fooling yourself. For starters, I could see Denver, New Orleans, Seattle (if it trades Russell Wilson), the Giants, New England (pending what it does in this draft), Miami, Washington, Chicago and Minnesota interested. The Packers would never trade him in the division, but you are kidding yourself if you don't think Rodgers can control the process by having the ability to play the retirement card, and by requiring some reworking of his contract.