Hardly a surprise, but our New York Jets question of the week involves Kirk Cousins. An optimistic fan asks how the team's draft strategy would be impacted if they sign the soon-to-be free quarterback.
If we do get Kirk Cousins, what are we doing with the 6th pick ? Another defensive lineman or back ? I think we need some offensive weapons as well as some o linemen #jetsmail
— Rablo Escobar (@rayford15_) February 2, 2018
@RichCimini: I totally agree with you; they need serious help on offense. Problem is, the ideal choice -- Penn State running back Saquon Barkley -- probably will be off the board. Some draft analysts rate him as the best overall player, so it's hard to imagine him slipping to No. 6. If he does, it's a no-brainer for the Jets. A Cousins-Barkley tandem in the backfield would certainly represent a major upgrade from 2017.
After Barkley, there's a dropoff in offensive talent. The next-best skill-position player (of the non-quarterback variety) probably is Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley, but he's regarded as a middle-of-the-round prospect. Guard Quenton Nelson is good enough to crack the top 10, so he'd have to be a consideration. It wouldn't be a sexy pick, but some believe he can be just as dominating as fellow Notre Damer Zack Martin of the Dallas Cowboys. Anybody who watched the Jets knows they could use a road grader on their offensive line.
If the Jets sign Cousins, the best scenario -- absent Barkley -- would be trading down. That way, they could get additional picks and a potential weapon on offense. The sixth pick will increase in value if a highly-coveted quarterback is available, perhaps sparking a bidding war.
One thing we know about general manager Mike Maccagnan is he lives by the "best-player-available" philosophy, which means -- you guessed it ... a strong possibility that he goes defense at No. 6. The Jets haven't used a first-round pick on an offensive player since Mark Sanchez in 2009, but two of the best non-quarterbacks in the draft are North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubbs and Alabama cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick.
The Jets need an edge rusher and a shutdown corner, so either one would fill a need. The concern with Chubbs is that he's a tweener for a 3-4 defense. Fitzpatrick, too, is a tweener because he played safety and corner in college.
It's never simple for the Jets.