Rumors are swirling regarding quarterbacks, with Mark Sanchez in the middle of all of it. Will the Jets trade up to get the former USC star? Will Washington trade up for Sanchez, freeing up Jason Campbell for a deal with Gang Green? What if Cleveland likes Sanchez enough to pull the trigger at #5, and Brady Quinn is dealt? Is Quinn available regardless of Sanchez's situation?
Despite the Jets' insistence that they are ready to go into 2009 with Kellen Clemens and Brett Ratliff at the helm, the trade wins show otherwise, and when there's smoke there's usually fire.
But in a draft full of smokescreens, the fire is usually someone you don't necessarily expect. And in this case, the fire might be 6'6", 250 pounds.
Kansas State quarterback Josh Freeman has received little support from most Jets fan including myself. He's raw, he wasn't a big winner; he's not that accurate; he makes too many bad decisions. The doubters are numerous because he has a lot of questions about his game.
Still, there is just as much to like. He has elite size and arm strength and is hard to tackle, think Ben Roethlisberger in that sense. By all accounts, he is smart and hard-working, and all of his flaws can be corrected by good coaching.
The problem with Freeman is that he might have to sit and get some seasoning before he's ready for Broadway, and Kellen Clemens, Brett Ratliff, and Eric Ainge don't exactly have the experience to teach the rookie. Still, Brian Schottenheimer could mentor Freeman in his first year or two, and Clemens (or Ratliff) could start in the meantime, and the Jets could find out what they had in one of their own guys. If they play well, the Jets can recoup a draft pick before giving Freeman a shot. If neither one stepped up, then there is a young, talented quarterback on the team to take a shot.
And the idea that Freeman is a bad value or not worth the pick is quickly going out the window. Mock drafts are increasingly bumping him up draft boards, where he's not even a lock to be available when the Jets pick anymore. He's firmly a 1st round pick at this point.
But should the Jets pick him?
No. I won't be angry with the pick as I would have been two months ago, but Freeman needs a better situation than New York, with more experienced quarterbacks being able to show him the ropes, and less pressure from the fans and the media. The Jets have a vicious defense on paper. Kellen Clemens has done as much in the NFL as any rookie (or Brady Quinn, for that matter), and he doesn't cost a valuable high draft pick.
Plus, Freeman's rise up the board has been mostly postseason. Sure, he has the physical tools, and his TD/INT ratio got better each year, but his rise is largely due to the dearth of top quarterbacks on a lot of teams. The recent success of Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Flacco can't hurt either.
Pass on Freeman.
*I said I would put my draft board up Thursday. I lied. It needs more editing.