A few days ago, I mentioned that Marcus Mariota’s college QB credentials were very similar to Geno Smith’s. Maybe that was a bit of a stretch. So let me try again.
Candidate A, Mariota, was a three-year starter and Heisman winner at a powerhouse program. He also threw 101 TDs against just 12 INTs, completed 66.6% of his passes at 9.2 yards per pass, recorded a passer rating of 172.6 and even ran for 28 touchdowns while leading his team to a 35-4 record.
Candiate B was a three-year starter and Heisman winner at a powerhouse program with 88 passing TDs against just 16 INTs, completed 66.4% of his passes at 9.3 yards per pass, recorded a passer rating of 170.8 and even ran for 57 touchdowns while leading his team to a 35-6 record.
Not much of a stretch, right? B is Tim Tebow. Yes, the same guy who in the NFL appeared as if he was conducting infield practice with his throws was one of the most statistically impressive passers in college football history -- while playing in that competitive crucible known as the SEC.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Mariota will be a good pro QB, and I think the Jets’ win on Sunday over the woeful Titans was in many ways a loss because it gave them a worse chance at landing the 2015 NFL Draft’s top pick -- and potentially grabbing the Oregon signal caller.
Then again, I also thought Tebow would be a good pro.
No, really, I did.
Are you still reading? I wouldn’t blame you if not.
But if so, I might as well come clean completely. So here goes.
I thought Mark Sanchez would be good too.
You’re not really still reading this, are you? If so, it may say as little for you as my evaluations on Tebow and Sanchez did for me.
But remember two things about Sanchez: playing the most important position in pro team sports, he brought Gang Green within one game of the Super Bowl his rookie year. Then, he did it again. How? By playing well enough to go far with a very good team around him -- one that had a top-flight running attack and one of the NFL’s best defenses.
Obviously, the Jets need a major upgrade at quarterback -- and they’re not likely to get one near the top of the upcoming draft, as, incredibly enough, 3 wins likely won’t get them a high enough spot to select either Mariota or Florida State’s Jameis Winston.
But that’s OK, because they will draft high enough to get the caliber of player who can be a true difference-maker for them.
That draft pick can hopefully be a starting point in again building a team so effective on both sides of the ball that whoever becomes their QB doesn’t need to be a world-beater to go far. Just like Sanchez five years ago.