Whether or not you believe the New York Jets have given up on 2013 second-round draft pick Geno Smith at quarterback is less important that trying to figure out when they'll finally do something about it. If the 2015 NFL draft is the time they make their move, they're probably going to have to find a way to move up in the first round to grab Smith's replacement. Most believe Marcus Mariota at No. 2 is where New York would have to land, but FOX Sports South offers 10 reasons why the Jets should not move heaven and earth to trade up for Mariota.
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY SportsRussell Isabella
There are no guarantees Mariota will be better than Geno Smith; at least not soon
Marcus Mariota was elite at Oregon. He completed 66.8 percent of his passes, put up an astonishing 7.5-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio (105 TD's, 14 INT's), threw for 10,796 yards and won a Heisman Trophy in 2014. Even with that success, many believe he'll have much difficulty transitioning to the NFL. Moving from the spread offense, huddling up and taking snaps under center, and fitting passes into tight windows are all potential trouble areas. It could take a season in the pros, or two, before Mariota is ready to take control of New York's offense. There's a slight chance Mariota never turns into an NFL star. Geno Smith is already in place. He's apparently not the answer, but the Jets aren't offering multiple draft picks for him either.
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY SportsSteve Mitchell
With so many potential move-up candidates, the team that makes the deal will pay dearly
When the Titans are on the clock in the first round at No. 2 (yes, we're going on the assumption Jameis Winston goes first) they'll have a number of options and potential trade partners. The Jets, Eagles and Rams have been long rumored to be interested, and the Redskins, Chargers, Bears and Browns may have entered the fray too. Even if only a few of these teams are truly interested, Tennessee is going to be able to jack the price up dramatically for the second pick. That's good for the Titans, maybe bad for whoever signs on the dotted line.
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY SportsBrian Spurlock
Didn't we learn anything from RGIII?
You can argue that Robert Griffin III was a better quarterback prospect coming out of college than Marcus Mariota. That might help keep the price down, but the Redskins dished out three first-round picks and a second-rounder for the No. 2 pick in the 2012 draft, RGIII, and whoever wins the bidding this year (if Tennessee decides to trade its No. 2 pick) could pay a similar price. Just three years later, you'll be hard pressed to find anyone who believes Washington made a sound decision to move up and grab RGIII.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY SportsKevin Jairaj
The WRs at the top of the draft are excellent
The 2014 NFL draft class was rich with talent at the wide receiver position. This year's draft could equal, or even surpass, last year's in talent and future production. The Jets could benefit from grabbing a truly explosive reciever in the first round. It's possible either Kevin White or Amari Cooper will be available at No. 6, and it's an almost certainty that Devante Parker will too. Ask four or five of the teams that picked in the top half of the first round last year if they regret passing on Odell Beckham Jr. Most will say no, but that's not the real answer. Of course they do.
John David Mercer-USA TODAY SporJohn David Mercer
Mariota might drop to No. 6 for the Jets without a trade
There are a number of scenarios in which Marcus Mariota could fall to the Jets at No. 6. Try this on for size: Jameis Winston to the Bucs at No. 1 followed by Leonard Williams at No. 2, Dante Fowler Jr. at No. 3, Amari Cooper at No. 4 and Vic Beasley at No. 5. Without any outlay of draft picks or players, Mariota just fell into New York's lap. How silly would it be to pay more than the going rate for a guy who would have been available at No. 6 anyway?
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY SportRobert Hanashiro
Wouldn't a pass-rusher help the Jets more … quicker?
Of course the Jets need a franchise quarterback; Geno Smith just doesn't seem to be in the plans any longer. We've already argued that Mariota might not be an instant upgrade over Smith, now let's talk about a more valuable addition. There are three, maybe four, top-notch pass-rushers at the top of this draft. And while two (Dante Fowler Jr. and Vic Beasley) might be gone at No. 6, Shane Ray and Randy Gregory likely will still be available, as will fast-rising Alvin 'Bud' Dupree. New head coach Todd Bowles love blitzing, and adding another pass-rusher might be the quickest way to improve this team.
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY SportsDale Zanine
Mariota might drop to the Jets at No. 6, and they should still trade down
We know you're smart enough to remember, but if you need a refresher look back a few slides and see a scenario where Marcus Mariota could fall to the Jets at No. 6. For giggles, here's another: 1. Bucs -- Winston, 2. Titans -- Williams, 3. Jags -- Beasley, 4. Raiders -- White, 5. Redskins -- Brandon Scherff. Instead of running to the podium to select Mariota, though, how much do you think the Jets could get from Eagles head coach Chip Kelly for the pick? We think he'd overpay. Since the Jets aren't just one player away from playoff contention, acquiring multiple picks would be better for the franchise.
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY SportsTommy Gilligan
Forget about upgrading at QB; protecting the passer is more important
We have 10 slides to explain the fact that we're familiar with the notion that Geno Smith probably isn't going to turn into a franchise quarterback. We believe this wholeheartedly. But could Smith get by, and produce better numbers in 2015, if he had more time to throw? Only seven NFL teams gave up more sacks than the Jets last season, so yeah, enhancing the offensive line would help. Former Iowa tackle Brandon Scherff is an option, as are tackles Ereck Flowers (Miami) and La'El Collins (LSU).
Phil Sears-USA TODAY SportsPhil Sears
The 2016 QB draft class may be better than 2015's
Take a look at who might be available in the 2016 NFL draft at quarterback: Cardale Jones from Ohio State, Christian Hackenberg from Penn State, Michigan State's Connor Cook and Dak Prescott from Mississippi State. Those are just the first four who come to mind more than a year away from their draft day. If the Jets went with a wide receiver, a pass-rusher or even an offensive lineman, they could wait until next season to grab their future of the franchise.
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY SportsJerome Miron
Moving up for Mariota may be setting him up to fail
The expectations that come with being the second quarterback taken in the draft, whether it be at No. 2 or No. 6, are extremely high. Ask Ryan Leaf, RGIII or even Mark Sanchez (pictured) what that was like. Add the assumption that if the Jets draft Mariota, they'll likely have to give away future draft picks to get him. What if Mariota doesn't develop quick enough? What if he's not as good an NFL passer as expected? There are a ton of things that can go wrong for a young pro quarterback; adding the weight of all those picks the Jets would have given up to get him could end up crippling the kid.
The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY SportsThe Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports