The NFL completed Week 7 after the Los Angeles Rams’ 24-10 victory over the Chicago Bears Monday night, and with teams playing themselves out of the playoffs, tankathon standings exist to see who is in good shape to win the No. 1 pick.
The Jets take the lead in the standings since they are still winless after an 18-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills Sunday at MetLife Stadium. The Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons, Miami Dolphins (Houston Texans pick), Minnesota Vikings and Cincinnati Bengals are positioning themselves for the No. 2 pick with a win to show for it.
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields figure to be the top two quarterbacks picked in the draft. Lawrence should be the consensus favorite to be drafted overall at No. 1 while Fields could be drafted No. 2 or 3 depending on what team gets the pick.
Lawrence and Fields watch the NFL games on Sundays to get an idea of what team they can be playing for. They know teams are tanking just to get either of them.
Fields likely will go to the NFL no matter what, but Lawrence could be another story. If the Jets get the No. 1 pick, the Clemson quarterback can pull a Peyton Manning by staying in school than play for the Jets. Sure, he would risk his stock by maybe being injured in college for his senior season, but it would beat playing for the Jets.
The Jets failed Mark Sanchez, and they are in the process of failing Sam Darnold. Lawrence must wonder why he should trust the Jets to put him in a position to succeed.
Sanchez never developed here because the Jets never gave him an offensive line, a playmaker, and a competent offensive coordinator for him to do well after his first two seasons. Jets head coach Rex Ryan focused more on building a great defensive team that he neglected the offense altogether, and that’s why Sanchez fizzled in the end.
Darnold is in the process of failing here since the Jets can’t draft playmakers and put an offensive line for him to do well. He struggled once again to put a good game together on Sunday. He completed 12 of 23 for 120 yards with two interceptions and no touchdowns to show for it, including 1 of 8 passes in the second half with the offense generating a paltry four yards.
Once again, Darnold ran for his life rather than finding a receiver or handing the ball to a running back because he does not have the offensive line who can protect him. Not even just that. Teams take liberties to hit the Jets quarterback with no consequences.
Darnold must be counting the days until he is gone. No one can blame him since he knows he has no chance to succeed with the Jets. He must be thinking of a fresh start with a team like the Minnesota Vikings. When people plant the seed of this scenario and the way everything has gone, there’s no question this has been on his mind. How could it not?
The Jets could be Lawrence’s problem. If the Jets go 0-16, they will draft him as the No. 1 overall pick. This should make him think about his options. Playing at Clemson for one more year is much better than playing for the Jets.
There’s no upside in playing for the Jets. As long as the Johnson family owns the Jets, that franchise will continue to lose. It’s been 20 years since the Johnsons ran the Jets, and the franchise has been synonymous with failing. Coaches, players, and general managers come and go, yet the Johnsons stay because they own the team and there is no one to force them out.
Maybe the Jets being 0-16 could convince Woody Johnson to sell rather than deal with the fallout, but that’s highly unlikely. Johnson makes money, and he likes the prestige of being an NFL owner. He also does not want to sell with the Jets being a mess.
It would be risky for Lawrence to trust his future with Johnson. Sanchez and Darnold can attest to that.
Maybe the Jets can save him from being drafted by them by winning some games. But from watching the Jets this season, odds are against that happening.
Adam Gase is likely gone after this season, and maybe Jets general manager Joe Douglas joins him, too. No matter. Johnson is not going anywhere, and that is a problem. If Johnson couldn’t get ahead coach and a general manager right for a long time, why should Lawrence or any Jets fan think he will get it right this time around?
Staying in school could be the best thing that happens to Lawrence. Sure he has to deal with going to college classes that he has no use for this season, but it sure beats playing for the Jets and being the scapegoat to everything that is wrong about the Jets.
Let being a quaesitum be Fields’ problem.
Then again, who would want to wish this on him, too?