For 20 teams, this is the first weekend of the offseason. For the New York Jets, the offseason is the "on" season. Let's get to it.
If Maccagnan doesn't take a QB at 6, who do you think makes the most sense with the pick, based on who is expected to be there? #Jetsmail
— Thomas Viola (@TVatHome) January 4, 2018
@RichCimini: Thanks for the question, Thomas. We're so wrapped up in the quarterback drama that we tend to forget about the other positions -- and I'm as guilty as anybody.
First, let me say this: I think general manager Mike Maccagnan will be on the prowl for a quarterback with the sixth pick -- yes, even if he adds a veteran in free agency (or via trade). But let's stick to the parameters of your question.
Which non-quarterback makes the most sense?
Let's start with Penn State running back Saquon Barkley. It might take some of that Jamal Adams/Leonard Williams luck for him to fall to six, but he'd be ideal for the Jets, who desperately need a consistent, breakaway threat in the backfield. Bilal Powell broke some long runs in 2017, but he's not an every-down back, and he turns 30 in October.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Jets averaged 2.41 yards before contract, which ranked 15th in the league. That suggests the run blocking was decent, but the overall rushing production didn't measure up to that because they lacked a dynamic presence in the backfield. Barkley would change that, and I don't want to hear about the theory that running backs shouldn't be drafted that high. He's a special talent, and the Jets need more of those in the building.
The other name to watch is North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb. I know what you're thinking: Please, not another defensive player. Hardcore fans know the Jets have used every first-round pick since 2010 on defensive players. (Where have you gone, Kyle Wilson?) What makes Chubb intriguing, though, is he's an edge player.
A four-year player for the Wolfpack, Chubb recorded 25 sacks in his career. He's considered the best pass rusher in this draft, and he checks all the boxes in terms of intangibles. How could the Jets, who finished 28th in sacks (a total of 28), not consider him? The only question is his size. Listed at 6-foot-4, 275 pounds, he's on the small side for the Jets' 3-4 front, so it could require a scheme tweak by Todd Bowles.
Chubb could be the best defensive player in the draft, and Barkley is the best player on offense among the non-quarterbacks. If the Jets don't draft a quarterback, they'd have a nice "consolation" prize with either player.