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A long-range view of the Jets' chances for Sam Darnold or Josh Allen

Wyoming's Josh Allen is one of three quarterbacks ESPN NFL draft analyst Todd McShay has pegged for the top three picks in the 2018 draft. Austin Humphreys/The Coloradoan/USA TODAY Sports

You're supposed to go one game at a time in the NFL, but it's hard not to peek into the future when you're talking about the New York Jets' quarterback situation. So here's a futuristic question from the weekly mailbag:

@RichCimini: Never in all my years of covering the Jets have I seen so much early interest in the following year's draft, but this is the new reality and there's no sense in pretending it doesn't exist. Chances are it will be a storyline throughout the season, especially if the quarterback struggles continue.

The answer to your question hinges on how many so-called elite quarterbacks are in the 2018 draft. In his recent Way-Too-Early Big Board, ESPN's Mel Kiper, Jr. lists Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Josh Rosen -- all underclassmen -- among the top seven prospects. Taking it a step further, colleague Todd McShay has them going 1-2-3 in his way-too-early mock draft.

From talking to scouts, I can tell you there's a lot of fascination with Allen, who could wind up being the No. 1 quarterback prospect. Instead of a "Suck for Sam" campaign, maybe disgruntled Jets fans should change adopt, "Junk for Josh."

So much can happen between now and then, but let's say Allen, Darnold and Rosen enter the draft and emerge as premier prospects. To jump from No. 6 overall to No. 3, the Jets probably would have to give up their second- and fourth-round picks, based on the trade value chart. The price could get higher because that's how it goes when there's a quarterback involved, but I don't think it would be prohibitive for the Jets.

Don't forget, folks: The Buffalo Bills have two first-round picks, which will make them big players if they enter the quarterback market.

I know some fans want the Jets to stink to the high heavens so they can secure the No. 1 pick. Believe me, they're not trying to do that. They want to see what they have in Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty before investing a high pick in another quarterback.

If they go 1-15, there probably will be a new regime in place, looking to draft its own quarterback. If the Jets finish 8-8, it probably means Hackenberg (or Petty) showed enough promise to warrant a vote of confidence. The worst outcome would be your scenario, which essentially amounts to no-man's land. I still think they'd get one of the top quarterbacks, but they'd have to pay extra.