The New York Jets will not be drafting Trevor Lawrence. No, the Clemson quarterback, in all likelihood, will wind up being selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars during the 2021 NFL Draft. With a generational talent at quarterback set to be available, the Jets played themselves out of a position to pick him by winning two meaningless games over the last two weeks. What could be more Jets-y than that?
New York beat the Los Angeles Rams 23-20 in Week 15 and followed that up by topping the Cleveland Browns 23-16 in Week 16. The franchise that screws everything up couldn't even tank properly. Adam Gase's team is now 2-13, while the Jaguars are 1-14, and Jacksonville has clinched the top pick no matter what happens in Week 17. This all occurred solely because the Jets won two games that mean absolutely nothing to the future of the franchise.
Lawrence is so far above the rest of his draft class that there isn't even a clear No. 2 pick. Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields looks the part sometimes, but has struggled with consistency against elite competition. BYU quarterback Zach Wilson is really talented, has a hell of an arm and is racing up draft boards, but he hasn't faced top defenses during his collegiate career. Penei Sewell is an elite, franchise-type left tackle but is he worthy of being the second-overall pick?
The Jets have a lot of work to do now. The first order of business has to be firing Gase, who is a horrid head coach. If New York could import someone capable of developing quarterbacks, the team's top option might be retaining Sam Darnold. Getting away from Gase might be the best thing that could happen to the young quarterback's career. It has worked wonders for Ryan Tannehill.
If the Jets were to keep Darnold, they could start a bidding war for the No. 2 pick. A team below them will undoubtedly fall in love with Fields, Wilson or one of the other top players. New York should sell the pick off for a ransom of draft assets and set about building an actual offense around Darnold. The Jets badly need to upgrade the worst skill position group in the NFL, while also revamping the offensive line. This offseason they must find a true No. 1 receiver and several linemen at the very least.
The Jets got themselves in this position by not fully tanking. They're missing out on the best quarterback prospect to enter the NFL in years because they refused to just be smart and lose games. Now they have a difficult, complicated road ahead as they figure out their future.
As always with the Jets, nothing winds up being easy.