It looks as if Andrew Luck will be on the field Monday night at MetLife Stadium, and while that’s very good news for the Colts and for the QB himself -- who suffered a concussion two weeks ago -- it hardly makes the visitors a sure thing, even against the Jets.
Nothing is ever a sure thing in the NFL, except maybe that the Patriots will be in the playoffs. And nothing is less sure than the most important position in sports.
Luck was labeled a can’t-miss prospect in his sophomore year at Stanford, and it seemed as though sculptors began working on his Hall of Fame bust by around Game 2 of his rookie campaign. No one could say that Luck has been anything but a success nearly five full seasons into his pro career. The 27-year-old has made three Pro Bowls and carried his team to three playoff berths -- including an appearance in the AFC title game a few years back.
But let me ask this: if you could have any QB from the 2012 NFL Draft, would it be Luck, who was that year’s No. 1 overall selection? Or maybe one of the three other first-rounders: RG3, Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden? Or the lone signal-caller drafted in the second -- Brock Osweiler? Or, just maybe, you’d go move down to the third round, and go with the draft’s 75th overall pick -- undersized kid out of Wisconsin, basically pushed out of his previous school, N.C. State, because his coach preferred a 6’7” stud named Mike Glennon (currently glued to the bench in Tampa). Possibly you've heard of him … Russell Wilson?
Every year, NFL franchises go all in on college quarterbacks, sure that they’ve got the can’t-miss kid who’ll be the next Joe Montana, Tom Brady or Drew Brees. Oh wait, those same franchises didn’t think enough of any of those guys to draft them in the first round either.
The fact is, no one is can’t miss. Even for first-rounders, it’s basically a 50-50 proposition.
The Jets have missed on plenty of QBs over the years. Over the last three decades, Gang Green has chosen a half-dozen in the top two rounds. I’ll pause here so you can shield your eyes before I unveil the list ... OK, here goes … Browning Nagle. Chad Pennington. Kellen Clemens. Mark Sanchez. Geno Smith. Christian Hackenberg.
Does anyone need a tissue? Or maybe smelling salts?
GM Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles don’t seem to think much of Hackenberg, or Bryce Petty, their fourth rounder from 2015. If they did, one of those guys would be starting Monday night, instead of a 33-year-old vet who’s got one foot and at least half of the other out the door.
It makes you wonder if the Jets will make a play for another QB in the 2017 draft. If so, how confident would you be about them not missing? But remember, it’s not just them. When it comes to QBs, the only sure thing is that no one has a clue.