INDIANAPOLIS -- The New York Jets have already set their sights on some of the free-agent quarterbacks, and not many scouts think they'd find an instant starter near the top of the NFL draft anyway.
But the Jets sure are doing their due diligence, just in case.
The have either had or scheduled formal interviews with several of the top quarterbacks in the NFL draft as of Friday. The list included North Carolina's Mitch Trubisky, Clemson's Deshaun Watson. Texas Tech's Patrick Mahomes, Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer, Pittsburgh's Nate Peterman and Tennessee's Josh Dobbs. All of them confirmed their interviews with the Jets when they met the media at the NFL scouting combine Friday afternoon.
Those six are generally considered to be among the top available quarterbacks in this year's NFL draft. Each team is allowed to conduct formal, 15-minute interviews with 60 players at the combine, though their scouts and assistant coaches often meet informally with many others throughout the week.
Formal interviews aren't often an indication of anything other than a team doing its research. And with the Jets sitting with the sixth overall pick in the draft -- and with a big, glaring hole at the quarterback position -- a long look at the available quarterbacks makes sense.
There are issues, though, that appear to make it unlikely the Jets would take a quarterback in an early round. For one, the Browns, 49ers and Bears all need (or likely need) a quarterback, and they will all draft ahead of the Jets. Also, the Jets drafted Christian Hackenberg in the second round last season, and taking another quarterback early would signal that was a mistake, something the Jets might not want to do considering he hasn't even had an opportunity to play yet.
Also, the jury on these quarterbacks is still very much out among NFL people. Many of them share the opinion of NFL draft analyst Mike Mayock, who said on a conference call last week, "I'm not bullish on the quarterbacks this year because I don't think any of them are ready Day 1."
Mayock added "The quarterback thing for the Jets is really frustrating. I mean, they took Hackenberg last year. Geno (Smith) is not working out. (Bryce) Petty's still on the roster. So they've expended some pretty high draft picks on a bunch of quarterbacks that have paid no fruit. So if you're asking me whether the Jets at No. 6 should take a quarterback, I would emphatically tell you no. As a matter of fact, I don't have a top-10 grade on any quarterback in this draft, so I would not be in that conversation."
But the Jets will still look because free agency is an unknown. As SNY has reported, the Jets are interested in pursuing Mike Glennon, and a team source confirmed they'll be interested in Tyrod Taylor too if the Buffalo Bills do not pick up his option. But as Jets coach Todd Bowles said on Thursday, "Once free agency starts … things may get crazy." If multiple teams are after the few quarterbacks on the market, the prices could blow up.
So if that happens, maybe the draft will make more sense for the Jets as they continue their search for a franchise quarterback. For now, just in case, it certainly doesn't hurt to look.