Bob Glauber has been Newsday's national football columnist since 1992. He was Newsday's football writer covering the Jets
The Jets have done an extraordinary amount of homework on Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, the top quarterbacks in this year's draft. And although it's possible they'll be in position to draft one of them -- even if it means trading up a few spots from sixth -- it's more likely that Winston and Mariota, the past two winners of the Heisman Trophy, will be off the board by the time the Jets pick Thursday night.
But that still doesn't mean first-year general manager Mike Maccagnan can't find a promising young passer to provide competition for -- and possibly even supplant -- incumbent Geno Smith. Winston and Mariota might be the most widely known quarterbacks, but there is a cluster of second-tier passers that could produce the Jets' quarterback of the future.
So if Maccagnan winds up filling another need with his first pick -- the Jets desperately need an outside pass rusher -- there's still a chance to come up with a promising quarterback later in the draft.Big BoardNewsday's Big Board: Top 100 NFL draft prospects
Here are four names to keep in mind:
BRETT HUNDLEY, UCLA: At 6-3, 226, Hundley has good size and mobility to make a transition to the next level. His natural throwing motion and strong arm will benefit him, and his 40-yard time of 4.63 is faster than most quarterbacks.
Hundley did himself a favor by staying in school last year rather than coming into the draft. He threw 22 touchdown passes and only five interceptions in his third year as a starter. So why not a high first-round grade for Hundley, whom most analysts project as a low first-round pick or a second-rounder?
He has a tendency to come off his reads a bit too quickly, tucking the ball to run instead of waiting that extra second to find an open receiver. He can get better over time, and there's no reason NFL coaching won't benefit him, but he's still not quite as polished as Winston and Mariota.
BRYCE PETTY, BAYLOR: Petty played for Art Briles, who also coached Robert Griffin III, the second overall pick in 2012. Petty isn't as athletic as Griffin, but he was very productive for the Bears.
Petty impressed scouts at his pro day last month, and he figures to go anywhere from the middle of the second round to the end of the third. Petty threw for 61 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions in his last two seasons, and added 20 rushing touchdowns. That dual threat will help him, but with 4.87 speed, he won't have nearly the success running the ball that he did in college.
The big knock on Petty is whether he can make a smooth transition from the spread offense to a more conventional approach -- a challenge Mariota will face, as well. Petty also will have to break his habit of locking on to his primary receiver, which has been a problem for Smith during his two seasons with the Jets.
GARRETT GRAYSON, COLORADO STATE:Grayson is a good pocket passer who will go through his progressions in a very disciplined fashion. He had a terrific senior season, throwing for 4,006 yards, 32 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. He can be a bit streaky, though, because he completed less than 60 percent in five games.
Grayson also has an unorthodox throwing motion, although it shouldn't be an impediment to his development. Remember, some scouts had concerns about Philip Rivers' unusual delivery, and he has done just fine for the Chargers. Grayson is projected as a third- or fourth-rounder.
SEAN MANNION, OREGON STATE: At 6-6, 229 pounds, Mannion has the kind of build that suits his prototypical pocket passer approach, something that scouts really like.
There seems to be a difference of opinion on how Mannion projects to the NFL. Because of his limited mobility, there are some who think he isn't quite good enough from the pocket to match up with some of the league's better passers. But I've heard that a good number of teams view Mannion as the best or second-best quarterback behind Winston and Mariota.
Mannion runs the 40 at a snail's pace (5.14 seconds), but his arm strength is excellent, and so is his quarterback intelligence. Playing in a pro-style offense in college helps, too.