Woody Johnson, Jets owner, and Joe Namath, Jets icon, have watched Geno Smith play quarterback for their favorite team the last two years. But the owner sounds higher on Smith than does the icon.
"He's going to mature," Johnson said Tuesday at the 13th annual BTIG Commissions for Charity Day in Manhattan. "He's not going to be making rookie mistakes anymore. He's not going to be making sophomore mistakes anymore, hopefully.
"And when we played the Dolphins [in the season finale], he played OK. So if he can keep that going, we're good. We need to get him more targets."
Namath stated he isn't privy to the finer details of exactly where Smith is at in his career. "But what I have said in the past is I haven't seen anything particularly outstanding about the passing ability or the footwork or the running," the Jets' lone Super Bowl-winning quarterback said. "What is outstanding?"
The 71-year-old Namath thinks a third year "absolutely" could make a difference for Smith, especially with a better cast around him.
But the opening round of the draft is just a day away. Two marquee quarterbacks are available. Jameis Winston is expected to go first to Tampa Bay. Then the Marcus Mariota watch begins. Will the quarterback go No. 2 to Tennessee? Will the Jets or another team trade into that slot and take him? Will the Jets select him if he falls to No. 6?
"From what I've seen of Mariota, he's not going to be available at that time," Namath said. "Some of the teams are pretty well set at that position. But those that aren't, sure, I'd make the move. I'd try and get him. From what I've seen the last four years of him, I want him, yeah.
"I wouldn't say if I were the Jets I'd trade up for him. I couldn't do that because I haven't seen the real body of work that Geno has put in."
Johnson said the Jets will draft the best player and not base it on need. Namath gave a glowing review of Johnson's new guys in charge: general manager Mike Maccagnan and coach Todd Bowles.
"I like the aggressiveness," Namath said. "I believe that they're bold and they know what the hell they're doing."