The consensus among the players who played on the 1996 Jets that went 1-15 on what the 2020 Jets, who are on a potential track to finish 0-16 and get the No. 1-overall draft pick, is that it’s time for a change at quarterback — if they can land Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence.
The former players say if the Jets earn the No. 1 pick and have a chance to draft Lawrence, it’s a no-brainer: Take him and move on from Sam Darnold.
“I’m going to be real with you: I don’t think Darnold is the one,’’ former cornerback Ray Mickens told The Post. “I think the Jets need to do everything they can to get Trevor Lawrence. True franchise quarterbacks don’t come around but like once in a decade. Trevor Lawrence is the next guy — a franchise-changing quarterback.’’
Mickens, whose son, RJ, is a freshman at Clemson, and former Jets safety Victor Green, who has known Lawrence since the quarterback’s high school days, are close to the situation.
Both believe Lawrence can turn around the Jets.
“You’ve got to take that guy,’’ Mickens said. “When you talk about a guy like [coach Bill] Parcells coming in to change the program [from ’96], there ain’t no other coach out there like Parcells that’s going to change the Jets program. You’re going to need a player to change it. Whatever coach that comes in there, if you don’t have that quarterback, it ain’t going to matter.’’
Green’s son Elijah was on the Blessed Trinity high school team that handed Lawrence his second and last high school defeat (Lawrence has just one loss in two-plus seasons at Clemson), in 2017, and is now at North Carolina.
“We beat Trevor Lawrence here in the high school state title; that was his only loss,’’ Green said. “I had to scout him because I was coaching DBs at the time at my son’s high school team and I said back then, ‘This dude is going to be the first-overall pick.’ That was when he was in high school. So, I’ve known about this kid for a long time and I’m a pretty good judge of personnel, and look where he is. He will be the first pick. If this Jets team goes 0-16, they’ve got to take Trevor Lawrence.’’
Former linebacker Marvin Jones, the head coach of the Arena Football League’s Omaha Beef for the past three years, said, “Sam Darnold is damaged good right now. … It’s going to be hard for him to turn his career around.’’
Former Jets linebacker Chad Cascadden, who serves as a Jets analyst on SNY, said, “If I’m the GM and I have the No. 1 pick, I’m taking Lawrence and I’m moving on from Sam. If they get the shot at Trevor Lawrence they start anew, with a rejuvenated fan base; if I’m a Jets fan, I’m back in.’’
The one Lawrence dissenter to the move-on-from-Darnold group The Post spoke to among the ’96 Jets was former receiver Keyshawn Johnson, who like Darnold is a former USC product.
“This whole notion that they need to get rid of Sam Darnold is crazy to me,’’ said Johnson, who now hosts a national radio show for ESPN. “He doesn’t have anybody to play with. I am not of the belief that Trevor Lawrence is the answer.’’
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