I’m certainly no NFL Draft guru nor do I pretend to be one, but I was very happy with how GM Mike Maccagnan and HC Todd Bowles drafted over the last three days. Both Macc and Bowles are in their second season at the helm of the New York Jets after a very promising first year. Although the Jets did not make the playoffs, they finished 10-6 and came within one game of the postseason. Many young players made big improvements and the veterans gelled really well.
Last year, Maccagnan made his two best moves with draft picks… although neither was actually a draftee. He used a fifth round pick to grab Brandon Marshall from Chicago while using a sixth round pick to pick up Ryan Fitzpatrick from Houston. Both players had historic seasons for the franchise and were two of the biggest reasons the Jets were on the cusp of the postseason. This year Macc made another key move trading away a fifth round pick for left tackle Ryan Clady from Denver. After the retirement of D’Brickashaw Ferguson, the Jets had a gaping hole on the line and the addition of Clady will hopefully fill it. Only time will tell if this move works out as well as the other two did, but it’s a terrific gamble either way.
As for the 2016 Draft class, here is who the Jets added:
- 1st round, Darron Lee, ILB/OLB, Ohio State
- 2nd round, Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
- 3rd round, Jordan Jenkins, OLB, Georgia
- 4th round, Juston Burris, CB, North Carolina State
- 5th round, Brandon Shell, OT, South Carolina
- 7th round, Lachlan Edwards, P, Sam Houston State
- 7th round, Charone Peake, WR, Clemson
Mike Maccagnan picked up three defenders, three players on offense and a special teamer. That’s some nice balance while addressing multiple areas of need. Everyone was hoping the offensive line would be helped, which it will with the Shell pick. I’m very optimistic about this pick because of what the Jets gave up to get him. They traded a fourth round pick in 2017 to draft Shell in the fifth round. On paper that’s silly, but Macc explained that they were considering drafting Shell in the fourth round but chose Burris instead. When he slipped to round five, they felt it was worth moving next year’s fourth. It makes sense to me. You get a guy you are high on, for this season, and it cost you a pick in the round you valued the player at.
While the pick of Shell doesn’t solve the offensive line questions, it does help. Now while the O-line could certainly use more upgrades, it was nowhere near as bad as the linebacking corps was heading into the draft. David Harris is as solid as they come, but he’s also getting up there in age. Erin Henderson and Bruce Carter are nice players and Lorenzo Mauldin just started coming into his own at the end of his rookie season. It was clear though that the Jets really needed to address this group and they did with the picks of Lee and Jenkins. What’s nice about these picks is that they are versatile linebackers who each bring something different to the table. Lee is known for his sideline-to-sideline speed, which lawd knows the Jets could use, while Jenkins is more of a physical presence. Although neither is known as a pure pass rusher, something the Jets still would love to add, both will definitely help out in all situations. Here’s to hoping these guys know how to cover running backs and tight ends!
The other player the Jets added on defense, Juston Burris, will step right in and compete with the other corners on the roster. I didn’t feel the Jets needed to add another corner to the mix, but I’m sure he was one of the best players available on their board so it’s still a solid pick. Darrelle Revis is still Darrelle Revis, just maybe a step slower. Marcus Williams had a breakout season and Buster Skrine was terrific as well. That’s the starting three corners at the moment, and it’s a pretty good group. After that however there’s a ton of competition. Dexter McDougle (3rd round, 2014) and Dee Milliner (1st round, 2013) both need to show something this season. Both have dealt with injuries, but you can see the talent that is there if they can find a way to stay on the field. Competition is never a bad thing and the Jets have six good to great corners to battle with each other on a daily basis.
Not often do seventh round picks get you excited, but this year is different. I may be more excited about the two guys the Jets grabbed at the very end more than anyone else. The wide receiver they drafted with their last selection had a round three projection with 4.37 speed. FOUR THREE SEVEN. That’s blazinggggg. Put him on one side and Devin Smith on the other and watch them goooooo! At the very least he should definitely help out on special teams coverage when our new punter (THANK GOD) blasts the ball down the field. I could not take anymore 25 yard kicks with no hang time. Could. Not. Take. Anymore. Just watch this Aussie kick. It’s a thing of beauty.
Pro Day ✔️ pic.twitter.com/bEoqAK9iVI
— Lachlan Edwards (@Lach_Edwards49) April 6, 2016
Is that 80 yards with six seconds of hang time??????? CAN’T WAIT.
Last but not least, Christian Hackenberg. Everyone has their opinion on the quarterback, but I’ll reserve judgement until we see him out on the field – with a sturdy offensive line and some serious weapons around him. This article from Brian Costello (@BrianCoz) of the New York Post highlights just how hard Hackenberg worked to prepare himself for the NFL. If I had any doubts, they’re gone after reading that. Maybe he won’t ever live up to his potential or draft position, but it won’t be because he didn’t work hard enough. I’m already impressed. Give him a season or two to learn from Ryan Fitzpatrick – come home Fitzy – and the sky is the limit.
Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles have given me no reason to doubt them. I love everything they do and the things they say to back up those moves. Is it September yet?