New York Jets – Official 2016 Draft Grades

Mike Donnelly with the “official” grades for the New York Jets 2016 NFL Draft class

The NFL draft is over, which means one thing and one thing only: It is time to give all of the picks a definitive grade and see just how well the New York Jets did. This year, the Jets made 7 picks including trading a pick in 2017 to trade up into round 5. All of the picks are graded on an A++ (think Revis in 2007) through F– (think Vernon Gholston) scale, so lets see how Mike Maccagnan and company did this year. Like the legend in the picture above, let’s hope that the Jets know something that the people up here don’t.

1st Round – Darron Lee, LB : A++ It was awesome to see the Jets add some legitimate speed to the linebacker position for the first time in like, 20 years. Actually, I should say “add speed that doesn’t suck”, because Demario Davis was fast, he was just awful at football. By all accounts, Darron Lee is good at football. He’s very good. He can cover linebackers, RBs, and even covered some slot receivers in college. He can run sideline to sideline to defend the run and he can blitz. He’s the perfect new-age hybrid defender that teams covet. A++.

2nd Round – Christian Hackenberg, QB : A++ This was one of the most polarizing Jets draft picks in recent memory. Much has already been said and written about this guy, so let’s give a quick positives and negatives list in bullet point form:

POSITIVES

  • He has “the look” – This means he’s very handsome, which is important so he will be able to get along great with star WR Eric Decker. It also means he has a big arm and is huge so he can withstand a lot of the punishment the Jets OL is undoubtedly going to be providing him.
  • Most Jets fans and Pundits Hated the Pick – Let’s face it, most fans (not just Jets but any team) are stupid. So if this many people think Hackenberg sucks, then I consider that a huge boost for his future outlook. I remember fans doing cartwheels over the Sanchez and Geno picks, so maybe this is what we needed. There was also the guy from PFF that said Hackenberg was “undraftable”. Well, that same jackass said Tom Brady was washed up two years ago, sooo, yeah, I wish I could go and buy Hackenberg stock right now.
  • He’s very talented and will get to work with QB Guru, Chan Gailey – I’ll spare you the details about his good freshman year and bad sophomore and junior years because that’s all been covered. Let’s just say there’s a franchise QB hidden somewhere inside this guy and it’s up to Chan to bring it out. Speaking of which, I hope Hack doesn’t mind pushing a wheelchair around or changing diapers, because uhh, that comes with the territory with the Jets 108 year old offensive coordinator. But it will be worth it in the long run.

NEGATIVES: (None)
Bottom line: Great pick. A++.

3rd Round- Jordan Jenkins, OLB : A++  Sadly, this pick means Calvin Pace’s 73-year career with the Jets has probably come to a close. On the bright side, though, the last time the Jets drafted a LB from Georgia, it was Mo Lewis and he was awesome. Excellent pick.

4th Round- Juston Burris, CB : A++  I almost gave this just an A+ because he spells Juston with an O instead of an I, but I’m willing to let that slide. Burris is a big, physical corner and he’s likely to see a decent amount of playing time, even as a rookie. Dee Milliner probably suffered two injuries sitting on his couch watching the draft, and it seems like this new staff has no use for Dexter McDougle, who is one of the few remaining guys who hasn’t been shown the door from John Idzik’s reign of terror. Great pick.

5th Round- Brandon Shell, OT : A++ The Jets traded a 4th rounder in 2017 to move up and take Shell in the 5th round this year, and it couldn’t have been better. Breno Giacomini stinks and they need a Right Tackle to groom for the future. What better way to do that than to take the great nephew of a Hall of Famer like Art Shell. This dude is huge, he’s athletic, and he’s going to prove to be a steal. A++ for sure.

7th Round- Loc Edwards, P : A++ Some people may not see the point in drafting a punter, but this guy is pretty awesome, and to make it extra cool, he’s Australian. He was a steal in the 7th and from what I understand, most draft experts had a 2nd round grade on him*
(*This may not be true.)

7th Round- Charone Peake, WR : A++  If I could give this one an extra +, I would, but come on, this isn’t amateur hour and a third + would just be ridiculous. Anyway, this guy has a chance to be a real steal. He’s a big physical receiver who ran a 4.37 at his pro day. He was projected to be drafted much higher, but injuries held him back. In a system like the Jets run with multiple receivers, he can be brought along slowly as a 3rd or 4th guy on the field, and then a couple of years down the line he could be a legitimate player.

Wow, 7 A++ picks. Looks to me like Mike Maccagnan, Todd Bowles, and all the other guys in the Jets front office pulled off a heist of a draft and executed #PlanA flawlessly. Kudos to them!

Photo Credit: ESPN

Author: Mike Donnelly

Mike Donnelly is a Staff Writer and life-long Jets fan, who was previously a featured columnist at multiple other New York Jets and fantasy football websites. He lives and works in finance in the NYC area and will help lead our Jets and NFL coverage in 2013.