Through a multitude of trade downs the New York Jets selected nine players in the 2017 NFL Draft, while also adding a fifth round pick for the 2018 draft. Here is a full review of their selections and decision making throughout the weekend.
After a lackadaisical batch of overpaid veterans loafed through a disastrous 5-11 campaign, the Jets clearly prioritized vocal, high energy “alpha dog” personality players. It is problematic culture is such an issue two years into this regime and needs to be such a draft priority, sometimes at the cost of passing on superior talent. Regardless, the Jets clearly had a “type” when targeting their selections throughout the weekend.
They also prioritized quantity, repeatedly trading back to compile picks. Maccagnan only selected 13 players over his first two years but left this weekend with 9, all with a strong chance to make the team considering the Jets barren roster.
The Jets also told you what they think of their current depth chart with who they picked and did not pick. Internally there is a high level of confidence in Brandon Shell, Wesley Johnson and Ben Ijalana to be competent on the offensive line, as the Jets ignored the position all weekend. The same goes for quarterback, where they are going to give Christian Hackenberg his shot at some point this season. On the other end of the spectrum, Calvin Pryor, Marcus Gilchrist are on the way out. Eric Decker may be shopped or released, pending his recovery and the team will continue to shop Sheldon Richardson, despite limited interest league wide.
Jamal Adams, Safety, 1st round (6th overall) An unsurprising selection as the Jets were not shy about expressing their love for Adams in the pre-draft process. Once he was on the board, it was a no brainer for them. The question with Adams remains is he a good enough safety to overcome poor cornerback play in front of him? (Calvin Pryor was not). The Jets are betting on him being a transformational player for their defense, which would justify taking a safety so high. Adams is talented enough to bounce between strong safety, free safety and occasionally the slot. He should immediately become a tone setter and a leader on the defense. Adams is a safe, high floor player with limited bust potential.
Best Case Scenario: He becomes the Jets version of Landon Collins but with more range and is an All-Pro player by the end of his second season.
Worst Case Scenario: He is a solid but unspectacular starter, who struggles in coverage when the cornerback play in front of him is poor.
Marcus Maye, Safety 2nd round (39th overall) The Jets turned heads by doubling down at safety and passing on a corner like Quincy Wilson or a running back like Dalvin Cook. Maye was considered a borderline first round talent so the value was good at 39. This pick is about putting their more premium investment (Adams) in the best possible position to succeed. The Jets did not want him saddled with Calvin Pryor or Marcus Gilchrist as a running mate. Similar to Adams, Maye can bounce between both safety positions, despite being less athletic than his new partner at safety. Unlike recent second round picks of the Jets, Maye is not a project or developmental player. He should be ready to start on day one but does have a limited ceiling.
Best Case Scenario: Maye is an ideal running mate for Adams and becomes a Glover Quin type player on their back end.
Worst Case Scenario: Maye’s lack of range is problematic and he devolves into a similar player to Calvin Pryor during his first and third year.
ArDarius Stewart, Wide Receiver 3rd round (79th overall) Despite a decent amount of young, talented depth at receiver (even with Devin Smith’s latest injury), the Jets targeted Stewart in the third round who has a somewhat redundant game and skill set to the already rostered Jalin Marshall. More a running back/receiver hybrid than a pure wideout, the Jets will likely consider using him in the return game and as a core special teams player on coverage units. They will also likely scheme him touches in the short passing game to take advantage of his YAC ability.
Best Case Scenario: A poor man’s Jarvis Landry who becomes a solid starter in three wide sets and a core special teams player.
Worst Case Scenario: A Jalin Marshall redux.
Chad Hansen, Wide Receiver 4th round (141st overall) Even with Smith’s injury, it was surprising to see the Jets double down at receiver. Hansen in the 4th was better value than Stewart in the 3rd, as he possesses a higher ceiling and is a more natural, fluid wide receiver. After this pick it became fair to question if the Jets are considering moving on from Eric Decker either via trade or release. Hansen is a productive deep ball receiver with good straight line speed and consistent hands.
Best Case Scenario: An immediate situational deep threat, who develops into a starter within two or three years as a Chris Hogan/Allen Hurns type player.
Worst Case Scenario: Cannot stick on the Jets crowded wide receiver depth chart, as he struggles with route running and separation at the next level.
Jordan Leggett, Tight End 5th round (150th overall) The Jets finally address the weakest position on their roster with Leggett, who was projected as high as a third rounder. He will have an excellent chance to start from day one. Leggett has good size and hands but is somewhat limited athletically and needs to refine his blocking skills. He can bounce between the Y and H position and should get more immediate opportunities than most fifth rounders.
Best Case Scenario: An improved version of Brent Celek, who starts from day one.
Worst Case Scenario: A repeat of Kellen Davis, who can’t earn consistent playing time despite the Jets atrocious depth chart.
Dylan Donahue, Defensive End 5th round (181st overall) A UDFA caliber player in the fifth round. This reminds me of when the Jets previously overdrafted Jeremiah George and Anthony Schlegel. Donahue is already 25 years old, has short arms and limited size. The Jets are hoping he can be a leader on special teams, which is where he will have the best chance to make an immediate impact.
Best Case Scenario: Core special teams player
Worst Case Scenario: Does not make 53 man roster
Elijah McGuire, Running Back 6th round (188th overall) After the shaky Donahue pick, the Jets bounced back well with McGuire who has terrific ability as a pass catcher out of the backfield. He is versatile and will provide some needed juice to the Jets backfield. McGuire should also be in the mix as a potential returner. This is a high upside selection.
Best Case Scenario: An improved version of Charles Sims, who makes an immediate impact as a third down back, pass catcher and returner.
Worst Case Scenario: Does not distinguish himself as the third back and is a not a factor when the Jets move on from Matt Forte after next season.
Jeremy Clark, Cornerback 6th round (197th overall) A smart late round flier to boost a position of desperate need. Clark is still recovering from a ACL injury so his impact in 2017 may be limited but with his size and athleticism there is plenty of long term potential to be a boundary corner. Clark doesn’t have the most fluid hips and can struggle with double moves but in the right scheme has potential to be a starter.
Best Case Scenario: A starter by the 2019 season after working his way back from injury and climbing up the depth chart.
Worst Case Scenario: Struggles to stay healthy and does not make the 2018 roster.
Derrick Jones, Cornerback 6th round (204th overall) A high upside athlete who transitioned from wide receiver to cornerback. He lacks the necessary refinement and fundamentals to play corner as of now but the Jets are banking on their staff to properly see through his transition. Jones’ athleticism should make him immediately valuable on special teams. A worthwhile risk in the 6th round based on his measurables.
Best Case Scenario: Develops into a poor man’s Antonio Cromartie and is able to compete for major reps at corner by 2018.
Worst Case Scenario: Is more of an athlete than football player and does not make final roster this year.
UPDATED 53 MAN ROSTER PROJECTION
- QB: Josh McCown, Christian Hackenberg, Bryce Petty
- RB: Matt Forte, Bilal Powell, Elijah McGuire
- TE: Jordan Leggett, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Braedon Bowman, Brian Parker
- WR: Eric Decker, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, ArDarius Stewart, Chad Hansen, Charone Peake, Jalin Marshall
- OT: Kelvin Beachum, Brandon Shell, Ben Ijalana, Brent Qvale
- OG: James Carpenter, Brian Winters, Dakota Dozier
- C: Wesley Johnson, Jonotthan Harrison
- NT: Steve McLendon, Deon Simon, Mike Pennel
- DE: Muhammad Wilkerson, Leonard Williams, Lawrence Thomas
- Edge: Lorenzo Mauldin, Jordan Jenkins, Josh Martin, Cody Lemonier, Julian Howsare
- ILB: David Harris, Darron Lee, Julian Stanford
- CB: Morris Claiborne, Buster Skrine, Juston Burris, Marcus Williams, Derrick Jones, Daryl Roberts
- S: Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye, Rontez Miles, Doug Middleton
- ST: Chandler Catanzaro, Lachlan Edwards, Tanner Purdum
Photo Credit: NFL.com