The New York Jets’ disastrous 2012 draft class has finally been consigned to the history books. It wasn’t a vintage year across the league, but even for a team which is not a stranger to poorly judged picks this was a particularly terrible showing. While the loss of free agents Demario Davis and Antonio Allen on Wednesday barely made headlines , their departure marks the rather depressing fact that not one of Mike Tannebaum’s final eight picks remains.
Every GM knows that a good draft is the key to building a roster with a strong core which can be supplemented through free agency. With the legacy from both Tannebaum and John Izdik, Mike Maccagnan inherited the opposite. In 2015, bringing in the likes of Marshall and Revis as well as fortuitously drafting Leonard Williams, masked the lack of depth somewhat. This year, while the Jets wait for quarterback news and battle with limited cap space, Mike Maccagnan has been forced to face the reality of past mistakes.Not that he has had to get rid of all eight of the 2012 draftees. Out of the eight taken, three are not only away from the Jets, they are no longer in the league: Terrance Ganaway, Robert T.Griffin and Jordan White. Sixth round safety Josh Bush lasted two years with the Jets before bouncing to Denver, then Buffalo (where he never played) and then back to Denver. The fact he now has a Super Bowl ring is not reflective of his career performance. With only one career NFL start, he appeared in eight games for the Broncos in 2015, managing one interception and 13 tackles. This takes his career totals to two interceptions and 38 combined tackles.
Worse is the fate of second round receiver Stephen Hill, a supposed ‘star’ wideout who did not come to fruition. Hill has been hanging around on the Carolina Panthers’ practise squad for the past two seasons but hasn’t played in the league since his last game with the Jets in 2013. He managed a measly 594 total yards receiving and 45 receptions during his two years in Green and White. To make matters worse, Alshon Jeffrey, TY Hilton and Mohammed Sanu were all still available wide receivers when Hill was taken with pick 43.
When Maccagnan and Todd Bowles arrived, Quinton Coples as well as Allen and Davis were the only 2012 picks still on the roster. First round pick Coples found himself with rapidly diminishing involvement in Bowles’ system and only lasted part of the season. He was cut after week 11. Although he briefly reunited with Tannenbaum in Miami, he has since been picked up by the Rams. Allen was forced to change position under Rex Ryan in 2014 due to a raft of injuries in the paper thin cornerback group and never recovered, especially once an injury in training camp ruled him out of the first season under Todd Bowles. Demario Davis became a regular starter in 2013 and has been relatively productive. However, questions over his work ethic and leadership qualities (despite being likened to Ray Lewis by Rex Ryan) combined with half-hearted performances at points meant his involvement was gradually diminished by Bowles in 2015. Davis isn’t a bad player but hasn’t been able to prove his worth with the new regime. He now finds himself with the Cleveland Browns.Where most teams would have aimed to have signed and extended at least some of their 2012 rookies, the Jets are one of only four teams who have none remaining: a damning indictment of the choices made. Mike Maccagnan now has the unenviable task of proving that he can team build effectively through the draft for the future whilst still providing Todd Bowles with a workable roster to improve on last year’s performance. To put it bluntly; the same failures cannot happen again. Maccagnan’s superior scouting pedigree when compared to Idzik and Tannenbaum should serve him well, however, keeping these plates spinning is going to be a tough challenge, especially considering he is still faced with elements of a similarly disastrous 2014 class.