New York Jets Draft QB Christian Hackenberg in Second Round

Dalbin Osorio and Joe Caporoso with initial reaction to the New York Jets selection of QB Christian Hackenberg in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft

The New York Jets used their second round selection, 51st overall on polarizing quarterback Christian Hackenberg from Penn State. Here is our initial scouting report on him. Both Dalbin Osorio and Joe Caporoso give their reaction below…

Dalbin – You knew they were going to do it, didn’t you? After passing on the better prospect in round one in Paxton Lynch, the Jets opted to stand pat at 51 and take Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg. With the assumption that Ryan Fitzpatrick will be signed relatively soon, the drafting of Hackenberg all but signals the end of Geno Smith in New York. Let’s get to know the Jets second round pick.

Standing at 6’4″ and 236 pounds, the former PSU QB has a very good arm and shows toughness in the pocket. He keeps his eyes downfield and at times is able to work through his progressions like a wily veteran. He has the prototypical size you want from a QB. He is excellent in play action and bootlegs and fits the Jets scheme really well due to his underrated mobility. That’s the good Christian Hackenberg.

The bad Christian Hackenberg is the one that could barely complete 50% of his passes in the Big Ten last year and who would routinely miss wide open WRs and RBs. The bad Christian Hackenberg is the one who blamed his head coach for his struggles during interviews instead of taking ownership of his failures. He will need to learn how to read defense’s and this will not be a seamless transition to the NFL. What helps him is the presence of OC Chan Gailey and Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, and Matt Forte.

Hackenberg’s arm will be a strength for the Jets offense, now that they can actually utilize Devin Smith. His one year under Bill O’Brien’s system, he performed tremendously which let’s you know he can play in a pro style system. Gailey’s system got 3,000 yards from Tyler Thigpen, so there is no reason why the Jets can’t get similar production out of Hackenberg if he has gotten past the happy feet and the skittishness he displayed all of last year. You also don’t want him playing right away.

A lot of people have said that the Jets should draft a guy to sit behind Ryan Fitzpatrick so he can learn, but I’m not sure Fitzpatrick is the veteran I want teaching Hackenberg. Also, this is Maccagnan’s QB so there will come a time where the Jets have to play him and behind this OL I’d be worried about playing him until I rebuild it.

Grade: C
Pick Should’ve Been: Cody Whitehair

Joe – I haven’t been shy about expressing my pessimism about Hackenberg as a prospect over the past few years so I won’t change my tune on him now just because the Jets drafted him. He looks the part and played good football as a freshman. He has been a borderline train wreck since then, looking skittish, inaccurate and tossing his coaching staff under the bus in pre-draft interviews. If you are only completing 53% of your passes in the Big Ten, that’s a problem.

Similar to Bryce Petty last year, this is a project. Last year, you could argue the Jets took at 6th round talent in the 4th round and now already appear to have moved past him as a future starting option, while taking a 4th round talent in the 2nd round in 2016. Hackenberg was overdrafted, as there is no logical way you could say he was the best player on the board at #51.

This is the Jets betting on their system and infrastructure to develop Hackenberg at the next level. This is them seeing what they were able to do with a quarterback with limited talent in 2015 and wondering what they could do with a homegrown talent who gets a year or two of seasoning in their system. Are the Jets ready to bring Ryan Fitzpatrick back as their bridge quarterback now? Could it be Brian Hoyer? Geno Smith’s time is likely done in New York, as he seems an unlikely bridge candidate.

I hope to be very, very wrong about Hackenberg and that he can be the quarterback of the future here but he has a long way to go from the tape he put out the past two years.

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Author: Dalbin Osorio

Dalbin Osorio is a Case Planner for Graham-Windham, New York's oldest child welfare agency. He is, also, a student at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College. Dalbin graduated from Monroe College with a degree in Business Administration. A 3 sport utility man in high school (think a mix of Jerome WIlliams, Brad Smith, and Jayson Nix), he joined TOJ in 2013.