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It’s a little early to give a final grade, but still, the Jets need to avoid this even being a conversation in the future . . .
NFL.com analyst Gennaro Filice ranked 2019 NFL draft classes from 1-32, and the Jets were ranked 32nd. Obviously, you need to wait two or three years before you truly know how a draft class turns out, but right now it certainly doesn’t look like Mike Maccagnan knocked his last Jets draft class out of the park.
Let’s go over this.
With their first pick the Jets selected Quinnen Williams. They are getting some heat for passing up edge-rusher Josh Allen, but let’s not forget Williams was a consensus top-five pick. The Jets picked him third overall. When they made the pick, there weren’t a lot of people saying, “What the heck are they doing?”
But the problem, as I’ve pointed out before, is that they claimed they were going to play the 3-4 defense at the time. So the pick made sense. Williams is a good fit for 3-4 end. But then when Maccagnan was fired in mid-May, they quickly pivoted to Gregg Williams’ front of choice, a 4-3. Yes, Williams plays multiple front, but historically that’s base defense.
So if the Jets knew they were going to scrap the 3-4, and often go with a four-man line, Allen would have been an ideal 4-3 end for them.
Hey, this is the downside to changing GM’s in May.
But Williams wasn’t a bad pick by any stretch of the imagination, and he was only 21 last season. He flashed at the end of the year, and should take a big step in year two, especially since the Jets didn’t change the defense. Unless something surprising happens between now and the season, Williams and his playbook are back for Year Two. Fox’s Colin Cowherd announced late in the season that Gase and Williams don’t get along. I have no idea if that announcement is accurate.
Williams is a freakish defensive lineman with the feet of dancing bear.
A contributing factor to Mr. Filice ranking the Jets #32 is their third-round pick Jachai Polite getting cut in training camp due to maturity issues. That was a tough blow to the Jets, especially since they didn’t have a second round pick, and needed an edge-rusher, like Polite, to emerge in 2019.
Fourth-round pick Trevon Wesco isn’t bad. He’s a very good blocker and solid short-to-intermediate receiver and has a great attitude.
Fifth-round pick Blake Cashman might have been a misstep from a medical perspective. He had two shoulder surgeries at Minnesota, and then ended up having his Jets rookie season end with another shoulder injury that required surgery. Cashman is an instinctive, tough linebacker, but another concern about him are his extremely short arms which make it tough to stack and shed NFL linemen.
As for sixth-round pick Bless Austin, it’s totally unfair to judge him harshly for being pulled after giving up a TD late in the first half against the Steelers. It was one play for goodness sake. The guy hadn’t played football for two years before coming off the PUP list late in the season. It’s way too early to judge this player. Many thought he wasn’t even going to play last season after blowing out his knee two years in a row at Rutgers.
But the bottom line is Mr. Coffee’s 2019 draft isn’t generating a lot of excitement right now. None of his drafts really did (aside from his move to trade up for Sam Darnold). Great guy, but didn’t do the best job drafting.
So moving forward, the Jets need Joe Douglas, who’s considered a college draft guru, to knock it out of the park. That is the best way to build a team – draft well, develop the players and then re-sign them.
February 17, 2020
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