The 2019 NFL Draft was the breaking level for Jets CEO Christopher Johnson.
He watched his normal supervisor, Mike Maccagnan, throughout that draft and noticed somebody who was indecisive and unwilling to include everybody within the group into his choices. Maccagnan and head coach Adam Gase barely spoke in the course of the draft, and Maccagnan rolled the cube on gamers with character considerations and ones unpopular with the teaching workers.
Less than three weeks after that draft, Johnson fired Maccagnan and a month after that changed him with Joe Douglas. At the time, the Maccagnan firing was criticized for its timing and for seemingly letting Gase win a power struggle.
As the 2021 draft unfolded over the previous few days, that decision looked better than ever.
Now, it’s too quickly to pronounce the Jets draft (or any workforce) a winner or a loser. Ultimately, we received’t know for a number of years. If you need to assign a letter grade to the draft, it ought to be TBD. But here’s what Douglas did: He had a plan and he executed it. That is one thing the Jets have did not do for too lengthy.
Douglas had a conviction on gamers and was not afraid to go get them. Start with BYU quarterback Zach Wilson at No. 2. This choose doesn’t really feel like a attain now after months of draft speak, however if you happen to went again to the autumn and mentioned Wilson can be the second quarterback taken, you’d have gotten humorous appears to be like. But Douglas has been eyeing Wilson since then. He fell in love with Wilson’s arm expertise first after which his soccer IQ throughout Zoom calls over the previous few months. The extra fashionable choose could have been Ohio State’s Justin Fields if the Jets locked into him after the school season. Instead, Douglas is trusting his scouting acumen and took Wilson.
The second pick was Alijah Vera-Tucker, a participant Douglas moved up 9 spots to get. The Jets knew that they had so as to add one other piece to an offensive line that has struggled for years. They recognized Vera-Tucker as a participant they liked in the course of the predraft course of. The decision to commerce up for him was not spur-of-the-moment. The Jets determined weeks in the past that if Vera-Tucker have been obtainable within the mid-teens, they might go up and get him. Douglas laid the groundwork with the GMs drafting in that vary that he could need to transfer up and found out what the associated fee can be.
Douglas gave up quantity — two third-round picks — to get Vera-Tucker, but when he turns into an All-Pro guard, nobody will do not forget that.
Think in regards to the final participant the Jets drafted No. 14 total, the choose they obtained Vera-Tucker with. That was Darrelle Revis in 2007. GM Mike Tannenbaum traded second- and fifth-round picks to the Panthers to maneuver from 25 to 14 to get Revis. Do any Jets followers want that they had held onto that second-round choose somewhat than take Revis?
What impressed those that watched Douglas work on this draft was the way in which he included folks from each space — scouting, teaching, analytics — into his draft choices. This was one thing Maccagnan paid lip service to, however folks contained in the Jets felt he typically ignored enter from everybody besides his right-hand man, Brian Heimerdinger.
Douglas leaned on new coach Robert Saleh and their workers to search out gamers who match their scheme. In the later rounds, the Jets took fliers on gamers who had one thing on their résumé that pushed them down the board. Douglas once more consulted with Saleh earlier than taking a participant with any dangers to see if he was comfy with the choose.
Douglas is also giving Wilson a preventing probability, one thing the Jets did not do for Sam Darnold. Taking offensive gamers with the primary 4 picks ought to breathe life into the Jets’ moribund assault. Yes, it could have been good to get a Day 1 starter at cornerback, however Douglas couldn’t resolve each situation this offseason and one thing was going to be left for an additional day.
Time will inform whether or not Douglas obtained this proper, however there’s a probability he landed extra items for his younger core in Wilson, Vera-Tucker and Elijah Moore. He took 5 gamers who have been on NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah’s high 150. He landed three gamers the Jets had of their high 25 and two from their high 10.
We can look again on the decision Johnson made two years in the past to vary GMs and realize it was the precise one. Perhaps in two years we’ll look again at this draft as when issues started to show round for the Jets.