For the New York Jets and their post-NFL Draft picture, analyst Charles Davis appeared On The Block with Brent Axe on ESPN Radio to break everything down.
The draft has come to an end and the Jets have made their seven selections. The Jets are now onto the next phase of the offseason as they continue their preparation heading towards the 2016 regular season. With that being said, ESPN Radio host Brent Axe brought on NFL Draft analyst Charles Davis to put a bow tie on the amazing draft weekend. Davis was asked about the draft of the Jets and more specifically, the evaluation when it came to their second round draft pick Christian Hackenberg.
Here’s what Davis had to say about him:
“Yeah he was a tough evaluation, because we all saw the freshman year and knew how touted he was. I gave him multiple points for sticking with Penn State. Because if you remember he was a recruit for Penn State when the probation was handed down. He could’ve easily bailed and no one would have blamed him.”
Davis continued talking about how all the recruits of the program were free to do what they wanted to do and Hackenberg decided to stick it out. Davis praised his character for deciding to stick with the program despite the controversy.
“There’s some toughness with this kid, knowing going into a situation you won’t get the fruits of your labor, you won’t go to bowl games initially. Hackenberg hung in there and tried to keep the class together. He had a very good freshman year with Bill O’Brien, was it perfect? No. But we just look back and say how idyllic and unbelievable he was.”
It wasn’t all Hackenberg Davis goes on to say. The battle of attrition took place after those initial years before the probation really started to take its toll.
“It wasn’t the first few years, you still had good players there. The attrition was inevitably going to take place and unfortunately for Hackenberg he hit right when it was directly affecting him. The lowest amount of talent they had going. Quite literally they had guys from defense converting to offense trying to protect him. But his footwork started to get whacky and his mechanics got whacky. He started two-hopping swing throws, throwing balls over heads of guys that should be open. How much of that was getting hit so much?”
Davis then goes on to throw some harsh realism at Hackenberg and says that he’s never seen a guy improve on the things that he needs to.
“But I just know this, very rarely have I seen a guy go from not as accurate as you’d expect in college to more accurate in the NFL. Where the windows are tighter, the coverage is better, and the rush is bigger. So to be honest it’s going to be a tough task for him. But when you look at him and watch him throw the ball. My god that’s a quarterback, so I’m hoping everything gets fixed and this kid makes me look like the biggest dummy ever.”
The Jets invested a second round pick in Hackenberg, they saw something that makes them think their quarterback issues can be solved with him in the near future. What Hackenberg possesses is the intangibles: toughness, leadership and his desire to be great.
Through all the metrics, drills and tests that the NFL puts prospective college talent through, Hackenberg does well in one key area. You know, the one thing they can’t measure, which is desire. Quarterback Tom Brady still to this day isn’t the most talented guy on the planet, putting the rivalry aside for a moment. Brady works incredulously hard at his craft, you can see the passion and the desire to be great.
In his “Way-Too-Early” mock draft for 2016, posted last May, ESPN analyst Todd McShay had QB Christian Hackenberg… https://t.co/ZHnxHVnrjS
— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) April 30, 2016
An interesting nugget here from ESPN reporter Rich Cimini, in Todd McShay’s way too early NFL Mock Draft from last season, he had Hackenberg as the first overall draft choice. It just speaks to the talent and tools that this kid possesses.
Everyone has seen flashes, but do the Jets have the right coaches and schemes to turn those flashes into consistency? That is the million dollar question on the minds of Jets fans, analysts and pundits from around the NFL. Maybe, just maybe, Hackenberg can make Davis look like a dummy after all as only time will tell.