The New York Jets selection of quarterback Christian Hackenberg in the second round drew mixed emotions. According to Sports Illustrated, it was an awful decision by Gang Green.
With the 51st pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the New York Jets selected Hackenberg, quarterback out of Penn State. The selection triggered mixed emotions from Jets Nation everywhere. Hackenberg was viewed as a third-fourth round selection and sat behind fellow quarterbacks such as Connor Cook on most analyst draft boards.
While many Jets fans were pleased with general manager Mike Maccagnan’s selection, Sports Illustrated had it’s opinion on Gang Green’s selection, in which they gave their second round pick a grade of an F.
According to SI.com, the reason the 21-year-old quarterback received an F grade was due to the fact that he was chosen much higher than anticipated. Sports Illustrated views Hackenberg as a good, developmental quarterback who needs to work on field vision and ball placement.
Strengths wise, SI.com feels the young quarterback possesses the size NFL teams desire along with his ability to throw absolute darts down the field. However, the main concern when it came to weaknesses was his lack of consistency, and porous play once former head coach Bill O’Brien left Penn State to coach the Houston Texans.
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His best seasons came under O’Brien, but once he relocated south to coach the Texans, he was replaced by James Franklin.
Franklin’s system did not fit Hackenberg’s style of play and the young quarterback regressed during his final seasons at Penn State.
It’s worth mentioning in Hackenberg’s defense that his offensive line was atrocious allowing him to be sacked a grand total of 103 times, but that didn’t keep Maccagnan from investing the teams second round selection in him.
The Jets contract negotiations with Ryan Fitzpatrick is still stuck in neutral and their currently left with a depth chart consisting of a handful of back ups in Hackenberg, Bryce Petty and Geno Smith.
The feeling of Hackenberg being selected a round or two too early is mutual. The young quarterback is nowhere near ready to start for the Jets. Offensive line was a much bigger priority for Gang Green, but if you ask Maccagnan, he stands by his selection despite any grade Hack has received.
The draft has come to an end and the regular season is still months away. Until then, we can’t do much but sit back and watch if Hackenberg does develop into the type of quarterback Maccagnan has envisioned. Given the Jets recent quarterback track record in the draft, the odds are not in their favor.
Former head coach Rex Ryan envisioned quarterback Mark Sanchez as the teams franchise guy when they selected him in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft. While that theory seemed realistic during his first two seasons (2009-2010) making back-to-back AFC East Championship appearances, the Jets would then finish 8-8 at best and 6-10 at worst in Sanchez’s final three seasons with the team.
Former Jets general manager John Idzik invested a second round selection in the 2013 NFL Draft in Smith, a jaw-breaking quarterback who has not won more than eight games as a starter since his rookie year. Which then brings us to present day 2016, as Maccagnan has invested his second round pick in Hackenberg, who like Smith, comes with big question marks.
Time will only tell whether Hackenberg will develop into the teams franchise quarterback or if he’ll prove Sports Illustrated’s draft grade of an F to be completely accurate. Until then, it still seems as the teams main focus is what it’s been since the offseason, re-signing Fitzpatrick for the 2016 season.