A questionable selection by Mike Maccagnan
The 2016 NFL Draft was good for the New York Jets but general manager Mike Maccagnan made a questionable selection when it came to quarterback Christian Hackenberg.
The New York Jets made a questionable move when they selected quarterback Christian Hackenberg out of Penn state. Granted, they believed they couldn’t get him later, but drafting him at No. 51 was a reach. It’s not that Hackenberg can’t develop into a competent quarterback in the NFL, it’s just that his inconsistency needs a lot of work, and that means he should’ve been drafted lower.
Related Story: Sports Illustrated gives F grade for Christian Hackenberg
The Jets did well in addressing their overall pass rush in the first round, and that was actually easy. Getting another quarterback that could be developed for the future was the key to this year’s draft. However, it’s never good to reach for a quarterback.
NFL.com had this to say about Hackenberg:
"Hackenberg has the size, athleticism and arm talent of a long-time NFL starter, but his accuracy issues go well beyond just “ball placement” problems. Teams must determine if his inaccuracy is innate or a product of the beatings he’s taken, and then determine if he’s shell-shocked or able to round back into form. Hackenberg’s tools, intelligence and experience under center should make him an eventual starter, but his boom-or-bust potential will either get a coach an extension or fired."
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The best way to judge a quarterback is completion percentage, because it’s the only stat that doesn’t seem to change from the college level to the pros.
Generally, if a quarterback is inaccurate in college, he will be inaccurate in the NFL.
The problem with Hackenberg wasn’t just the inconsistency in completing passes during the season.
Hackenberg’s season-by-season numbers dropped every year:
The offensive line play was a problem too. Even if that’s the reason that his numbers dropped, that could’ve taken it’s toll psychologically already.
If you compare that to quarterback Geno Smith, it gives you a glimpse why he might struggle mightily in the NFL:
Jordan Jenkins fell to them in the third round, and the Jets drafted him. They should have used the second round pick on Jenkins. NFL.com has one AFC Scouting Director saying:
"“I think he’s a plug-and-play second-rounder who can play in an odd or even front. He reminds me of the type of guy Ozzie (Newsome) looks for with his toughness.” — AFC Director of Scouting"
Based on that, the fact that Jenkins fell to No. 83 is lucky for the Jets. They should have picked Jenkins at #51 and waited for Hackenberg in the second round. Other than those two, Maccagnan really did well. He added a punter in the seventh round, and he also did well in the undrafted free agent market, picking up Ross Martin and Jalin Marshall.
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Time will only tell on how well Maccagnan did in this year’s draft. Right now though, he has so far shown an ability to build through the draft.