The New York Jets clearly had high hopes for second-year quarterback Christian Hackenberg, but with the 2017 preseason now in the rearview mirror, it’s clear that he has not yet progressed into a starting caliber NFL quarterback.
After spending three years at Penn State, it was obvious that quarterback Christian Hackenberg possessed a plethora of raw skills and attributes that could potentially make him a successful starting quarterback for the New York Jets.
The 22-year-old was named the Big Ten “Freshman of the Year” in 2012, the same year that he broke 10 school freshman records. He also currently stands as Penn State’s all-time leader in career passing yards.
Despite his success at the collegiate level, it was also evident that Hackenberg had his flaws, perhaps his inconsistency and trouble with accuracy being the most glaring. Because of that, many experts and fans were surprised when the Jets drafted Hackenberg in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Hackenberg’s first season in green and white turned out to be a rather uneventful one. He appeared in two preseason games before being named the team’s fourth-string quarterback. He was also inactive for the first 15 regular season games, and he didn’t play a single down of football in the regular season.
This year, however, started off a bit different for the Pennsylvania native.
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Heading into the preseason, the Jets quarterback picture was cloudy at best. The team had no clear-cut starter, and a three-man race between veteran Josh McCown, Bryce Petty and Hackenberg seemed to form.
To some surprise, however, Hackenberg was given the most action, or perhaps the most opportunity.
Consistently given the majority of reps in training camp, Hackenberg also made three starts in preseason games, although he turned in a mediocre performance.
After completing 18 of his 25 passing attempts in the preseason opener, the Penn State alum struggled to put together quality possessions, completing 42 of his 74 passing attempts and throwing only two touchdowns. He also threw two interceptions, both of which were returned for touchdowns.
Looking back on the preseason, Hackenberg was outperformed by not only McCown, who has been named the team’s starting quarterback, but by Petty as well.
That is not, however, due to a lack of attention or a lack of opportunity. The Jets certainly gave Hackenberg the chance to prove himself, and it almost seemed as if they were hoping he would.
But he didn’t.
Given his age and the state of the team’s depth chart, Hackenberg’s story has not yet been fully written, but it’s obvious that he still has ways to go before he can be considered a legitimate starting caliber NFL quarterback.