Was drafting quarterback Christian Hackenberg a mistake by the New York Jets? If they end up having two new quarterbacks on the depth chart at the end of free agency and the 2018 NFL Draft, it will prove that it was.
When the New York Jets selected quarterback Christian Hackenberg out of Penn State in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, many fans felt the team reached for him. He only had one decent year in college and the rest was filled with turnovers, lots of hits due to an inconsistent offensive line, and a whole lot of inaccuracy.
Fast forward two years later and believe it or not, Hackenberg has yet to even take a single snap in a regular season game. He actually made history by being one of just a few quarterbacks that were drafted so high that went two full years in the NFL and failed to start, let alone get some playing time in a football game that counts.
Ideally, the Jets have one of their biggest offseasons ahead of them considering they have a lot of salary cap money to play with and the No. 6 overall pick in this year’s draft. If the Jets were to double down on quarterbacks this offseason by landing a top free agent and drafting another, that would undoubtedly prove one big thing about Hackenberg. The Jets drafting him was a mistake.
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One can understand why general manager Mike Maccagnan made the move to draft Hackenberg since he wanted to rebuild the Jets the right way through the draft. Most of the time, you draft a quarterback with a second-round pick and after a year or so, they should be ready to play and compete for the starting job.
Unfortunately for Hackenberg, he only had one glimpse of hope last year where he was the talk of the town for a preseason game he actually played well in. Then, just a week later, regressed and that was the end of the Hackenberg hype train. Even with a season-ending injury to Josh McCown and the terrible quarterback play of Bryce Petty towards the end of last season, Hackenberg wasn’t even a thought to the leadership regime to at least give him some experience to see where he’s currently at with his progression.
Did they do that purposely because he’s so bad, he would embarrass the organization? Maybe the Jets kept him away from being broadcast on national television to avoid the negative press and humiliating headlines that would come with a draft pick playing so bad, he doesn’t deserve a practice squad spot.
The truth of the matter is if the Jets end up for argument’s sake with Kirk Cousins and use the No. 6 overall pick on let’s say Josh Rosen (if he’s still there), that would be the end of Hackenberg. It would make sense for the Jets to consider trading him or at least releasing him so maybe he can find a better situation on another team, but even then, something says he’s probably just not a good quarterback. If that is what ultimately ends up happening, the Jets would have to come to the realization that drafting Hackenberg was a mistake and move on with a valuable lesson being learned.