Now just days away from the 2018 NFL Draft, it’s become increasingly clear that a lot is on the line for New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan and the No. 3 pick he holds could end up making or breaking his career with the team.
Mike Maccagnan has been with the New York Jets for a few years now, signing on as the team’s general manager prior to the start of the 2015 NFL season. Since then, Maccagnan has completed three seasons with the green and white and obviously has taken part in three drafts with the team, but it could be argued that he hasn’t seen a ton of success thus far.
In terms of on the field success, the Jets were 10-6 in 2015 but failed to make the NFL Playoffs. In 2016 and 2017 respectively, the team finished a lackluster 5-11 both seasons, once again missing the playoffs.
And in terms of the draft, Maccagnan has had some success, but likely not as much as one would hope for. For example, he selected Leonard Williams, who has become somewhat of a staple on the team’s defensive line, with the No. 6 overall pick in 2015, but other than that, few notable players come out of the draft that year.
In 2016, meanwhile, linebacker Darron Lee was selected with the No. 20 overall pick and while he’s shown signs of success, the Jets are likely hoping for more out of him. A few other notable players were taken by the Jets that year including Jordan Jenkins, Juston Burris, and Brandon Shell, but Christian Hackenberg was also selected by the team that year in the second round. This is a selection that could be labeled as Maccagnan’s worst pick with the Jets to date.
Moving on to 2017, signs of improvement were seen. Safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye, two players expected to have bright futures with team, were taken in the first and second rounds respectively. Wide receivers ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen, tight end Jordan Leggett and running back Elijah McGuire were also taken, all of whom could find roles with the team moving forward.
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It’s also important to remember that free agency is another crucial part of a general manager’s job and Maccagnan has added quite a few noteworthy players throughout free agency thus far. What’s even more interesting to think, however, is that this year’s draft could essentially make or break Maccagnan’s career with the Jets.
For years, the Jets have been in need of a franchise quarterback. The issue was evident when Maccagnan arrived in New York and it remains an issue today. However, it’s an issue that the general manager has the ability to fix on draft night later this week.
Last month, the Jets traded up to secure the No. 3 pick in order to land one of the top four quarterbacks in the draft: USC’s Sam Darnold, UCLA’s Josh Rosen, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield or Wyoming’s Josh Allen. And make no mistake about, one of the four aforementioned players will be a Jet come Thursday night.
The only question, however, is which one?
There has been a ton of speculation as to who the Jets will select and a ton of analyzing done as to who the correct choice will be. It appears as if Rosen and Mayfield are the frontrunners to end up in green and white, but anything can happen. It’s also impossible to tell how each player will pan out, or which ones will succeed and which ones may end up failing.
Regardless, the decision Maccagnan makes will have a lasting impact. If he makes the correct choice and selects a player that ends up being the Jets’ long-awaited franchise quarterback for years to come, his legacy will be set in stone.
If the opposite occurs, however, he may be seen as just another general manager who had the chance to change the culture, but just couldn’t get it done. Only time will tell, but it’s clear that Thursday night could define Maccagnan’s time in the Jets’ front office.