Tonight’s NFL Draft won’t be the first of NY Jets general manager Joe Douglas’ career, but it could certainly be the most important.
NY Jets general manager Joe Douglas is no stranger to the NFL Draft. After all, he’s spent the last two decades working as an NFL executive.
He began his career working in the Baltimore Ravens’ personnel department and remained with the organization until 2015 before signing on as the Director of College Scouting for the Chicago Bears.
Then in 2016, Douglas signed a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles to become the team’s Vice President of Player Personnel, a role he held until he accepted an offer to become the general manager of the Jets in June of 2019.
Given his experience with scouting and in the front office, Douglas has obviously become privy to how the draft works. Up until now, however, he has never been the man in charge, calling the shots and having control over his selections.
And it’s for that reason, among a few others, that tonight will mark not only the most important NFL Draft of Douglas’ career but also one of the most important nights of his career in general as an NFL executive.
Ultimately, the 2020 NFL Draft will give Douglas a chance to prove himself. He’s been highly regarded around the league for a few years now and the Jets certainly held him in high regard as evidenced by the six-year contract the team gave him.
But, as previously mentioned, this is his first stint as a general manager and his first draft as the leading man. He’ll get the chance to put what he learned under Ozzie Newsome and Howie Roseman to the test and the chance to prove that he can intelligently and successfully build a team from the ground up.
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And that idea of proving that he can build a team from the ground up is another factor that makes this night so important for Douglas, especially given the state of the Jets and the team’s recent draft history. Simply put, the Jets have had very little success in drafting over the last few years.
This lack of success on draft night is why the team has so many holes and why the team is lacking in depth.
For example, one of the Jets’ biggest needs this offseason is at offensive line and one of the reasons it’s such a glaring need is because the team has neglected the position for years, having not drafted an offensive lineman in the first round since 2006.
It’s possible that trend gets broken tonight.
Wide receiver, meanwhile, is also a position that needs to be addressed. The Jets have attempted to bolster the unit through the draft over the years, but have had very little success.
In fact, the team has drafted six wide receivers over the last five drafts. None of them remain on the roster.
Other areas of need include cornerback, edge rusher, and running back. The Jets also simply need to add depth across the roster.
Clearly, Douglas and company have work to do, and, as many believe, great teams are built through the draft, meaning that much of that work will begin tonight.
Ultimately, Douglas will not only be looking to prove his chops as a skilled general manager in the 2020 NFL Draft, but he’ll be looking to finally begin to turn the tide for the Jets.
And to do so, he’ll need to be firing on all cylinders. Douglas cannot afford to only hit big early in the draft. He needs to be smart throughout and come away with valuable pieces.
If he’s able to do so, Douglas may prove that he can be the man that finally sets the Jets in the right direction.
As of now, that remains to be seen, but there’s no denying what this draft means to Douglas and the future of the Jets.