NY Jets: A closer look at Gang Green’s abysmal recent draft history

NY Jets (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images) /

The NY Jets’ recent draft history has been nothing short of embarrassing for the organization.

The NY Jets haven’t exactly found the most success in the NFL Draft in recent years. And that’s putting it about as mildly as possible.

Few teams in the NFL have struggled to find adequate players in the draft as much as the Jets have over the past half-decade or so. Or perhaps more specifically, the Mike Maccagnan era.

And with the release of former sixth-round pick Trenton Cannon on Monday, yet another former Maccagnan draft pick joined the long list of players to depart the organization without making much of an impact.

In total, Maccagnan oversaw five drafts as general manager of the Jets ranging from 2015 to 2019. The former Houston Texans scout made a total of 34 picks during his time as GM of the Jets — 14 of which coming in the first three rounds.

And yet, at the time of writing, just 11 of those picks remain on the roster today. In fact, a whopping nine of those 11 players were drafted within the last two years.

That means that just two draft picks remain from before the 2018 NFL Draft class — safety Marcus Maye and outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins.

The entire 2015 draft class is gone and has been gone since the middle of last year. Jenkins is the sole survivor of an ugly 2016 class. Maye is now the last of nine original picks from 2017.

A franchise’s draft history should provide a glimpse into the core players of that organization. It should be where the team builds its foundation through young, affordable players.

But the Jets’ recent draft history resembles a war zone more than anything else — players are lucky to make it out alive after two years.

Joe Caporoso of Turn on the Jets put Maccagnan’s entire draft history in a neat little chart for fans to see in all its “glory” as shown below.

The updated Maccagnan draft pick chart post Cannon cut… #Jets pic.twitter.com/EB5yA1jEvf

— Joe Caporoso (@JCaporoso) August 3, 2020

That is an ugly, ugly chart. And the reality is that Maccagnan’s poor drafting is even worse than that chart indicates.

The NY Jets have drafted players who haven’t even found a home in the NFL.

The vast majority of Maccagnan’s failed draft picks aren’t just no longer on the Jets anymore — they’re out of the league. Of the 23 players no longer on the Jets’ roster, 16 of them are either not currently on an NFL roster or didn’t play a game last season.

And that’s not including guys like Darron Lee, Devin Smith, and Parry Nickerson who had virtually no impact last season and are on the chopping block this summer.

Of the players no longer on the Jets, who can we really say are starting-caliber players? Jamal Adams and Leonard Williams certainly fit that bill. Juston Burris and Brandon Shell are borderline starters at their positions.

After that, there’s no one. The Jets haven’t just drafted players who don’t fit their organization. They’ve drafted players who aren’t fit for the NFL as a whole.

Guys like Lorenzo Mauldin, Christian Hackenberg, ArDarius Stewart, and Jachai Polite were all taken within the first three rounds. None of them ever played a game for another team while two of them never even played with the Jets.

The Jets’ lack of success in recent drafts is the direct cause of their struggles over the past half-decade. The foundation of their roster is made up more of free-agent additions than it is draft picks.

And that’s never a strategy for success.

With Joe Douglas now leading the charge, the hope is that the Jets will be able to turn their fortunes around.

Next. NY Jets: 3 offensive players on the bubble entering training camp

Given how many picks they have over the next two years, they better hope that’s the case.