NY Jets: 3 former Mike Maccagnan draft picks facing make-or-break seasons

NY Jets, Blake Cashman
NY Jets, Blake Cashman / Al Pereira/Getty Images
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NY Jets, Nathan Shepherd
NY Jets, Nathan Shepherd / Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

1. Nathan Shepherd, DT, NY Jets

One of the biggest takeaways from the Maccagnan draft is the lack of success in the middle rounds. After taking players like Jamal Adams, Quinnen Williams, and Leonard Williams Round 1, his drafts always seemed to fall off.

The 2018 NFL Draft is no exception. In the first round, he landed who he had hoped would be the franchise savior in quarterback Sam Darnold. Then, in the third round, Maccagnan took a chance on Fort Hayes State defensive lineman Nathan Shepherd.

At 6-foot-4 and 315 pounds, Shepherd brings plenty of versatility, which head coach Robert Saleh is going to love. Apart from this, Shepherd’s track record will leave him fighting for his spot on the roster.

In three years, Shepherd has failed to establish himself as a starter, as Maccagnan had hoped. In his career, Shepherd has started eight of 39 games, recording only 4.5 sacks and 43 total tackles.

In fact, this past season his 50.7 overall grade from PFF ranked 110th out of 126 qualifying defensive linemen.

It also does not help his case that Douglas loaded up along the defensive front this offseason. Not only did he add Carl Lawson on the edge, but veterans Vinny Curry and Ronald Blair are now in the fold.

Meanwhile, rookies Jonathan Marshall, Hamilcar Rashed Jr., and Michael Dwumfour will also look to make their mark during training camp.

At the end of the day, any Jets fan is routing for the best 53 players to make the team. It may just so happen that these three all make the team in 2021.

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Nevertheless, if they fall behind early in training camp, Douglas’ purge of former Maccagnan picks could continue.