New York Jets GM Mike Maccagnan surprised many with his selections in the 2017 NFL Draft. How they perform will go a long way to securing his job.
When GM Mike Maccagnan drafted safeties in each of the first two rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft, most experts and fans were confused. The Jets had many holes to fill and had just spent a first round pick in 2014 on safety when they drafted Calvin Pryor (Pryor was since traded to Cleveland).
Entering the 2017 season Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles both have heat on them. A major reason for that has been the poor drafts this regime has presided over. After having 2015 first round pick Leonard Williams fall into their lap at number six (many draft experts had him going earlier), very little has gone right with the Jets draft selections.
Of the New York Jets 13 selections under Maccagnan, only Williams and 2016 third round pick Jordan Jenkins have started more than 10 games. His second round selections of Devin Smith (2015) and Christian Hackenberg (2016) have been highly criticized.
There is very little to criticize Maccagnan about with the selection of safety Jamal Adams at number six, who much like Williams in 2015, was predicted to go much earlier. Adams is spoken of by scouts as a player who can impact a teams defense for 10 years. However, drafting the safety position again in the second round with Marcus Maye puts more pressure on Maccagnan because of all the other needs the Jets have around their roster.
Marcus Maye has the talent to be an all-time great and break the New York Jets history of poor second round selections. Of the second round picks by the New York Jets going back to 1979, only Mark Gastineau and Justin Miller have made the Pro Bowl (Miller was a special teams player). However, his selection in the second round for a GM that needed to fill many roster spots was a bit risky.
Looking at his free agent decisions doesn’t make the argument for Maccagnan’s personal moves much better. After inheriting over $46 million in cap space when he took over in 2015, the free agents he used the space on were a huge part of why the team fell off so dramatically in 2016. Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Kellen Davis, Marcus Gilchrist and Jarvis Jenkins have all been failures and are no longer on the roster.
While it is easy to pour dirt on Maccagnan after the way the Jets performed in 2016 and the offseason moves they have made so far, he still can have the last laugh. While rookie minicamp isn’t the ultimate predictor for how players will perform in game action, many of Maccagnan’s 2017 draft picks showed promise. Reports during minicamp had Christian Hackenberg looking much better and narrowing the gap to become a starter.
Sometimes it takes a few seasons for players to find their stride and get comfortable with the pace of the NFL. For the sake of Maccagnan’s future as GM of the New York Jets, he needs the players he drafted to perform this season if he is to be trusted with another draft.
Mark Kelly covers the New York Jets for ProFootballSpot.com. You can follow him on twitter @CkmagicSports. Looking for more Jets news and features? Like our Jets Facebook page and also follow @spot_jets on Twitter.