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New York Jets General Manager Candidate: Tom Heckert

Jason Miller

Tom Heckert was just fired as general manager of the Browns. He has over two decades of experience in the NFL. Heckert began his career with the Miami Dolphins, where he spent almost a decade as a pro and college scout before moving onto becoming Assistant Director of Pro Personnel and eventually Director of Pro Personnel. Heckert moved to the Eagles in 2001 as Director of Player Personnel and became general manager, a position he held from 2006 to 2009. In 2010, He became Cleveland Browns general manager.

A few trends are evident in Heckert's runs as general manager. First, he tends to Draft solid players in early rounds but seldom elite difference makers. There are a lot of Jeremy Maclin, Winston Justice, Jabaal Sheard, T.J. Ward types. The Trent Richardson and LeSean McCoy guys don't come as frequently. Second, Heckert seldom uses free agency to improve his team. While I do not advocate reckless spending, there are deals to be had in free agency. I'm talking about the LaRon Landry types who can fill a hole at value. I haven't seen Heckert make a ton of these moves. Third, Heckert has never hit on a quarterback. He is 0 for 3 to be exact with misses on Kevin Kolb, Colt McCoy, and Brandon Weeden.

To me, this adds up to a guy you can talk yourself into. Heckert isn't a disastrous general manager. He also doesn't seem to be a guy who is going to build a power, though. He's the kind of middle of the pack front office guy the Jets have seen a lot of in the past decade plus. Just look at his run in Cleveland. The talent level is better than when Heckert took over, but the results on the field have not been there. The year before Heckert arrived, they were 5-11. They never topped that in his three years there because he didn't add enough difference makers.

Just look at quarterback. In 2011, the Julio Jones trade gave Cleveland a load of picks. They started the night in a position to Draft Jones. They didn't. They could have taken Jones and then moved up three slots in the second round for Andy Dalton. Adding an elite receiver and Dalton helped propel the division Bengals from similar doormat status into a back-to-back Playoff team. Heckert did get a huge haul, however, so you can defend the Jones trade. What is tougher to defend is having all of this ammo one year later and somehow losing out on Robert Griffin III. The Jones trade left Heckert enough assets to outbid anything Washington could offer. The Browns had more picks. They could afford to part with them. They couldn't finish the job.

You could probably do worse than Heckert, but the Jets shouldn't be aiming for somebody they can do worse than. They can also do much better. Heckert hasn't shown he has what it takes to make an elite team. It would probably be a lot of the same results if the Jets hired him. I would be against it.