During the NFL Draft, members of NFL front offices and coaching staffs frequently leverage their connections when scouting a prospect. The film can only tell us so much. Before investing a pick, teams need to be comfortable with the person they are drafting. To get there, decision-makers speak with people they know who have been around a prospect.
This got me thinking about Christian Hackenberg. Which Jets decision-makers have direct ties to people who know Hackenberg? This is by no means a comprehensive list. It also does not necessarily mean any of these Jets people actually talked to those who know Hackenberg. It is only a broad outline of known connections.
Mike Maccagnan (General Manager): Maccagnan came to the Jets from the Texans organization in 2015. Maccagnan held many jobs in Houston, the last being Director of College Scouting. In 2014, Bill O'Brien was hired as Texans head coach. O'Brien's previous job was head coach at Penn State, where he coached Hackenberg.
Chan Gailey (Offensive Coordinator): Gailey had a run as head coach of Georgia Tech last decade. His first year was 2002. O'Brien was an assistant on his staff that year.
Rex Hogan (Director of College Scouting): As we have mentioned in the past, Hogan has deep ties with Vanderbilt University. Much of the coaching staff that replaced O'Brien at Penn State came directly from Vanderbilt, including head coach James Franklin, offensive coordinator John Donovan, and quarterbacks coach Ricky Rahne.
Lee Gissendaner (National Scout): Before coming to the Jets, Gissenader had a long stint with the Packers, where Franklin was wide receivers coach in 2005.
Again, these are not the only contacts the Jets have. They are likely others. It is not even necessarily the case these connections were utilized. It seems unlikely O'Brien would voluntarily help another NFL team with Draft preparation. Is is possible in 2014 that O'Brien casually mentioned something about his time at Penn State to Maccagnan that proved useful? It is anybody's guess.