The staff of every NFL team will offer verbal explanations of Draft picks to the media. Sometimes a team speaks to us through the picks it makes or doesn’t make. Here are some of the messages I will take if the Jets make certain picks.
We’re going all in: Deshaun Watson, Mitchell Trubisky, or Pat Mahomes in the first round
Sometimes people overstate how significant of an investment drafting a quarterback is. This time last year some people said Mike Maccagnan was staking his job on Christian Hackenberg. Taking a quarterback in the second round doesn’t necessarily mean that, though. The fact the Jets could take another quarterback this year is proof of that. Taking a quarterback in the first round is different, though, particularly one at the top of the first round. When talking about the money and the opportunity cost, jobs are typically on the line. This also might be the last shot this regime has. Maccagnan is in his third year. His job probably won’t be on the line in 2017 so he can afford to have a rookie start. A third straight season of no Playoffs means his job could be on the line in 2018, however. That’s not a situation where you typically are willing to go to a rookie quarterback. Maybe there are a few scenario where it could happen, but it’s exceptionally unlikely Maccagnan would keep his job if a first round quarterback failed.
We pick based purely on talent: Jonathan Allen
I don’t even think you could say this would be a case of best player available because Allen wouldn’t be the best player for the Jets. The team has already struggled to properly utilize all of the talent it has on the defensive line. Can they really figure out how to add another? Selecting Allen would simply be a case of trying to stockpile as much talent as possible and figuring out the rest later.
We are picking based on need: Cam Robinson (or any other offensive lineman) with the sixth pick
I know Draft boards can vary wildly from team to team. Sometimes the consensus isn’t accurate. With that said, it’s very difficult to make the case any offensive lineman is a top six player in this class or even close. The Jets picking one would be a clear case of reaching for need.
We have a distinct plan on offense: Leonard Fournette with the sixth pick
I don’t think there is a player in this class whose selection would offer a clearer view of the direction a team wants to go on offense. Fournette is a go-to type of talent who fits like a glove in an old school, smashmouth, man blocking run scheme with a fullback in front of him. If you’re investing a high pick in Fournette, you are probably building your offense around him. That means playing to his strengths with a distinct style.
We’re going all in with Christian Hackenberg: Not drafting any quarterback
Taking a quarterback in the second round doesn’t necessarily mean you are staking your job to that player. You do reserve the option to do so, however. If the Jets don’t pick a quarterback, Hackenberg remains their hope for a quality young player to develop at the position. Once again, a year from now might be too late for Maccagnan to find another quarterback. It will be Hackenberg or nothing.