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How poor was Mike Maccagnan’s draft performance?

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New York Jets Introduce General Manager Mike Maccagnan and Head Coach Todd Bowles Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images

After five offseasons at the helm, Mike Maccagnan is out as the GM of the Jets.

The majority of the fanbase was very critical of the now-former GM over his tenure in New York, mostly taking issue with his shortcomings in one particular area — the draft.

Maccagnan saw no shortage of resentment over his struggles on draft weekend. His inability to get it done each April was likely the primary reason he is now on the job market.

While most already know that Maccagnan’s draft performance was less than adequate, I wanted to get a more precise handle on how productive Maccagnan’s drafts have been relative to the rest of the league.

This study relied entirely on the “Approximate Value” stat — a metric generated by Pro-Football-Reference that aims to attach a single number to players as an estimate of the value they’ve provided on the field. It’s an imperfect measure, especially over small samples or single seasons, but it is a tremendous tool for the purpose of this study. Over large samples, it works extremely well.

For a more in-depth explanation of the stat, check out Pro-Football-Reference’s explanation.

Let’s dig into the numbers and find out where Maccagnan’s drafts stood up against the rest of the NFL.


This study looks at the results of the 2015-2018 drafts.

  • Maccagnan’s first four draft classes have so far accumulated a total approximate value of 154. That ties the Jets for 28th in the league over that span.
  • The Jets made only 28 selections over Maccagnan’s first four drafts, tied for the ninth-fewest in the league over that span. Those picks have accumulated an average of 5.5 approximate value over their careers thus far, the 10th-lowest total in the league. The Jets are the only team in the league over that span to rank top-10 in both fewest picks and least approximate value per pick.
  • The one thing Maccagnan did well was draft in the first round. His four first round selections have averaged 7.4 AV per season, the fifth-best mark in the NFL.
  • Of course, Maccagnan did have some good fortune in his favor when it came to the first round. The average Jets first round pick over this span was made at 8.8 overall, the second-best first round positioning in the league behind only Chicago. Three of the four picks (in other words, the three “good” picks) were made in the top six. One could argue that it didn’t take very advanced scouting knowledge for the Jets to know Leonard Williams, Jamal Adams, and Sam Darnold were the right picks at the time. Nevertheless, some credit is due to Maccagnan for not completely flubbing the first round.
  • The second round didn’t quite go as nicely for Mac and the Jets. And thus begins the dreaded tale of Mike Maccagnan and the final six rounds of the draft. Maccagnan’s three second round picks have averaged 1.0 AV per season and have combined for a total of 9 AV, both totals worst in the NFL.
  • In fact, those totals, both the per-season average (1.0) and the AV total (9) are each the worst by any team in any one round over the first three rounds of the draft. Marcus Maye has provided 8 AV so far, an average of 4.0 per season that makes him a slightly above-average second round value. Of course, it’s the other two bombs that caused this catastrophe. Christian Hackenberg laid a goose egg and Devin Smith put up a measly total of 1 AV.
  • Altogether, the Maccagnan-led Jets were arguably the worst drafting team in the NFL beyond the first round. Their total of 80 AV from post-first round picks is easily the worst in the league. The 19 AV difference between the 32nd-ranked Jets and the 31st-ranked Raiders is the largest disparity between any two neighboring spots on the list.
  • I came up with a metric called “Net AV” — which showed the disparity between a team’s actual AV production and the AV production they should be expected to have based on which round each of their picks were made in (using the average AV per season value of a pick in each round, based on the 2014-15 drafts). Basically, it shows how much a team exceeded or fell short of expectations.

For example, I found that first round picks tend to produce an average of about 5.6 AV per season. Four seasons have passed since Leonard Williams was drafted in the first round, so his “expected AV” would be about 22.4. Given that Williams has accumulated a career total of 35 AV, that would make him a +12.6 value. Combine this value from every selection a team has made, and you have their total Net AV.

Past the first round, Maccagnan’s Jets have posted a Net AV of -30.77, fourth-worst in the league, as their 80 AV fell short of their expected value of about 111. On a per-player basis, the average post-first round Jets selection has had a Net AV value of -1.28, the worst mark in the league.

  • Overall, with all rounds of the draft included, the Jets checked in at 25th in Net AV.

Where do you think Mike Maccagnan stood against the rest of the league?

Poll

Looking at his overall performance from 2015-18, where did Mike Maccagnan stand against the other 31 front offices in the league?

This poll is closed

  • 47%
    Worst
    (434 votes)
  • 11%
    2nd worst
    (107 votes)
  • 30%
    3rd-5th worst
    (275 votes)
  • 5%
    6th-8th worst
    (54 votes)
  • 2%
    9th-10th worst
    (22 votes)
  • 2%
    Not in the bottom 10
    (23 votes)
915 votes total Vote Now