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Did Mike Maccagnan draft as poorly as John Idzik?

Michael Nania takes a look at the data behind Mike Maccagnan and John Idzik’s drafts

New York Giants v New York Jets Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

In the wake of his firing, I recently took a look back at Mike Maccagnan’s draft performance, comparing the productivity of his four drafts versus the rest of the league over that period of time.

Having completed the review of Maccagnan and set up my table of draft metrics, I thought it would be interesting to compare Maccagnan to his ill-famed predecessor — John Idzik.

After all, the Jets posted the same exact winning percentage over the tenures of each general manager. They went 12-20 under Idzik and 24-40 under Maccagnan, a .375 record each way.

So, was Mike Maccagnan really as futile on draft weekend as the man he replaced? Or was Idzik truly the foulest drafter of them all?

Let’s take a quick look back at where I found Maccagnan’s draft productivity to fall against the rest of the league.

Overall, Maccagnan’s four drafts from 2015-18 accumulated 154 approximate value (AV), which was tied for the fourth-lowest total in the league over that span.

In rounds two through seven, Maccagnan’s drafts collected just 80 AV, by far the lowest total in the league.

Even when stacked up against expectation, Maccagnan was the worst when it came to post-first round drafting. “Net AV” was a metric I concocted that compared a team’s actual AV total to the total they would be expected to get if every one of their picks produced at an average level, based on the round the selections were made.

The Jets ranked last in the league in average net AV per season from post-first round picks.

When looking at the entire draft as a whole, the Jets fared slightly better in the net AV department thanks to Maccagnan’s solid first round track record. Since the Jets ranked fifth-best in average AV per season from first round selections, the team ranked 25th in the league in total net AV over all rounds of the draft.

Altogether, the Maccagnan-led Jets seemed to be the very worst team in the league at drafting beyond the first round. They did do a solid enough job in the first to separate themselves from a few other teams that busted spectacularly in the leadoff round. At the same time, the Jets did benefit from the second-best average first round positioning in the league over Maccagnan’s tenure, tainting his success in that round a bit.

While a case can be made the Jets were not the worst drafting team in the league over Maccagnan’s tenure, it would be difficult to argue they were not one of the top 3-5 worst drafting teams over that span. And the case for them being the worst, while not indisputable, is very strong.

How does Idzik compare?

*- Net AV stats in the post are calculated using the production averages accumulated between the combination of the 2013 and 2014 drafts

John Idzik only spearheaded two Jets drafts versus Maccagnan’s four. We’ll break Idzik’s tenure up into two parts, looking at where his 2013 and 2014 drafts ranked each year, and then look at his production over that span as a whole.

The 2013 Jets draft class stands up surprisingly well against the rest of the league’s classes that year, even though only one Jet remains from that haul (Brian Winters).

In 2013, the Jets made seven selections, tied for the seventh-fewest in the league. That draft class produced 84 AV for the Jets, which shockingly stands as the 11th-best total in the league that year. The Jets also rank 11th in AV per season generated by the 2013 class.

It wasn’t a great draft year overall, which might help the apparently-mediocre Jets class look like an above-average one. Counting out special teams players, there have only been 13 multi-time Pro Bowl players to come out of the 2013 class so far. In comparison, the 2012 draft has produced 18 of those players. The 2014 draft, despite coming a year later, has produced three more, with 16.

Two players help that Jets class make a shocking appearance in the top half of that list — Sheldon Richardson and the aforementioned Brian Winters.

Richardson produced 34 AV for the Jets, tied for ninth among first round picks in the 2013 class. Winters’ longevity has allowed him to produce 24 AV in New York, tying him for eighth among third round picks in the class.

However, when stacked up by net AV, the 2013 class doesn’t look as solid.

The 2013 Jets draft class has posted a combined net AV of -15.4, which ranks 19th among all of the 2013 classes. The Dee Milliner bust hurts the group tremendously, as the measly 6 AV that Milliner produced for the Jets ties him for the second-lowest total among all players taken in that round. The Geno Smith selection also lays a hit to the number.

2014 was the year of the infamous “Idzik 12.” The Jets made 12 selections in that year’s draft, tied with the 49ers for the most in the league.

As Jets fans are well aware, more shots at the dartboard did not equate to more value.

Idzik’s second draft class was a complete and utter disaster. Of the 12 picks, 10 of them fell short of their draft round’s AV expectation, most of them by a huge margin. The only exceptions were Trevor Reilly, whose 2 AV barely eclipsed the minuscule expectations of the seventh round, and Quincy Enunwa, the lone victory for Idzik out of the entire class. Enunwa’s 13 AV for the Jets ranks fifth out of all players taken in the sixth round that year.

The first selection of the bunch, and the only first round pick made by the Jets that year, was made at 18th overall, used on Calvin Pryor. The Louisville safety produced only 14 AV for the Jets, eighth-worst in the first round that year and second-worst among players taken in the top-20.

In the second round, the Jets took tight end Jace Amaro with the 49th overall pick. He only produced 3 AV for the Jets, tied for fourth-worst in the second round that year and tied for second-worst among players taken in the top-50.

The Jets would make 10 picks from rounds three through seven. Outside of Enunwa, they combined to produce 7 AV, over half of which (4) has been accumulated by Dakota Dozier (taken R4-137 overall).

Shaq Evans (R4-115), Jeremiah George (R5-154), Brandon Dixon (R6-195), and Tajh Boyd (R6-213) never played in a regular season game for the Jets. Dexter McDougle (R3-80), Jalen Saunders (R4-104), and IK Enemkpali (R6-210) all appeared in games for the Jets but combined for only 1 AV as a group.

McDougle, the 80th overall pick, is one of only four players taken in the top-80 that year to produce 0 or 1 AV for the team that drafted him.

Altogether, the Jets easily had the league’s worst draft class in 2014.

The Jets were one of the very worst drafting teams in the league over 2013-2014. Idzik’s Jets registered a below-average AV per season rate in every single round, making them the only team in the league with that distinction.

Their total of 121 drafted AV over that span is tied for the sixth-fewest, while their net AV of -70.7 ranks second-worst.

As mentioned earlier, Maccagnan’s worst folly was his inability to find value beyond the first round. Mac checked in as arguably the league’s worst post-first round drafter, ranking dead last in total AV, net AV per player, and net AV per season.

Let’s take a look at Idzik’s post-first round numbers. His rankings are similarly awful, but he has managed to stay out of last-place in any one category. Overall, Idzik’s Jets are ranked sixth-worst in total post-first round AV, fourth-worst in total post-first round net AV, and second-worst in post-first round net AV per season.

Here’s a head-to-head look at Maccagnan and Idzik’s rankings over their respective tenures.

Over the entirety of the draft, Maccagnan does own a solid edge over Idzik in net valuation and in total value generated on a per-player/per-season basis, thanks to his first round advantage. Beyond the first round, though, the two are neck-and-neck.

I think that although Maccagnan and Idzik both accumulated similarly brutal results, particularly after the first round, it’s difficult to say that Maccagnan was as bad a drafter as Idzik overall. While some lucky first round positioning was involved, Maccagnan’s drafts have at least left the team with multiple decent starters and a few potentially star-caliber pieces. The same cannot be said of Idzik. Maccagnan is the lesser of the two evils.

What do you think? Is it fair to claim that Mike Maccagnan’s struggles were just about as prevalent as John Idzik’s? Or, did Maccagnan do enough to at least separate himself from the dreadfulness of Idzik’s tenure?


As a drafter - how does Mike Maccagnan compare to John Idzik?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    Maccagnan was significantly better
    (80 votes)
  • 36%
    Maccagnan was slightly better
    (303 votes)
  • 50%
    They were about equally poor
    (421 votes)
  • 4%
    Maccagnan was worse
    (36 votes)
840 votes total Vote Now