For the New York Jets, Drafting Identity is a Major Problem

Kristian Dyer

Poor drafting by the New York Jets has gotten the team in this current mess. It is an interesting study of a team’s supposed priorities and how the Jets have been built.

Every general manager that the Jets have had the past 10 years has said that drafting is a priority. Only one general manager, Mike Tannenbaum, actually backed that up with some solid players from the draft.

The problem for the Jets, 0-6 this year and currently without a playoff appearance since 2019 (under Tannenbaum), the lack of results from their draft classes are telling and contributing to this team’s perpetual roster turnover.

Only three first round picks in the last three years are still with the Jets. That is a damning indictment of previous general managers John Idzik and most recently, Mike Maccagnan.

In his second year with the Jets, this was general manager Joe Douglas’ first draft with the Jets, having been hired mid-summer in 2019. As such, it is a small sample size to see any trends or type of players that Douglas favors.

With nine picks, however, Douglas did continue the Jets trend over the past year of the Jets liking the SEC. Douglas took three SEC players (two from Florida, one from Texas A&M) in his first draft with the team. He also reached into the ACC with players from Louisville and Virginia).

The Jets, in their decade-run of postseason futility, have built their draft classes primarily on the SEC (17 selections) and the ACC (14 selections) as well as the Big XII (10 selections). It is surprising to see the Big Ten and Pac-12 (both with eight selections) so lightly drafted by the Jets.

It is clear that the Jets need better results from their drafts and the lack of both high-end talent and overall depth on the two-deep from their draft classes is appalling.

And it doesn’t mean that just because Douglas just had his first draft with the team six months ago that there isn’t cause for concern. The initial returns from April’s draft haven’t been home runs.

So far, his first draft class has been a disappointment, despite the hype over the summer. Only first round pick Mekhi Becton (left tackle) and sixth round pick Braden Mann (punter) have made consistent contributions. Safety Ashtyn Davis has had some injuries but played a career-high 22 defensive snaps in Week 5.

The rest of the class has either been injured (wide receiver Denzel Mims, defensive end Jabari Zuniga and cornerback Bryce Hall) or sparsely used (running back La’Mical Perine). Some, such as guard Cameron Clark (Charlotte) or quarterback James Morgan (FIU) are developmental players who likely need a year or two till they make an impact on the field.

All data including the graph above is derived from Vivid Seats. Check them out their Jets-specific section here and sign up for their newsletter.

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