The New York Jets had to hit a home run during the 2019 NFL Draft. It’s safe to say they “risked it to get the biscuit.” Will it pay off?
That leather cushion started lukewarm on Mike Maccagnan’s cheeks but has now risen to an uncomfortably warm level. So much so that the job security of Maccagnan and/or Adam Gase was questioned during the NFL Draft.
If both want to last in Gotham for the foreseeable future, they needed to hit some home runs in the 2019 NFL Draft. If they end up failing, you can’t blame them for not swinging.
While the third overall pick is often labeled “can’t miss,” my mother has read me too many bedtime stories that contradict that narrative for me to believe it. But the New York Jets, by all accounts, hit a home run with the selection of Quinnen Williams out of Alabama.
New York didn’t have a second round pick (thank God) but was armed with a double-dipper of third-round picks this year (thanks Teddy Bridgewater).
While there was a lot of smoke about a potential trade down in round one and a potential trade up in round two, the Jets stayed put and cashed in the 68th overall pick on Jachai Polite out of Florida.
Spoke about this selection with NFL Draft Insider Connor Rogers of the Stick to Football podcast here:
Fresh post #NFLDraft interview w/ @ConnorJRogers of @sticktofootball:
– Draft grades for #BillsMafia #Giants #Jets
– Thoughts on fits for all rookie #NFL QBs
– What an amazing job by @AdamLefkoe @nfldraftscout @Mello @BleacherReport on draft stream!https://t.co/fKTUHrBKMm
— Paul Andrew Esden Jr (@BoyGreen25) April 29, 2019
Mel Kiper Jr of ESPN on Polite pick:
“Jachai Polite (No. 68) has first-round tape but he bombed the combine and his athleticism (and work ethic) is in question. Still, you don’t get 11 sacks in the SEC without some talent.”
Reiterating the main point of this piece: in order to get the biscuit, you must risk it. Polite has all the tools to be the best edge rusher the Jets have had at their disposal since John Abraham, who last played for the Jets back in 2005.
But the Jets haven't always lived on the edge when it comes to their third-round picks:
- 2018: The Jets drafted Nathan Shepherd, a 24-year old player for the middle of their defense. He had a great story and the “raw” excuse made this a safe pick. Someone who could be stashed on a roster for future use without much complaining from media.
- 2017: ArDarius Stewart, another 24-year-old player who came from Alabama. A guy who was expected to jump right in and contribute after coming from Tuscaloosa.
- 2016: Jordan Jenkins, the definition of safe. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still on the team and had a career year in 2018, but he didn’t have the flash of his teammate Leonard Floyd who went top-10.
- 2015: Lorenzo Mauldin, another feel-good story who didn’t pan out on the field. A safe player who had a rough upbringing. Was a player who was deemed a “high-character guy” who could help immediately.
Do you sense a pattern here? More times than not, those picks haven’t worked out and/or are still developing.
Although, it’s not just the Polite pick the Jets are gambling on:
- OT/G Chuma Edoga out of USC has injury issues. If he stays healthy, the Jets have a winner.
- Same situation for Blessuan Austin, CB out of Rutgers who has had multiple surgeries to repair his knees.
- Jets used a fourth-round pick on a blocking tight end (Trevon Wesco). It’s a bold selection for a team with a wide variety of needs at corner and center.
If these risks pay off, the New York Jets will get that biscuit and a comfier chair for Mike Maccagnan’s tushie.