(Image credit: Ed Mulholland/Getty Images)
Written by: Nicholas Mullick
Week 6 of the NFL season is getting close. The New York Jets for Week 6 will be on a bye which is fair after they played a game in London, England losing to the Atlanta Falcons 27-20. So I decided during the Jets bye week why not look into the latest draft classes the New York Jets made during the Mike Maccagnan years (2015-2019). For today let's take a look at the 2015 NFL Draft.
Now before we get into the draft grades, if I label a grade for a player as HACKENBURG that means it is a failing grade and the prospect is a complete bust in the league. I decided to pay homage to Christian Hackenberg who in my opinion is the worst draft selection that was ever made in recent history for the New York Jets. There have been plenty of poor selections made by this organization in history including Blair Thomas, Johnny “Lam’’ Jones, Ken O’Brian, Roger Vick, Vernon Gholston, Dee Milliner, and Calvin Pryor. But in my lifetime Christian Hackenberg is one of the worst selections that this organization ever selected as Hackenburg never played a down in the league and was completely healthy.
Now that is settled let's look into the 2015 NFL Draft class and see how they have done.
DE/EDGE Leonard Williams (Round 1 - 6th Overall) - Grade A-
Williams at one point was projected to go 1st overall in the 2015 NFL Draft but a shoulder injury made him fell to the Jets 6th overall. Thank goodness too because the Jets almost took Kevin White in the first round and he is the biggest bust in this entire draft class. They didn't need to draft Williams as the team had Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson but he was just too good to pass up. This pick absolutely paid off and he made a big impact for the Jets right away. Unfortunately, Williams no longer is a part of the New York Jets as he was traded for a third and 5th round draft pick. By the way, those picks turned into Ashtyn Davis (who for now was a waste of a pick) and S Michael Carter (Who for now is a solid pick but needs more time to develop. This is easily the best pick in the draft and I wish Leonard Williams was still a New York Jets today.
WR Devin Smith (Round 2 - 37th Overall) - Grade HACKENBURG
Devin Smith is another cliched pick of a receiver taken by the New York Jets in the second round that completely busted. Smith failed with the Jets because of his durability concerns. His time with the Jets ended after he suffered another Torn ACL to the same knee he injured during his rookie season. When he was on the field he did not impress either. Smith turned into a journeyman receiver spending time with the Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, New England Patriots, and Jacksonville Jaguars. No question with this in as this was an easy HACKENBURG grade here.
LB Lorenzo Mauldin (Round 3 - 82nd Overall) - Grade C-
Mauldin showed a ton of promise during his rookie season in the NFL. He finished his rookie season with 17 tackles and 4 sacks. He showed a ton of flashes that he could be a great pass rusher in the league. Then the injuries came where he suffered a neck and concussion which took him out multiple games. The one injury that killed his career with the Jets was a back injury that took him out of the 2017 season. It also did not help that he suffered many off-the-field issues during the offseason as well. Mauldin was released in 2018 and was out of the NFL entirely. In January Mauldin signed with the CFL Hamilton Tiger-Cats and is now playing Defensive end. I am not going to give him a D grade because he showed a ton of flashes his rookie year and when he was healthy he was a solid player. But this pick was extremely unlucky.
QB Bryce Petty (Round 4 - 103rd Overall) - Grade D-
I didn’t hate the pick as Petty was labeled as a project QB and the team already had Geno Smith and Ryan Fitzpatrick battling for the starting QB role. Petty was terrible during his tenure with the New York Jets. Every game that he played in he just got more and worse. He had 7 starts and in those games he threw for 4 touchdowns and 10 interceptions and a passer rating of 57.7. He was terrible and once being released from the Jets he briefly spent time with the Miami Dolphins and is now out of football. At least Petty had some solid throws in the preseason and in his first game as the starter.
OL Jarvis Harrison (Round 5 - 152nd Overall) - Grade HACKENBURG
I loved this pick originally and I thought this was going to be the steal of the draft as the Jets did need youth and depth at the o-line position. Harrison was a complete flop and was terrible during his tenure with the team. In fact he only lasted one season for the jets and never took a regular season snap for the Jets. He spent a brief time with the Buccaneers and played in the CFL with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Montreal Alouettes. This is absolutely a HACKENBURG Grade.
DT Deon Simon (Round 7 - 223rd Overall) - Grade C-
Simon wasn’t a terrible selection in fact he was a selection that was used to gain more depth for a stacked Jets defensive line. 2016 was his best season as he showed a ton of flashes providing pressure to the quarterback and stopping the run. Simon however was not consistent and was a part of the Jets practice squad until being released in 2018. Simon spent time with the Titans and Packers. He was drafted by the Dallas Renegades of the XFL. But for a 7th round pick Simon was not the worst.