(Image credit Cory Sipkin/New York Post)
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 2017 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 2017 NFL Draft class and see how they have done.
S Jamal Adams (Round 1 - 6th Overall) - Grade A
I don’t care how poorly he is currently playing with the Seattle Seahawks right now Jamal Adams was a slam dunk pick for the Jets at this time. The Jets badly needed to improve their secondary which was ranked as one of the worst in football at the time. The Jets received a gift from the Titans who passed on Jamal Adams for WR Corey Davis. Yes the Jets did need a QB and they passed on Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson but they were in full rebuild mode at the time and had to fix up the defense in this draft class. He was the heart and soul of this defense until Adam Gase was brought in and Adams demanded a trade where the Jets received draft capital in exchange for him. But overall this is a solid pick for the Jets and this pick is tied with the next selection as the best picks in the class.
S Marcus Maye (Round 2 - 39th Overall) - Grade A
When I heard Maye being taken in the draft I was alright with the pick as the Jets needed secondary help. I will admit I had low expectations for Maye and he has proved me wrong and has been a heck of a player for the Jets. Maye has also had a strong contribution towards improving the Jets secondary as well. What impressed me the most about Maye is when the Jamal Adams trade happened he has been a great replacement for what Adams did. The only reason why Maye is not an A+ is that he has had some durability issues. By the way, it is kind of sad that out of everyone in this draft class Maye is the last one standing for now unless the Jets trade him at the deadline or decide to not sign Maye. It will be interesting what happens with Maye in the upcoming weeks.
WR ArDarius Stewart (Round 3 - 79th Overall) - Grade HACKENBURG
The Jets were in rebuild mode and had to get more depth at wide receiver so the Jets decided to select ArDarius Stewart in the 3rd round. He was a complete flop with the Jets who struggled on offense. He had a ton of issues running routes, catching the football, and was abysmal on special teams. His career ended the moment he was suspended from the NFL for violating the league's PED policy. What also makes this pick worse is that a few picks later Chris Godwin was selected by the Buccaneers, Kareem Hunt was taken by the Chiefs, and Kenny Golladay was taken by the Lions many selections later. That is a big ouch and Stewart didn't even appear on an active roster in the NFL ever again spending time on the practice squad for Washington and Oakland Raiders after the Jets cut ties with him. This is an easy HACKENBURG grade.
WR Chad Hansen (Round 4 - 141st Overall) - Grade HACKENBURG
Again the Jets tried to do the same strategy they did in the first and second round by going back-to-back picks to solidify the depth for the secondary and at receiver. They succeeded in the secondary but failed with receivers. I never liked this pick at all when it was made and I had Chad Hansen as a 6th or 7th round draft choice. He lacks the physicality needed for a wide receiver, he was a poor route runner, he doesn't explode right away, He is a terrible blocker, he has poor leaping ability, and lacks consistency during his time in Cal. No surprise he was terrible during his time with the New York Jets. By the way, do you want to know who went a few picks later, TE George Kittle. Great This again is an easy HACKENBURG Draft grade here.
TE Jordan Leggett (Round 5 - 150th Overall) - Grade D
I had a lot of hope that Jordan Leggett would be the answer to who the Jets Tight End would be. Like I keep saying the Jets have never had a consistently good Tight End since Mickey Shuler. Legget was consistently terrible and constantly dealt with multiple injuries. He could not win a battle against Austin Seferian-Jenkins or Eric Tomlinson. Remember Austin Seferian-Jenkins he not only busted with the Buccaneers but he was robbed of a game winning touchdown against the New England Patriots. Leggett was eventually released from the Jets and had short tenures with the Buccaneers and the Broncos.
DE/EDGE Dylan Donahue (Round 5 - 181st Overall) - Grade HACKENBURG
Donahue was a project player that the Jets took a chance on. He was extremely raw and if developed properly he would have been a solid player in the NFL. Even NFL Hall of Famer Kevin Greene had a lot of high hopes for Donahue. He did not perform well once he suffered a season-ending elbow injury and was out of the league in the year due to committing a ton of off-the-field issues. Including a scenario where he was driving drunk the wrong way in the Lincoln Tunnel and hit a bus. One month later he would be released and never play in the NFL ever again. This is a no brainer HACKENBURG grade. Side note: did you know that Donahue, Hansen, and Stewart were all waived from the Jets after one whole season with the organization.
RB Elijah McGuire (Round 6 - 188th Overall) - Grade C-
Honestly, McGuire wasn’t the worst during his tenure with the team. He was not a good football player but he had moments where he showed a ton of flashes with the Jets. Including a 69 yard touchdown run against my second favorite team the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was not the best receiving running back option but he was not awful. The problem was that he lacked consistency and awareness throughout his career. At least he was solid on special teams. McGuire did not last more than two seasons with the Jets.
CB Jeremy Clark (Round 6 - 197th Overall) - Grade D-
This was a completely risky pick because Clark dealt with a ton of injuries in college. But when healthy he showed flashes that he could be a good player in this league. Unfortunately, Clark couldn’t stay healthy in the NFL only appearing in two games for the Jets and eventually being released from the organization. He did have an appearance with the XFL Seattle Dragons and the CFL Saskatchewan Roughriders.
CB Derrick Jones (Round 6 - 204th Overall) - Grade D
This was supposed to be a solid depth option for the secondary. Jones did not work out at all and I don't even think he played a snap at all in the regular season on defense. This was close to being a HACKENBURG Grade but at least he made some solid plays on special teams.