Mike Maccagnan only had six picks in this NFL Draft, and couldn't come up with more despite his best efforts. So he had to take some risks to fill the holes on his rebuilding team.
And the Jets need those risks to very quickly pay off.
Those risks, and the fact that Maccagnan couldn't accomplish his goal of adding picks - especially in the second round -- are why the Jets' overall draft grade is only C-plus, despite the A-plus pick of Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams in the first round. Maccagnan actually wanted to trade down from the third overall pick, but it was hard to fault him for staying put and taking a player some scouts thought was the best defensive player in the draft.
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But that decision left him without another pick until No. 68 (in the third round). And despite a couple of third-day trades, he still ended up with only a draft class of six.
And other than Williams, it's really unclear how much help the rest of the class is going to be.
That's particularly true of his boom-or-bust third-round picks - Florida linebacker Jachai Polite and USC tackle Chuma Edoga. At best, Maccagnan has found the Jets a stud pass rusher and future left or right tackle. But the reason both players were still available at 68th and 92nd respectively, were because of legitimate character concerns.
The 6-3, 258-pound Polite, in fact, was one of the most polarizing players in the draft - a first-round talent who was completely off some team's boards. He had a dreadful experience at the combine, where he underperformed, then withdrew from drills and claimed a weeks-old hamstring injury. Then he had a series of terrible interviews with teams, which he made worse by ripping those teams for "bashing" him during those interviews when he spoke to the press.
He was described by one scout, seemingly generously, as a "big headache." But he's also an athletic freak who had 11 sacks and six forced fumbles last season.
"We felt like any player, there's always risks," Maccagnan said. "But we definitely thought there was a good guy to kind of work with there. … But it's going to be up to him. He's obviously going to have to rise to the challenge."
The same is true of the 6-3, 308-pound Edoga, quarterback Sam Darnold's old right tackle at USC. He's got starting-level talent and plenty of experience, but even he understood that he stood out during college too often for being unreliable and immature.
"I had a little rocky career at USC," Edoga said. "But (the Jets coaches) they were really just stressing that you have to turn over a new leaf and create a new you."
If he and Polite can turn over those leaves and redefine themselves, then this is a home-run draft for Maccagnan. He even found himself a nice blocking tight end in West Virginia's Trevon Wesco in the fourth round, and some defensive depth in Minnesota linebacker Blake Cashman and Rutgers cornerback Blessuan Austin in Rounds 4 and 5.
But in a draft with few picks and a team with many needs, Maccagnan was really in a can't-miss position. And his draft history hasn't exactly been very good beyond the first round. Almost always when he takes a risk, it doesn't work out.
Whether or not it will this time remains to be seen, but this draft would've felt a lot better if Maccagnan had avoided the truly questionable players on Day 2. He apparently felt a need to take a shot and try to swing for the fences.
That's fine, but this really can't be the year where he strikes out.
DT Quinnen Williams, Alabama (first round, 3rd overall) -- A-plus
Good for the Jets not trading down and missing out on this stud linemen just for the sake of adding a few picks.
LB Jachai Polite, Florida (third, 68th) - C-plus
The ability is there. The character is a question. It's a boom-or-bust pick and that's really risky for the Jets' second of six picks in this draft.
T Chuma Edoga, USC (third, 92nd) - B-minus
A decent players if he can show some maturity. The Jets needed a center more, but adding a future tackle is always wise.
TE Trevon Wesco, West Virginia (fourth, 121st) - C-minus
He'll be a fine blocking tight end and there is some potential for him as a receiver. But in the fourth round, for a team with only six picks and a ton of needs?
LB Blake Cashman, Minnesota (five, 157th) - C
Sounds like he's a good guy, and a hard-working former walk-on. But he's only 6-1, 237 and had surgery on both shoulders last year. Seems like his ceiling is as a backup and a special teamer.
CB Blessuan Austin, Rutgers (sixth, 196th) - C-plus
There's lots of potential for this 6-1, 198-pound corner, but he's got huge medical red flags. Knee injuries limited him to one game last season and five in the last two years. Who knows if he'll ever actually be on the field for the Jets?
Too many risks for a team with so few picks. Outside of Quinnen Williams, there's no "safe" pick. The whole thing is boom-or-bust.