Long before Joe Douglas became the Jets GM and was entrusted to recreate this rebuild the franchise is currently in, he was a scout. And it was all of those years evaluating and grading that have led to this moment: leading the charge at the NFL Draft.
He'll do so in a very unique situation: The draft will be conducted virtually at the end of the month due to coronavirus concerns. Prospects also weren't allowed to have in-person visits, so Douglas has had to talk to them over conference calls while trusting even more in the work done prior to this point in dissecting this year's class.
It's certainly been a tougher task than normal, but the foundation was already set before this time right now. The Daily News' Manish Mehta went very in-depth on how Douglas has reshaped the way the Jets are scouting NFL prospects throughout the year, and it's a model he believes will eventually bring glory back to One Jets Drive.
First and foremost, Douglas doesn't believe in grading a player as a "first-round talent." So, even if it is Ohio State's Chase Young or LSU's Joe Burrow, that's not the mindset his scouts have now. Instead, it's an old Browns draft model that Douglas has adopted which looks at the value of a player based off how he fits into his coaches' schemes.
So players get actual number grades, which the Daily News reportes maxes out at 8.0, and Douglas also wants letter grades for his "core traits." All of that results in this breakdown based off what number the prospect is given:
- Day 1 starter
- Starting-caliber player with limitations
- Role player
- Low-level roster player and/or practice squad
- Training camp/preseason roster filler
Also worth noting from the piece is Douglas' willingness to listen to those around him. He is certainly the man in charge, but after years of working his way up to this point in 2020, Douglas knows how far collaboration can go. Listening to Adam Gase, Gregg Williams and his scouts is crucial in finding what the team needs, too.
All in all, Douglas has been transforming this part of the organization since he walked through the doors. It's just as he put it back when he was VP of player personnel with the Eagles:
"We have a process where we try to make calm out of the chaos," he said. "There is a lot of information going around. It's fun, it's fun. But I feel good about the processes we have to make that as detailed and organized of a process as can be."
Jets fans will see first hand if it works when Douglas leads Gang Green into the draft with the No. 11 overall pick on April 23.