I hate draft grades. It's the ultimate excerise in futility. It's one thing to say if you liked or didn't like a team's draft class but to grade a team's draft before players even show up for rookie camp is just flat out absurd. Teachers don't hand out grades as soon as a student signs up for their class and no one should take draft grades immediately after the draft seriously.
Go ahead and look at the grades being handed out if you'd like, just take them with a heaping of salt and remember that it typically takes at least three years to properly evaluate a draft class. We've all seen "can't miss" products miss, and miss badly, and we've all seen players no one thought highly of come out of nowhere to find success in the NFL. Everyone openly admits the draft is a crap shoot and yet we try to grade the drafts before the players get to play a snap for their new team.
Which brings us to the Jets, they made excellent selections in the first and third but as promising as those picks seem no one really knows if they'll workout. They were smart to draft a punter, and add another one as an undrafted free agent, we all saw how much Ryan Quigley hurt them the last couple of years. And they took a chance on a cornerback, offensive tackle and a receiver with obvious talent but also obvious question marks, which is really the best you can find after the third round. But none of that will matter in the end, this draft class will go down as the year the Jets took Christian Hackenberg for better or worse.
If Darron Lee, Jordan Jenkins, Juston Burris, Brandon Shell, and Charone Peake all turn out to be good players it will obviously help the Jets, but if Hackenberg fails very few will remember all the other hits Mike Maccagnan had. If the rest turn out to be busts but Hackenberg turns out to be good no one will care about the misses because the Jets finally got themselves a good starting quarterback.
Many, including myself, have doubts about Hackenberg's potential but you have to respect Maccagnan not being scared off by the threat of failing. If Maccagnan went any direction other than quarterback in the second no one would've blamed him, but if Hackenberg fails Maccagnan will be judged on that one pick by many. Maccagnan knows this and he was still willing to pull the trigger. And as much as myself and others doubt Hackenberg's potential most of us doubters can at least say that if the Jets liked him then they had to take him. Good quarterbacks are incredibly hard to find in this league so if you have a chance to draft one that you legitimently think will be good then you take him. But if you miss on one in the first or second that one move can be enough to get you fired in the end, regardless of what other moves you make.
So, while every team's draft grade should be an incomplete right now that goes double — or triple or quintuple — for teams that took a quarterback in the first two rounds. Especially considering many of the ones drafted this year aren't likely to actually play this season.
Jets fans should be excited about this year's class but everyone needs to realize the success or failure of this class will be riding on Hackenberg's arm.
Chris Nimbley is the Editor-in-Chief of JetsInsider.com/NYJScout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@cnimbley), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org)null