Mike Maccagnan Press Conference Quick Hitters
Quote: “We actually did quite a bit of work on him (Quinnen Williams). When you really watch him in terms of the level of competition he played in, the conference he played in, the games he played in, and then when you look at his body of work, he played exceptionally well the whole season. We actually think and considering how young he is, he has a very bright future.”
Analysis: It’s clear that the team did an extensive amount of work on Williams leading up to the draft just in case he somehow fell to the third-overall selection. With their hopes coming true, they were fully prepared to take the former Crimson Tide rusher with their first selection in the draft with minimal concerns of positional fit on the roster.
Quote: “From Polite’s standpoint, we obviously liked him from the fall as a player on tape. We got a chance to bring him in and spend some time with him. We actually have someone that was actually on the staff with him at Florida. So, we thought that he was a kid with a lot of potential upside and we’re kind of excited to see what he can do. We definitely think he has pass rush potential and ability. We’re excited to see what he can do moving forward.”
Analysis: Because of a puzzling pre-draft process, it was unclear exactly where Polite would land in the draft. Seen as a first-round pick throughout most of the process, a strange Combine and Florida pro day led to his draft tumble. I thought it was interesting that Maccagnan made it a point of emphasis that the team had a member on staff that had previous experience with the former Gator. Considering their need at edge rusher and with past exposure with a staff member, the team was comfortable selecting him in the third- round.
Quote: “He’s a kid that, when we went through our draft process, he obviously played in a system that didn’t really didn’t feature tight ends, and we were quite intrigued when we saw him at the Senior Bowl. We actually had a personal workout, our position coach had a workout with him, spent some time with him, brought him in for a visit. We think he has a skill set to potentially be a starting Y-tight end, which is an on the line of scrimmage blocking tight end, but he also has the ability to be an effective receiver, and from our standpoint, it was kind of a value that we felt was good at that point, and we like the kid, and the player. We think he has a chance to actually develop into a starting caliber player.”
Analysis: Team fit was always the biggest factor in the success of a pick, and the Jets’ general manager’s point was spot on in that he may prove to be an effective pass catcher in due time, but for the time being, his best assets come as a blocker. Yet another executive mentioned the importance of postseason bowl games, which is where their interest in Wesco began.
New York Jets Draft Recap:
(1st Round) No. 3 – Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
The Jets pick the best player in the draft and pair him with Leonard Williams. The former leader of the Crimson Tide defensive front brings the type of disruption and dominance up the middle that the team has been sorely lacking. He’s a terrific fit in Gregg Williams’s aggressive and penetrating style of defense due to his relentless nature and effectiveness with his hands.
(3rd Round) No. 68 – Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida
It has been a long, winding pre-draft process for Polite. His blend of bend, explosiveness, and twitch is arguably unmatched in this class. After some reported weight gain leading up to the Combine, he didn’t show his full potential. The Jets are a team in need of help at edge rusher, and Polite potentially provides that if he can get back to the form that we saw during the 2018 season.
(3rd Round) No. 92 (via MIN) – Chuma Edoga, OT, USC
Adding protection for Sam Darnold, the team opts to add another former USC Trojan to their roster. Edoga is a huge projection being that he’s a bit undersized, but his athleticism is evident on tape. Continuing to add weight and strength will be key to his outlook going forward.
(4th Round) No. 121 – Trevon Wesco, TE, West Virginia
A jack of all trades type of player, Wesco wasn’t offered many opportunities as a pass catcher at West Virginia, but as a blocker he is vicious. From an in-line position or flexed out, he is essentially an extra offensive lineman. Wesco was a player that caught my eye at the Senior Bowl in many ways, which also appears to have happened with the Jets.
(5th Round) No. 157 – Blake Cashman, LB, Minnesota
One of the best stories of this draft happens to belong to Cashman. A former walk-on who turned into the centerpiece of the Gophers’ defense, his performance at the Scouting Combine was among the best for any linebacker. His output essentially propelled him from being a fringe late-round selection to being drafted in the fifth. Cashman will be an instant impact contributor on special teams, and over time he may earn spot duty among a loaded linebacker group.
(6th Round) No. 196 – Blessuan Austin, CB, Rutgers
A highly sought after prospect entering the 2017 season, Austin unfortunately suffered an ACL tear that ended his season after only four games. Looking to bounce back in 2018, that proved to not be the case, as the injury bug found its way back to him, suffering a second consecutive knee injury. Facing the decision of returning for another season and hoping for a medical hardship waiver from the NCAA, he instead opted to enter the NFL Draft. A low risk, high reward type of selection from the Jets, the team’s hoping that he can return to his pre-injury form in hopes of providing depth to the back-end of the depth chart or practice squad.
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