By Glenn Naughton
Jets GM Mike Maccagnan today made comments in reference to the upcoming draft during his pre-draft press conference lending credence to those experts who have the Jets pursuing an outside linebacker such as Florida’s Dante Fowler or Bud Dupree out of the University of Kentucky in next week’s draft.
In discussing the position Maccagnan referred to 3-4 outside linebackers as “the lifeblood” of the defense and said he likes the idea of adding a young one every year. Referencing one of the more successful 3-4 franchises in the league, Maccagnan praised the work that has been done over the years by the Pittsburgh Steelers who are seemingly loaded with talent at the position from year to year.
Maccagnan on 3-4 OLBs: "You’d like to have a young one every year…you almost want to have like a pipeline." #nyj
— Seth Walder (@SethWalderNYDN) April 24, 2015
Another hot topic that the rookie GM touched on very briefly was the contract status of star defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson. With the draft fast approaching, Maccagnan would only say that Wilkerson’s absence from the teams most recent workouts was voluntary and that negotiations with his camp would be on hold as draft preparations wrap up.
In all Maccagnan said the Jets evaluated just under 1,400 prospects before narrowing their draft board down to where it is now, which is roughly 290 players. When asked if any draft eligible players were removed from their list of choices, he said that as with any team, the Jets had taken some players off of their board. Usually a result of injury or character concerns, there was no elaboration beyond that. The GM also discussed the amount of time Jets talent evaluators spent reviewing tape as a group to see that everyone was on the same page.
Over the next five days Maccagnan expects trade talks to heat up as he plans on contacting teams in the top-5 but said his preference would be to add picks with the idea of pursuing the best player available as opposed to the team’s biggest need, adding that he’s seen too many of those backfire. Maccagnan said he prefers addressing needs through free agency.
Maccagnan: "Philosophically, I like the idea of getting more picks, because more picks are more opportunities to find players."
— New York Jets (@nyjets) April 24, 2015
The draft is set to take place this Thursday night in Chicago with the Jets hosting a draft party with season ticket holders at MetLife Stadium for round one with festivities kicking off at 6:30pm.