It’s no secret that the respective tenures of former Jets General Managers John Idzik and Mike Maccagnan were some of the worst years Jets fans have ever seen in terms of talent evaluation. The two ran a total of six drafts. The result? Gang Green selected 53 players with most of them off the roster or out of the league entirely in a matter of years. Or in some cases, a few months.
This meant current GM Joe Douglas was inheriting what was arguably the least talented roster in the NFL. With that being the case, Douglas would have to find players not only through the draft and free agency, but by combing the waiver wire and monitoring other team’s practice squads.
Thus far, Douglas has done a surprisingly good job of acquiring talent by doing exactly that.
“But wait”, you’ll say. “If Joe Douglas is finding good players through waivers, undrafted free agency and opposing practice squads, how are the Jets so bad?” Easy. As mentioned above, Douglas inherited a roster that probably needed to add 25 or more quality players just to get their head above water along with some time for those players to develop.
But a quick glance at the Jets current roster and some of their best and most productive players have come from out of nowhere to become significant contributors. Defensive lineman John Franklin-Myers has a career-high six sacks and will make a push to hit double digits down the stretch. Meanwhile, Javelin Guidry has gone from slot corner to a hybrid slot/boundary corner who looks to be improving more and more as his playing time increases.
Quincy Williams, a castoff from the Jacksonville Jaguars isn’t without his flaws, but he hits like a truck and looks to have stolen the starting job next to CJ Mosley. Ty Johnson has been a quality running back who can also catch the ball as a receiver.
Could make a case that everyone listed has already done as much/more than most of the 53 guys drafted by Idzik/Mac. Cost? 0 Draft picks.
Q. Williams: Waivers
T. Johnson: Waivers
E. Riley: Poached (PHI)
I. Dunn: UDFA
— Glenn Naughton (@AceFan23) December 4, 2021
While his numbers may not show it, edge rusher Bryce Huff has had an impact for the Jets when healthy and should be a fixture on defense for the foreseeable future. The undrafted lineman out of Memphis was considered a draftable player out of college but went unpicked. That’s when Douglas pounced and brought him in.
Most recently, safety Elijah Riley has emerged as the teams starting safety just a couple of weeks after Douglas poached him from the Eagles practice squad. The Army product has been a heady disciplined player in just a couple of starts as the Jets hope he gets to the point of being a reliable starter moving forward.
So while Douglas has had his share of detractors during the early portion of his time at the helm at 1 Jets Drive, there is mounting evidence that the GM and his staff finally have the Jets heading in the right direction.