With the 6th overall pick, the New York select, Leonard Williams, Defensive Tackle, University of Southern California.
After months, weeks and days of waiting, last night the event we had all been waiting for, finally arrived. The NFL Draft 2015 had officially begun.
The NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, kicked off another prime-time spectacle from its once fond location, the windy state of Chicago. The draft hasn’t returned to Chicago and it’s golden carpet since 1964, but the Media and player Agents still managed to keep to it’s traditions by conjuring up an amalgamation of smoke screens, mock drafts and articles to drive the scouts and fans crazy. So once Goodell finally took the podium, I was relived to hear Tampa Bay were on the clock.
Jets fans went into this draft more excited than usual. After a strong free agency with a new GM clearly meaning to put wrongs right, the fans were confident the Jets could make a serious game changing pick with 6th overall.
Thankfully, the scouting skills of Mike Maccagnan are well known. A possible reason for Jets bringing Mike to New York was he’s banged the table for such players like JJ Watt in the past, so his resume speaks volumes for his keen eye for talent. Expectations were high, putting a lot of weight on Mike’s shoulders. This was going to be his first ever draft as a GM, but did he disappoint? Of course he didn’t.
As predicted, the first four rounds went as follows. Winston at 1, Mariota (without trades) at 2, Dante Fowler 3 and my personal favourite player for the Jets, Cooper, went at 4. It wasn’t until number 5, when Washington was on the clock, that this draft got blown wide open.
Allegedly, the Jets main areas of need were pass rush, offensive line and Quarterback. Once the Washington pick was in, it was almost certain they would take the best player available (BPA), as their needs surpassed most teams in the league. The BPA was of course, Leonard Williams, the argued best player in the entire draft.
What was to be announced shocked everyone. Redskins selected Brandon Scherff, OT. Scherff is no doubt the best player in his class, but it was still certainly unexpected. Something no analysts saw coming let alone Williams falling to 6.
The Jets were now on the clock. It was time for Maccagnan and Bowles to put their heads together and make their pick. By this time, OLB Vic Beasley and WR Kevin White were among some other names still left in the draft. It was during the 10-minute countdown my mind went into overdrive and the nerves started to kick in.
Who should we pick? Can we pass on Williams too? Is there an issue? Is he injured?
It was at this time I recalled a conversation NFL.com had with Charley Casserly. As GM, Charley sent time in Houston with Mike Maccagnan on his staff and he spoke of the time he was drafting in 2002 and Mike wouldn’t stop saying “Take the best player available”. Charley said he’d hope Mike would use his own advice come Thursday 30th. This is exactly what Maccagnan and the Jets chose to do. They selected Williams with the 6th overall pick.
Williams, a defensive lineman joins an already strong positional area at the Jets. A move some fans and analysts would see as a bad option to do with the first pick, but like Mike preached, when you have the opportunity to take such a player, you have to pull the trigger.
Leonard’s introduction makes the Jets defense arguably one of the strongest in the whole league. With the six overall pick, Mike Maccagnan manages to land the best player in the draft. Surely and yet again, not doing any damage to his reputation and current position at the franchise. Actually, he’s potentially becoming a possible legend in the making, in a very short space of time too.
The reaction to the pick lit up social media. Many Jets fans were shocked and elated that Williams fell to the Jets and amazed we had the opportunity to take him. Although, only naturally, with Jets Nation being who we are, some doom and gloom descended on the uncertain future of Mo Wilkerson. A Jets legend, who’s still without a new contract now has a stud player drafted in the first round, in his respective position.
Now please allow me to be another to defuse this. If you saw, Maccagnan was quick to reach out to Wilkerson and make his intentions known to Mo. With the inclusion of Williams, he mentioned he still had plans for him at the Jets.
Last night was undoubtedly an unpredicted, yet prosperous evening for the Jets franchise. The defense gained another possible stud and the team continued to strengthen. What Mike Maccagnan has done in his short time at the Jets is simply outstanding.
Tonight is the start of the 2nd round, which is where Mike could look to address the original areas of need and maybe truly prove his scouting background. I eagerly await his next choice.