Not long after the New York Jets selected WR Devin Smith, I chose to cave in and go to sleep. Yes, that is a call for sympathy. Please feel sorry for the UK fans, we’re trying. Thankfully, this did turn out to be a good call. The Jets were due to select at 70th overall, however that pick didn’t take place.
Jets GM Mike Maccagnan, who was already having a stormer in this draft, sort to trade away Jets 3rd round pick, choosing to listen to offers from Houston, his old stomping ground. They striked an agreement and what an agreement it was!
By sending the 3rd pick, 70th overall to Texans, in return the Jets received Texans’ 5th Rounder, 6th Rounder, 7th Rounder and WR DeVier Posey to boot. I’m not sure about everyone else, but that’s some deal, especially in the third round!
To recall, the Jets went into this draft 2 draft picks down due to moves made in free agency. Now, thanks to the trade, they can potentially pick 9 players in total! 9 draft picks! 9! That on top of the players already acquired, like Revis, Cromartie, Marshall, Ridley and Fitzpatrick, all now in green and white. That’s some going for our first timer GM!
At the time of the trade there was still potential ‘Jet players’ on the board. Players like Harold and Gregory were linked to the Jets to fill the proclaimed need at pass rush. So when the trade was confirmed, fans may have disliked the option, but once you’ve considered the returns like the ones I’ve just mentioned, i’d find that hard to believe. Maccagnan clearly left Houston on good terms and also maybe with a few favours left to reclaim. Stunning work.
Soon after the pick, the Jets went to select from the Texans 3rd round position of 82nd overall. They chose to take a flier on Lorenzo Mauldin, OLB from Louisville.
Although, it wasn’t till after when most people, including myself, learned the heart-breaking story of the young linebacker. My fellow Euro Jet @Biffarujet was the one to introduce me to Mauldin’s story.
Lorenzo had a tough life at home. He often had no parental guidance to turn to and him being oldest sibling, he’d take it upon himself to raise him, his brother and sister. By the age of 10, he was essentially running the family and one day at school, Lorenzo and his siblings were taken out of class and put into child protection, on grounds of neglect.
Lorenzo then went into the foster system. He was bounced around many homes, often separated from his siblings. It was football that would be the source of inspiration that would pull him through and later save him.
Nowadays football can overwhelm the best of players, but Lorenzo was one to stick it out. He’d leave games to an empty parking lot and go home to all his other responsibilities.
With the stats stacked against him, Lorenzo was informed foster children are just as likely to become a professional athlete, as they are to graduate college, but Lorenzo didn’t give up. He used his siblings as inspiration, fearing the chance of failing them.
Once possibilities of college came, it was Lorenzo’s academics that would affect his chances of playing football at that level. Only naturally, he thought all the doors were closed on him. That was until Louisville gave him the call. They saw him as a face for youths in his position and gave him the chance to shine.
Louisville immediately felt like the home and family that Lorenzo never had. The rest wrote itself. Lorenzo didn’t quit and it paid off. The 6ft 4, 259 lbs Lorenzo recorded 51 tackles, 13 for a loss, 6.5 sacks and a forced fumble in 2014.
I love this decision by the Jets, not only because it was a method to accumulate more draft picks and give Maccagnan more opportunities to show his scouting skills, but also it seems fitting for the Jets to be the strong and proud platform for such a wonderful person and player who’s continuing to grow. Bowles is the perfect role model to sculpt and build Mauldin’s raw talents. With the Jets OLB core not getting any younger, Bowles has the opportunity to make his new OLB into a fixture within his Jets defence for years to come. We all wish the best of luck to Lorenzo Mauldin.