Maybe, perhaps, the curse of being the ‘Same Old Jets’ is finally over.
This marks now three-straight NFL Drafts for the New York Jets in which the team saw a highly-rated player, set to go off the board early, fall to them in the first round. The selection of USC quarterback Sam Darnold, long thought to be not just the top quarterback but the top player in the draft, was an absolute steal for this franchise at No. 3 overall.
And possibly, the curse of being a Jets fan might be over. This is now three-straight drafts where the Jets have added significant, high-end talent in the first round. If you are general manager Mike Maccagnan, it is, in fact, better to be lucky than good.
He certainly has had more luck than this franchise has seen in quite awhile.
Three-straight years of a top pick, each of whom can play a significant role in reshaping not just this team but the franchise.
Three-straight drafts, three-straight blue chip players in defensive end Leonard Williams, safety Jamal Adams and now the quarterback of the future in Darnold.
That is quite a haul for the Jets, who are now undergoing a second rebuild under Maccagnan. In this trio of young talent, the Jets have building blocks for their future.
A future that suddenly looks very bright. A future that is being built the right way and not with pricey castoffs as in the past.
Beyond the strong arm and even stronger pedigree of Darnold, the Jets built this year to have tremendous flexibility going into the offseason. They could and should have in the ballpark of $90 million in salary cap space, enough to build an offensive line and some weapons around Darnold.
A decade ago in 2008, then-general manager Mike Tannenbaum put together several solid drafts that included center Nick Mangold, left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson, linebacker David Harris and cornerback Darrelle Revis. He then went through free agency to add other pieces, such as Damien Woody and Alan Faneca to cobble together a team that went to the AFC Championship Game in consecutive years.
The selection of Mark Sanchez — Tannenbaum moved up in the draft to take this USC quarterback sixth overall in 2009 — helped usher in this time and era. That it didn’t work out, in the long run, doesn’t negate the blueprint or the fact that it can’t work again for the Jets.
And this time, finally, end up with this team in the Super Bowl.
The Jets are poised to build on these three drafts and the picks of Williams, Adams and Darnold and turn this franchise around. This year and these past few drafts set the Jets up to spend big in free agency and vault this rebuild to the next level.
It has been far too long since that Super Bowl III team, too many years of the ‘Same Old Jets’ and forever suffering. Now, with a little luck, as three superb players have fallen to the Jets these past three years, things might finally be falling their way.
Same old? No more.