This may be the first time that Mike Maccagnan will be seated at the general manager's chair in the war room for an NFL Draft but he is already starting to develop a philosophy for how he will build this team. The more picks the merrier for the new general manager of the New York Jets.
Maccagnan, the fresh off the assembly line general manager of the Jets, comes into this his first NFL Draft with a pedigree in player personnel. Most recently the director of college scouting for the Houston Texans, he knows and understands this whole process from the bottom-up. He's scouted players, evaluated them and helped build a draft board. He has sat next to the general manager, has been to Pro Days and spent hours pouring over film.
His professional career has pointed towards this moment, the time he will finally make the call as a general manager.
All of which is to say that he understands what a crap shoot this whole thing is.
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“Well, since it’s my first time as a general manager, I don’t have a track record yet. But I think philosophically I like the idea of, personally, getting more picks because to me more picks are more opportunities to find players. Really what you end up weighing is really how good that one player would be that you’re going to move up for the potential two or three or whatever draft picks you’re going to give up for them and kind of the yield there,” Maccagnan said during a Friday press conference at the team's facility to discuss the draft.
“It’s kind of like we were talking about before, it’s almost like a portfolio, do you pick one stock you think is going to get the big return or do you pick three stocks which may not actually hit the same ceiling but the overall value of it actually gets a higher yield. We’re going to reach out to every team ahead of us and kind of just get a value of what they’re looking for in compensation to move up in the draft. That doesn’t mean we’re actually trying, necessarily, to go up and get a player but you figure out what the market value is, basically. And then what you do, you see what unfolds with the first few picks and who’s available and then you’re at least informed to go make that decision. And we’ll have that discussion before we get to the draft to see if we want to move up in the draft and what we feel would be a fair value for it would be. But that’s kind of what we do in terms of what we’re basically doing now until Wednesday – just going over different mock draft scenarios.”
His team holds six picks, a far cry from the 12 selections the Jets had last year – and they utilized all of them. This year they have all of their selections in each of the first four rounds and two in the seventh round, giving them a certain amount of flexibility while allowing Maccagnan to hopefully bring in a couple players to make an immediate impact on the two-deep.
He has the top 300 players ranked and Maccagnan admits that players from the first four rounds are looked at to make a more immediate impression on the roster.
This will be his first time as general manager of a team and while he's had an influential role in past drafts with the Texans, now he is the one to make the final call. It would be expected that given his background in personnel and in particular with a resume strong on scouting that this could shape up to be a good draft for the Jets.
Especially since the last two drafts under former general manager John Idzik saw the team net only Sheldon Richardson as an immediate impact player, the standard for Maccagnan will be high if this Jets team is ready to compete right away. This team doesn't have a tremendous amount of young stars and it will be up to Maccagnan to begin an immediate infusion of talent.
“It’s funny, during this process, I think when I have quiet time, if I ever do have quiet time, that’s probably when it hits me a little bit. At least for the last 15 years, I’ve always really sat right next to the person who’s [making the call]. And my role was very instrumental in all the previous places I’ve worked. When you’re actually in the meeting or at the Pro Day or doing your job or watching film, that’s like riding a bicycle,” Maccagnan said.
“It doesn’t feel any different at that point in time. I think it’s when you get sort of the quiet time, when you’re kind of late at night, you roll into the apartment, you’re sort of unwinding, you start thinking about that. But I think what ends up being a little bit, I think everybody probably in my role, I would imagine, and all my friends I’ve talked to about this, you want to be perfect. You want to make sure every pick you make is the best pick at that point in time in theory. That’s where the pressure kind of hits you because really when you look at the draft, we’ve evaluated probably just under 1,400 players and then every one of those players will go eventually to have some sort of career in the NFL at some level of production. The tricky thing is this is so much information and data and evaluations and all this information and what you’re trying to be is be as accurate as you can possibly be at projecting the future.”