The New York Jets drafted Ohio State linebacker Darron Lee with the 20th overall pick in last week’s NFL Draft. That was a much-needed good start, especially considering that the Jets had just two of the next 97 selections.
Their second-round pick, however, left much to be desired.
“The biggest reach of the draft was Christian Hackenberg at 51,” CBSSports.com senior NFL writer Will Brinson said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “I don’t get it. I think Pete Prisco and Matt Miller from Bleacher Report and the New York Jets are the only people I’ve seen who thought that was a good pick – and that’s fine. I’m not ripping those guys. I like the Jets, and I know Pete and I know Matt and I respect their opinions. But I have a hard time believing that Christian Hackenberg at 51 is going to end up being the sort of pick that you look back on and say, ‘Man, we really were smart to pull the trigger.’ You’re sitting in a situation where you got Geno Smith, his future is up in the air, you’re in contract negotiations with Ryan Fitzpatrick, and then you got Bryce Petty as well. That quarterback situation is a nightmare right now, and I don’t see Christian Hackenberg as a solution.”
Hackenberg was a highly touted prep prospect and showed promise and poise as a Penn State freshman, throwing for 20 touchdowns and 10 interceptions un Bill O’Brien’s pro-style system.
He sophomore and junior seasons were a different story. Hackenberg often missed targets and lacked pocket presence. He was sacked 103 times in three seasons and as a senior completed a career-low 53.5 percent of his passes.
“He was Benjamin Button in college football,” Brinson said. “He regressed badly. That’s a red flag. To me, that was a huge reach.”
While the Jets had the biggest reach of the draft, the Falcons had the biggest reach of the first round, selecting Florida safety Keanu Neal 17th overall.
“That was kind of out of nowhere,” Brinson said. “I was really surprised by that. If he’s Kam Chancellor 2.0, then good for Atlanta and that’s great. I just think when you’re in a position like that, instead of reaching for it, drop back a couple of rounds.”
For all of the questionable picks – and there were many – Laremy Tunsil dominated the during- and post-draft discussion, this after incriminating information popped up on his social media accounts.
“That, by far and away, was the craziest draft thing that I’ve ever seen go down,” Brinson said. “And remember, last year we had a guy fall three or four rounds because he was involved in a potential murder investigation, and this knocked it out of the water.”
Tunsil was seen on camera smoking marijuana and later admitted to receiving illicit benefits at Ole Miss.
“I was not good at college, so I’m not going to knock somebody for making a mistake in school and I don’t think I would have taken him off of my board,” Brinson said, “but I also understand why teams would, particularly the Ravens. Leaked video has not served them well in recent years.”