DraftFix: Joe Douglas' draft class bucked one trend from Mike Maccagnan's last class

After last year's draft, we noted that every pick was essentially a "one-year wonder". Every player selected by the Jets basically had their best year in 2018 and had raised their stock dramatically over the previous 12 months.

The one exception was the final pick, Blessuan Austin, whose final two years were cut short due to injury. He was still basically a one-year wonder though because his sophomore year was his last full season and represented a break-out.

For the 2020 class, this pattern did not repeat. In fact, most of the picks had a better year in 2018 than 2019. Let's review each one.

Mekhi Becton

The defining pick of this class initially does follow the trend established by Mike Maccagnan last year. In 2019, Becton earned all-conference honors and didn't give up a sack until he blew an assignment on his final snap of the season.

However, this could arguably be considered the exception that proves the rule once you consider the other eight picks.

Denzel Mims

Mims was more of a consistent performer over the course of his career than a one-year breakout, although he did have a drop-off in production in 2018 and earned first-team all conference honors in 2019.

However, 2017 was the season where he really broke out, with a career high in receiving yards and average yards per catch.

Ashtyn Davis

Davis set a career-high in tackles and was a second-team all-Pac 12 selection in 2019, but his best year was clearly 2018. That saw him selected as a first-teamer as he racked up four interceptions.

In addition, Davis' grade according to Pro Football Focus was just below 90 in 2018, which put him in the top 10 in the nation. It was in the low seventies in 2019.

Jabari Zuniga

It's possible Zuniga was headed for his best year in 2019 having entered the season as a preseason all-SEC first-teamer. However, despite a hot start, injuries limited him to five appearances.

His best full season was clearly 2018, which saw him rack up a career-best 6.5 sacks.

LaMical Perine

Perine also was more productive in his junior year, averaging over six yards per carry and racking up a career-high 826 rushing yards.

In his senior year, Perine set career highs in pass receptions and total touchdowns, but his overall output was lower. He only rushed for just over five yards per carry and his yards per catch average dropped to 6.6.

James Morgan

Perhaps limited by knee and ankle injuries, Morgan was unable to match his 2018 statistical output in the 2019 season.

Morgan dropped his interception rate in 2019 but his completion percentage, yards per attempt and statistical output were all also much lower. He ended up with just 14 touchdown passes having had 26 in the previous season.

Cameron Clark

Charlotte's offensive line coach told the Jets Official Site that Clark made great leaps in his senior year and "bloomed" under his tutelage. That final year saw him earn all-conference first-team honors, voted for by the coaches.

However, Clark had also been given all-conference honors in 2018 by Pro Football Focus, who ended up giving him a slightly lower grade in 2019 and not selecting him for the first team this time. Clark was also the team MVP in 2017, so clearly can't be considered a one-year wonder.

Bryce Hall

Like Zuniga, Hall may have hoped to have his best year as a senior but saw injuries derail that effort. Even so, he hadn't been grading out as well as he had in 2018 up to the point where he got hurt.

In 2018, Hall had led the nation in pass breakups and earned all-ACC first team and second team all-American honors.

Braden Mann

Mann was an all-SEC first teamer in 2019. However, his numbers had dropped off significantly from his record-breaking 2018 campaign.

He had been the SEC special teams player of the year, a unanimous all-American and the recipient of the Ray Guy award after setting NCAA records for single-season and single-game gross average and total punts over 60 yards. In 2019, as he sought to focus on directional punting, his net average dropped off by almost five yards.

Undrafted free agents

There were also a few of the undrafted free agent class that didn't break out in their senior year. For example, Bryce Huff's pressure rates increased in his senior year but his sack count dropped from 9.5 to 6.5 and, much like Davis, Shyheim Carter's 2018 PFF grade was much better than his 2019 grade.

However, there were a few who had their best season in 2019, notably cornerback Lamar Jackson, defensive lineman Sterling Johnson and receivers Lawrence Cager and George Campbell.


It's difficult to know whether the crop of one-year wonders last year was an anomaly or a deliberate ploy from the Jets, but it wasn't a pattern they had followed in Maccagnan's previous classes.

Douglas' early appointment with the Jets may have afforded him extra time to work with his staff to familiarize themselves with the 2020 draft class a lot sooner than any other first time general manager. It's possible this meant he formulated opinions on a lot of them before the 2019 season began and then wasn't unduly swayed by any drop-off or stagnation in growth, development or production.

Early returns on last year's class have not been great. Hopes are still high for Quinnen Williams, but he had a slower than expected start. Jachai Polite is gone already, Blake Cashman has injury concerns and Chuma Edoga looked to be a long way from ready in his 2019 action. After a promising start, Austin ended up in Gregg Williams' doghouse too, so his status with the team is unclear. Finally, Trevon Wesco showed flashes as a blocker but has yet to establish himself as anything more than a specialist.

It will be interesting to see how much early success this year's group has. If every other team placed more emphasis on 2019 film, perhaps they will end up having underestimated some of the players the Jets ended up with.