Well Jets fans, if we ever had any doubt about Joe Douglas as our GM, those doubts were erased after the 2020 NFL Draft. Douglas’s background in the regime’s of such well respected GM’s as Ozzie Newsome of the Ravens and Howie Roseman of the Eagles was demonstrated each day of the draft. Sooner rather than later, Joe Douglas will be recognized as one of the best general manager’s in the league.
Both Newsome and Roseman have made it a priority throughout their careers as general managers to draft offensive linemen in the early rounds, especially round 1. Newsome did this with players such as Ronnie Stanley, and Roseman with players like Lane Johnson and Andre Dillard. It’s not a coincidence that each of these teams are always contending, year after year. Joe Douglas has stated on multiple occasions that his philosophy is to build through the trenches first and foremost, and focus on the rest after the trenches have been solidified. This is a night and day difference from the Jets previous GM Mike Maccagnan, who consistently drafted bust after bust throughout most of his brief tenure with the Jets, with a few exceptions in Jamal Adams, Sam Darnold, and hopefully Quinnen Williams. In his time as Jets GM, he drafted a grand total of 2 offensive linemen before the 5th round in 5 drafts. Both were 3rd round picks, in Brandon Shell (now a backup for the Seattle Seahawks) and Chuma Edoga, drafted in 2019.
Thank God, the Maccagnan nightmare is over. We finally have not only a competent GM, but a rising superstar GM, who understands what it takes to build a winning football team. Besides emphasizing the trenches, another huge priority for Joe Douglas is building the right culture. Douglas’s first message to Jets fans was that his main goal is to build the best culture in sports. A winning culture creates a winning team, not vice versa. Douglas emphasized the culture in the draft as well; all 5 day 3 picks for the Jets were team captains at their respective colleges – RB La’Mical Perine, QB James Morgan, T/G Cameron Clark, CB Bryce Hall, and P Braden Mann. A great team starts with a great locker room. Adding these youngsters to a locker room that already has established leaders like Jamal Adams, CJ Mosley, and Sam Darnold will establish continuous leadership in each facet of the game, and this culture will translate into success on the field.
Joe Douglas’s trading prowess is the final thing I’ll talk about today. One of his first moves as GM of the Jets was to flip a 7th round pick with the Ravens in exchange for guard Alex Lewis, who ended up being one small bright spot on a horrible offensive line in 2019. Lewis ended up earning a 3 year extension from the Jets this past offseason, worth $18.6 million. Then, during the season, he absolutely robbed the Giants by getting a very early 3rd round pick (used on Ashtyn Davis, the athletic stud FS from Cal) and a future 5th round pick for a Maccagnan bust, Leonard Williams. There was no chance Williams was going to get resigned by the Jets, so Douglas was able to hoodwink Dave Gettleman and absolutely steal from the Giants. This trading prowess was featured again on days 2 and 3 of the draft. Going into the draft, the Jets biggest needs were offensive tackle and wide receiver. Douglas addressed OT in round 1, and he best case scenario would be to get a first round caliber WR in round 2. Not only was Douglas able to do this by drafting Denzel Mims, but he was able to trade down and pick up an additional 3rd round pick before selecting Mims. He then later on flipped that very late 3rd round pick for 2 4th round picks (which Douglas used on backup QB James Morgan and G/T Cam Clark) and a future 6th from the New England Patriots. And finally, Douglas capped off his first draft as GM by trading the Jets 2nd 6th round pick for 2017 2nd round pick CM Quincy Wilson from Indianapolis. This trade is insanely good for the Jets, as the only reason Wilson struggled with the Colts was because he did not fit their scheme. However, he fits Jets DC Gregg Williams scheme perfectly, and will certainly see plenty of time on the field in 2020.
As someone who has been a fan of the Jets since birth and been watching religiously since 2008, its been a long time coming that we finally got ourselves a GM who will guide the Jets to the promised land, and one day very soon the Jets will stop being a laughingstock and start being a perennial playoff contender.