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The Jets, And Draft Capital Spent On QBs Since 2009

Drafting quarterbacks is more art than science. And by art I mean film noir.

The Jets have drafted a quarterback in each of the last four drafts, and six quarterbacks since the 2009 draft. And yet the Jets still — unless they already do have their guy in Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg — are trying to solve the quarterback riddle.

Let’s be clear: this sort of analysis is mostly trivia in nature.  That’s because past draft picks are simply sunk costs, although that’s generally only clear after a team has reached an evaluation on a player.  The Jets drafted Mark Sanchez in 2009, and that didn’t work out.  Four years later, the team selected Geno Smith in the second round, and that didn’t work out, either. In between, the Jets spent a 7th round pick on Greg McElroy, but spending much time lamenting the use of a 7th round pick is not productive.  Similarly, a year after drafting Smith, the Jets selected Clemson’s Tajh Boyd in the 6th round. New York then upped the ante by grabbing Bryce Petty in the fourth round in 2015, a move which seems unlikely to pay off.

And while those picks may not have been good, they were old made under an old regime. General manager Mike Maccagnan came on board in 2015, and while he didn’t draft a quarterback that year, he did trade a 7th round pick for Ryan Fitzpatrick, a moved that was heralded as a steal last December.  So far, the only quarterbacks drafted by Maccagnan were Petty in ’15 and the second round pick used on Christian Hackenberg last year.  Petty has underwhelmed in limited action, while there has been no ability to grade the Hackenberg pick so far, as he (intentionally) did not see the field last year.

So yeah, the Jets have drafted a lot of quarterbacks.  And for the most part, those picks have been bad.  But that doesn’t mean the Jets should stop drafting quarterbacks or that drafting quarterbacks is a bad idea. It just means the team hasn’t found its quarterback yet — unless, again, they already have in Hackenberg (or perhaps Petty).

Two years ago, I looked at the draft capital spent on quarterbacks from 2000 to 2014.   Today I want to do the same thing but from 2009 (when the Jets drafted Sanchez) to 2016.  Again, I’ll be assigning draft picks value based on the Draft Pick Value Calculator, which comes from the values derived here and shown here. If we assign each draft pick its proper value, and then sum the values used to select quarterbacks by each team over the last eight years, we can see which teams have devoted the most draft capital on quarterbacks.

And while the Jets have used six picks on quarterbacks over that time period, New York isn’t alone. The Broncos have, too, and Denver may not be much closer than the Jets are when it comes to finding their franchise quarterback of the future. The table below is sorted by total value, and the Jets rank “only” 4th in that regard, behind the Rams (who have spent two number one picks on passers during this time frame), the Bucs (a #1 and another first) and the Titans (a #2 and a #8). I hvae also listed each quarterback selected by each team during this time frame, from most valuable pick used to least. Take a look:

RkTeam# QBsTotal ValAvg ValQBs
1Rams576.615.3Sam Bradford; Jared Goff; Sean Mannion; Keith Null; Garrett Gilbert
2Buccaneers358.519.5Jameis Winston; Josh Freeman; Mike Glennon
3Titans454.913.7Marcus Mariota; Jake Locker; Rusty Smith; Zach Mettenberger
4Jets651.48.6Mark Sanchez; Geno Smith; Christian Hackenberg; Bryce Petty; Greg McElroy; Tajh Boyd
5Jaguars348.316.1Blake Bortles; Blaine Gabbert; Brandon Allen
6Eagles445.711.4Carson Wentz; Nick Foles; Matt Barkley; Mike Kafka
7Panthers345.215.1Cam Newton; Jimmy Clausen; Tony Pike
8Browns441.810.5Brandon Weeden; Johnny Manziel; Colt McCoy; Cody Kessler
9Broncos638.66.4Tim Tebow; Paxton Lynch; Brock Osweiler; Tom Brandstater; Zac Dysert; Trevor Siemian
10Redskins336.612.2Robert Griffin III; Kirk Cousins; Nate Sudfeld
11Lions235.817.9Matthew Stafford; Jake Rudock
12Colts335.411.8Andrew Luck; Curtis Painter; Chandler Harnish
13Dolphins332.110.7Ryan Tannehill; Pat White; Brandon Doughty
14Vikings231.315.7Christian Ponder; Teddy Bridgewater
15Raiders421.75.4Derek Carr; Connor Cook; Tyler Wilson; Terrelle Pryor
16Patriots421.45.4Jimmy Garoppolo; Ryan Mallett; Jacoby Brissett; Zac Robinson
17Bills320.76.9EJ Manuel; Cardale Jones; Levi Brown
1849ers414.33.6Colin Kaepernick; Nate Davis; Jeff Driskel; B.J. Daniels
19Bengals214.17.1Andy Dalton; A.J. McCarron
20Seahawks28.74.4Russell Wilson; Mike Teel
21Cowboys28.64.3Stephen McGee; Dak Prescott
22Cardinals382.7Logan Thomas; John Skelton; Ryan Lindley
23Chiefs37.82.6Ricky Stanzi; Aaron Murray; Kevin Hogan
24Giants27.43.7Ryan Nassib; Rhett Bomar
25Saints27.13.6Garrett Grayson; Sean Canfield
26Texans263.0Tom Savage; Taylor Yates
27Bears35.21.7Nathan Enderle; Dan LeFevour; David Fales
28Steelers14.44.4Landry Jones
29Packers22.81.4Brett Hundley; B.J. Coleman
30Ravens22.61.3Tyrod Taylor; Keith Wenning
31Chargers22.21.1Jonathan Crompton; Brad Sorensen
32Falcons100.0Sean Renfree

The Jaguars spent a top 10 pick on a quarterback in 2011 and did so again in 2014; it’s possible the team will do so again in 2017 or 2018, too, but that wouldn’t make that a bad idea if the right quarterback was available. Of course, on the other side of things, it’s good to be the Falcons.  Since drafting Matt Ryan in 2008, the Falcons have used just one pick — the 249th overall selection — on a quarterback in the last eight drafts.

  • sacramento gold miners

    I feel this issue is very much linked with organizational stability, we don’t know if the Jets GM is up to the task. Changes in the front office and coaching staff aren’t helpful, I was surprised the Rams didn’t terminate Jeff Fisher before becoming the LA Rams again.

    • Chicken and egg, though. How much of organizational stability is hitting on a few important draft picks early on?

      • sacramento gold miners

        I’d use the business analogy of a weak management team messing things up despite resources. I think teams can get lucky with a few draft picks from time to time, but foul things up anyway. The winning organizations just seem to hire the right people at the top, and have strong ownership.

        • Richie

          Teams are drafting 20-22 year old humans and throwing a lot of money at them. The results are always going to be unpredictable. We can laugh at the Raiders for drafting JaMarcus Russell or the Rams for drafting Sam Bradford or the Jaguars for drafting Blaine Gabbert (or Blake Bortles).

          But, the teams that drafted those players weren’t the only teams that had those players high on their draft boards. They were just the ones unlucky enough to be in position to pick them. (And add in maybe a little bit of bad coaching.)

          • sacramento gold miners

            College QBs are also overdrafted on a consistent basis, and I predict it will happen again this year. Some of the highly touted QBs who failed never faced any adversity until they reached the pros, and couldn’t handle failure.

  • Tom

    Chase, apologies that I don’t have a comment on this; just want to say I love the caption for the picture. Freaking funny.

  • Quinton White

    Really late on this but I believe if you had performed a similar exercise for the years 2004-2009, the Jaguars would have spent 0 draft capital on QBs. As a Jags fan, I often think their current rut is a direct result of that drought. Similar to Richie’s thought, rather than being able to truly grade QBs, by 2010 the Jaguars were in a desperate position where they had to draft one. Ex-post, Gabbert obviously looks terrible but at the time the Jags were widely praised for aggressively moving up to get him. Bortles was more of a reach but it has since come out that he was unlikely to get out of the top-ten. I am glad my job does not require betting on 20 year olds.