FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — A day after going back-to-back on safeties, the Jets continued adding more potential offensive playmakers and trading down the draft board.
General manager Mike Maccagnan entered the draft with seven picks and wound up with nine, making six of them on Day 3 alone, including three sixth-round selections. And he didn’t waste time addressing the wide receiver position again.
He traded back 16 spots in the fourth round by sending pick No. 125 to the Los Angeles Rams for No. 141 in the fourth and No. 197 in the sixth. The Jets used that 141st overall pick to take California receiver Chad Hansen less than 24 hours after drafting Alabama receiver ArDarius Stewart.
The 6-2, 202-pound Hansen may not have generated much pre-draft buzz, but he has very good hands and enough size and speed to be productive in the Jets’ offense. He said on a conference call with reporters that he’s carrying a large chip on his shoulder, given how often he’s been overlooked and underestimated.
The Jets instantly upgraded their tight end position Saturday, using the 150th overall pick to take Jordan Leggett, a first-team All-ACC selection. The former Clemson target shed the “Lazy Leggett” moniker he earned early in his Tigers career and developed into a potent weapon for Clemson’s national championship team. He had 46 receptions for 736 yards and seven touchdowns last season.
Leggett also was one of only three Power Five conference players who was targeted at least 70 times last season without a drop, according to ESPN Stats and Information, and the only ACC player to accomplish that feat.
Maccagnan traded back five times during the past three days — twice on Friday night and three times Saturday. It’s the most trade-downs in any draft in franchise history.
On Friday, the Jets dealt their third-round pick (No. 70 overall) to Minnesota in exchange for the Vikings’ 79th (which they used to take Stewart) and 160th overall picks. A day later, they gave that 160th pick (a fifth-rounder) and No. 224 (a seventh-rounder) to the Browns in exchange for No. 181 (a fifth-rounder) and No. 188 (a sixth-rounder).
The Jets also had Nos. 191, 197 and 204 in Round 6.
Maccagnan’s decision to go back-to-back on safeties in the first two rounds raised obvious questions about Calvin Pryor’s status. But the selections of Stewart and Hansen shifted the spotlight to Eric Decker and the rest of the Jets’ receiving corps.
The team entered the draft with seven receivers on the roster: Decker, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Quinton Patton, Charone Peake, Jalin Marshall and Devin Smith, who will miss the 2017 season with an ACL injury.
The Jets went back to the defensive side of the ball in the final rounds, taking West Georgia defensive end/outside linebacker Dylan Donahue, who set a school record with 25 1⁄2 sacks. With the fourth pick in Round 6 (188th overall), they took versatile Louisiana-Lafayette running back Elijah McGuire.
The Jets chose to deal the 191st pick (Round 6) to Dallas in exchange for the Cowboys’ fifth-round selection in 2018 before finally grabbing two cornerbacks: Michigan’s Jeremy Clark at No. 197 and Derrick Jones of Ole Miss at 204.
California WR/6-2, 202
Hansen’s the ultimate underdog intent on proving his worth. After a season at Idaho State, the only school that made him a scholarship offer, he transferred to Cal, where he ranked third in the FBS with 9.2 catches a game and fourth with 124.9 receiving yards a game. While his speed may not blow you away, he’s got great hands.
Clemson TE/6-5, 258
Even as a fifth-rounder, he’s an instant upgrade at the position. Questions remain about his motor and effort, but Leggett acknowledged his own inconsistency. He’s shown how good he can be when everything’s clicking. The first-team All-ACC selection was a finalist for the John Mackey Award, given to the as the nation’s top tight end. As a junior, he caught 40 passes for 525 yards and eight touchdowns.
West Georgia DE/OLB / 6-2, 248
Donahue’s path to the draft included struggles with alcohol, bad grades, two seasons at a San Diego community college and a brief stint working at his father’s roofing company. His circuitous journey means he’ll be a 25-year-old rookie. Donahue had 13.5 sacks and 20 tackles for loss last season. His father, Mitch, was the Western Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 1989 and 1990 for Wyoming before playing four years in the NFL with the 49ers and Broncos.
Louisiana-Lafayette RB / 5-10, 214
The offensive MVP of the East-West Shrine Game, McGuire is athletic, versatile as a pass-catcher and also a potential punt-return option.
Michigan CB / 6-3, 220
Scouts were high on Clark last year before he tore an ACL and was denied a fifth-year of eligibility by the NCAA because he redshirted in 2012 without a injury. He said he’s “75 percent” healthy, but during his pre-draft visit the Jets told him they need a big press corner — and he could be it
Ole Miss CB / 6-2, 188
A converted wide receiver, Jones clearly can track balls in the air. Played in nine games (three starts) at cornerback for the Rebels and tied for second on the team with five passes defended. He also was second with two interceptions. Jones played receiver in 2014, ’15 and the beginning of 2016.