In his final meeting with the media before the 2018 NFL Draft, general manager Mike Maccagnan expressed comfort knowing he is about to add an excellent player to his roster.
"We view all these picks as extremely important. We feel very good about the third pick," he told reporters Monday at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. "We think there will be a good player there who we like on our board. We'll see how it plays out."
With that third pick Thursday night, the widespread consensus is the Jets are about to take one of the following four signal callers: Josh Allen (Wyoming), Sam Darnold (USC), Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma) and Josh Rosen (UCLA). Maccagnan reiterated today that quarterback was a position of interest.
"I think there are some very good players in this draft overall and particularly there are some very good quarterbacks in this draft. But from a competitive standpoint, we're all trying to guess what everyone else is doing around the league," he said.
Of the Jets' 30 pre-draft visitors to the team's facility, Darnold was one of the last to meet with the club.
"I think that just kind of worked itself out from a scheduling standpoint. We felt pretty good about Sam in terms of our evaluation of him, but of course, we had a chance to bring him in at the end there and have another small window with him," Maccagnan said. "In a lot of these situations, anything we can do with that helps the process."
With six selections this weekend, Maccagnan says the draft preparation has been similar to years past despite the attention on that third pick in Round 1.
"I don't want to say it's like Groundhog Day all over again, but it's the same process that you go through for the most part," he said. "Every class has a different aspect to it, but the process for the most part is similar. You just obviously try to make sure that you get your board right in terms of how you see the players and be prepared to execute that on draft day."
Last April, Maccagnan set a Jets franchise record with five draft-weekend trades. Although he will likely wheel and deal again, it appears unlikely he'll make a second move to alter his first-round position following his March 17th trade-up.
"We feel very good about where we are sitting right now in the draft," he said. "But you never know until the draft starts unfolding and I'm sure things will happen before the draft starts. But I don't think we necessarily will rule anything out or take anything off the table. We're just going to make whatever decisions we feel are in the best interests of the organization for both short and long term."
While Maccagnan kept things close to the vest, he did allow that that this was a quality running back class. The Jets have close to 200 players on their big board and plenty of work will remain after the first rounder with five additional picks and priority free agent signings.
"I know everybody is focused on at the top of the draft, but there are some very good players in this draft who ideally we will be able to acquire or land through other picks that we have, and hopefully help build this team in the vision that we have for it to continue doing that going forward," he said.
In his first three drafts as general manager, Maccagnan found three foundational-type players in DL Leonard Williams (2015), ILB Darron Lee (2016) and S Jamal Adams (2017). He was active in free agency, but continues to stress that he wants to build the Green & White through the draft. Yes No. 3 will be critical, but Maccagnan wants to get them all right on draft weekend.
"I think you kind of feel stress wherever you're picking. I've been associated with teams that have had the first pick in the draft," he said. "You feel pressure, but you feel pressure to get them right wherever you are. You never know what decision you may make that may be impactful to the organization's future. But you sort of compartmentalize it, you look at it, make sure you're being objective in your process and make sure you're being as accurate as possible."