This is one in a series of articles that will also appear in the New York Jets 2020 Yearbook, which will be published later this summer.
Joe Douglas has had one of the most unusual starts to an NFL general managership in recent years. He was hired by the Jets in June 2019, not January. This offseason he presided over his first free agency period and his first draft as GM while the COVID-19 pandemic raged.
If things can go this evenly moving forward, the Jets should endure minimal midair turbulence with Douglas at the controls.
"The process went about as smooth as it could go under the circumstances," Douglas said about the draft, during which, due to the virus, he posted up in his house to coordinate the Jets' moves. "This was a real team effort from every department — video, IT, coaching, personnel. We were all able to come together, we embraced the technology, the teleconference abilities we had. We weren't afraid to disagree, we were able to hash things out. And I think it really led to us being able to get good players and have a strong draft."
Of course, it will take more than one year on the job to grade Douglas' stewardship. But the draft brought together a number of elements that bode well for the Green & White's future:
In October, he traded DL Leonard Williams to the Giants for two choices, one of which was a third-rounder that was spent on S Ashtyn Davis.
Beginning in March, Douglas began bringing in free agent talent to fortify the offensive line (George Fant, Connor McGovern, Greg Van Roten, Josh Andrews), wide receiver (Breshad Perriman to replace Robby Anderson) and cornerback (Pierre Desir).
He made three more trades during the draft. The first two, with Seattle and New England, provided three extra picks, which were used to take WR Denzel Mims, QB James Morgan and T Cameron Clark. A late trade with Indianapolis brought in veteran CB Quincy Wilson.
All of these picks added to the selections of T Mekhi Becton (11th overall), edge rusher Jabari Zuniga and RB La'Mical Perine.
"It's exciting. It's everything you dream about when you get into this profession," Douglas said before the draft about taking the Jets' helm. "I feel really good about where we are and now it's just being aggressive, making smart decisions, being opportunistic and trying to improve this roster the best way we can."