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Woody Johnson: Jets Set a New Course

Jets Owner Stresses Homegrown Talent, Need for Numbers in the Draft


Committed to building through the draft and developing young players in-house, Jets CEO Woody Johnson is navigating a new course.

"If you want to go to the promised land, you have to go in a certain direction," he said Tuesday during an appearance with ESPN New York. "I think this is a direction we have never tried in 17 years that I've been involved in with the Jets. We've never gone this way."

A guest on "Hahn, Humpty & Canty," Johnson stressed his goals for the upcoming season in terms of player development.

"Really the way I want to be judged this year hopefully from the fans' standpoint is watch how we improve during the year and look at how each individual on the team and see how they're getting better," he said. "If they're getting better, that's a mark of progress. That's what we're looking for."

Top Images of the 2017 Draft Picks

Looking back at years past, Johnson acknowledged attempting to find the quick fix via trades and/or through pro free agency.

"I think what we have done over the years is traded picks away and we've had too big of an emphasis on free agency and not enough emphasis on developing our own," he said. "Your own guy you train from day one and that's going to be a guy that understands what you're trying to accomplish. I think you're better off with a homegrown guy."

Last weekend, GM Mike Maccagnan made five trades in all while stockpiling picks in the process. After starting with seven selections, Maccagnan drafted nine players and added the Cowboys' 2018 fifth-rounder.

"Well he was just following his board and we got a number of players that were still high on our board even after trading down and getting more picks," Johnson said. "This was all about numbers this year and maybe next year, too. We need numbers. We have a lot of areas we have to improve in."

Saying he thought the Draft went well, Johnson added the Jets selected a "couple of great safeties" in Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye. The DB duo along with the team's other seven selections are expected to be in Florham Park Thursday when players report for rookie minicamp.

"This is not for every team," Johnson said of the new direction. "But for us, it's getting our own guys, teaching them our culture and getting them going with the way we want to approach football in New York. This is a different type of deal, so it's tough. So you have to get the right guy."

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