FacebookTwitterGoogleEmail John Idzik’s draft debacle finding new ways to debilitate Jets
By Brian Costello
September 2, 2015 | 2:41pm
Modal Trigger (Clockwise from top left) Jalen Saunders, Jace Amaro, IK Enemkpali, Shaq Evans, Tajh Boyd, Dakota DozierPhoto: Bill Kostroun (2), AP (2), Neil Miller, APMORE FROM
Jets safety: From slums to horrific injury to roster battle
The hidden intangible Darrelle Revis brings to Jets
Brandon Marshall is changing his QB killer rep, 1 heckler at a time
Jets punch gives Todd Bowles chance to prove he's no Rex
New coach, same old crippling issue for stuck-with-Geno Jets
It was the draft that was supposed to set up the Jets for the next decade. General manager John Idzik had plotted since the day he took the job to line up as many picks as he could for the 2014 NFL Draft, hoping to restock the roster with a monster haul.
Instead, he totally blew it.
Idzik drafted 12 players, the so-called “Idzik 12,” and it was clear from the start not many of them were very good. A year later, that draft looks even worse. Only seven members of the 12 remain in the organization, and that number most likely will shrink this weekend when the Jets cut the roster down to 53.
There might be only four players from that 12-man draft class on this year’s active roster. The team placed tight end Jace Amaro, the second-round pick in 2014,on season-ending injured reserve on Tuesday. Safety Calvin Pryor and wide receiver Quincy Enunwa appear to be locks to make the roster. Cornerback Dexter McDougle and linebacker Trevor Reilly are likely to join them, but still have to be considered on the bubble. Offensive lineman Dakota Dozier and wide receiver Shaq Evans are fighting for spots.
John Idzik and Jets owner Woody Johnson before Idzik’s last game as GM.Photo: Charles Wenzelberg
It is why “Idzik” is now a dirty word with Jets fans.
Idzik paid for his terrible draft with his job. It was not the only factor that led to his firing last December, but it played a big role. When Idzik was hired in January 2013, his plan was to let the Jets free agents walk that year to acquire 2014 compensatory picks, and he traded Darrelle Revis to pick up another pick that year. The plan was to stock the roster through the draft in 2013 and ’14, then fill in the holes through free agency in 2015 when he would have roughly $50 million in cap space.
When free agency hit in 2013, Idzik allowed Yeremiah Bell, LaRon Landry, Mike DeVito, Shonn Greene, Dustin Keller and Matt Slauson to walk. In their place, he signed Mike Goodson (a separate disaster) and Antwan Barnes. That gave the Jets four compensatory picks (one fourth-rounder, three sixth-rounders) in the 2014 Draft. The April 2013 trade of Revis to the Buccaneers gave him another fourth-round pick in 2014 in addition to the first-rounder in 2013.
Quincy Enunwa is one player from 2014 class who will be on this year’s roster.Photo: Bill Kostroun
The plan looked pretty solid when the 2014 Draft was hailed as one of the deepest in years, particularly at wide receiver, a position of need for the Jets. But Idzik seemed to freeze during the draft. He failed to make any trades and stayed put with the 12 picks instead of using the advantage of having multiple picks to move up. The results have been ugly.
Pryor and Amaro had disappointing rookie seasons. McDougle and Evans did not make it out of training camp and spent the season on injured reserve. Idzik cut linebacker Jeremiah George (fifth round), Enunwa (sixth round), cornerback Brandon Dixon (sixth round) and quarterback Tajh Boyd (sixth round) in the final round of 2014 roster cuts, bringing George and Enunwa back to the practice squad.
At the end of September, the team released Jalen Saunders (fourth round), who had been a return specialist. Sources said Saunders had been lying to the coaches and they grew frustrated with him. He also did not play very well. Saunders wound up getting picked up by the Saints, who traded him to the Patriots this week.
Perhaps the most famous member of the draft class is now linebacker IK Enemkpali, but it is not for his play. Enemkpali punched quarterback Geno Smith last month, breaking Smith’s jaw. Enemkpali was immediately released.
The 2014 Draft class was supposed to be the foundation of the Jets for years to come. That foundation crumbled almost immediately, setting the franchise back. New GM Mike Maccagnan and coach Todd Bowles are left to deal with the cleanup.
Where are they now?
John Idzik drafted 12 players in 2014. Half are already off the roster, and two more could be gone when the roster is trimmed to 53 this weekend. Here’s a look:
Calvin Pryor, first round
The safety had a disappointing rookie season and was benched midway through the year. He is back with the Jets this year, hoping to break out in Todd Bowles’ system.
Jace Amaro, second round
After struggling to get on the field as a rookie, Amaro will miss the entire season due to shoulder surgery.
Dexter McDougle, third round
Modal TriggerDexter McDougle
Missed his rookie season with a torn ACL. It looks as if he will be the team’s fourth or fifth cornerback to start the season.
Jalen Saunders, fourth round
The Jets cut Saunders, a return specialist, last September after the coaching staff soured on him. He was traded this week by the Saints to the Patriots.
Shaq Evans, fourth round
Evans missed last season with a shoulder injury. He could make the roster as the sixth wide receiver.
Dakota Dozier, fourth round
Did not play a snap as a rookie. Had a bad preseason this year and likely will be cut.
Jeremiah George, fifth round
Signed by the Jaguars off the Jets’ practice squad last September. He remains a backup with Jacksonville.
Brandon Dixon, sixth round
Cut by the Jets after training camp last year. He spent last season with the Buccaneers and is trying to hang on with Tampa Bay.
Quincy Enunwa, sixth round
Played in one game as a rookie, but has emerged as the favorite to be the Jets’ third receiver to start this year.
IK Enemkpali, sixth round
Played mostly special teams as a rookie. He threw the punch heard round the world to break Geno Smith’s jaw and was cut last month. Fighting for a roster spot with Rex Ryan’s Bills.
Tajh Boyd, sixth round
Don’t blame Idzik on this one. Ryan’s pick. He was cut before the season last year and is out of football.
Trevor Reilly, seventh round
The pleasant surprise of the group. He has become a reliable backup linebacker and special-teams contributor.