For those of you fellow degenerates who watched the whole NFL draft (or at least followed all the picks), you probably noticed that the New York Jets traded their 7th round pick for Vanderbilt alumnus, Zac Stacy. Needless to say, I was pretty excited for this pick. While Jets fans are divided on the issue, most of them are happy with the pick for what it is - the Jets got a great deal for a 7th rounder. More than that, it actually was the final product of a trade the Jets made last year when we traded down with the Bears. A fifth round pick from the Bears was eventually parlayed into getting Brandon Marshall and a seventh rounder (which got us Zac).
The Jets right now have Chris Ivory as their starting RB. Ivory is a serviceable tailback, but not exactly the kind of RB you're super happy about being your starter. There is a question as to whether Ivory can take the role as the lead back after a season where he largely shared the role with former superstar Chris Johnson. The Jets seem to share that concern, as they picked up a player with the same skillset in Stevan Ridley this offseason. Since the Jets also have two speed backs in Bilal Powell and Daryl Richardson, it's not clear at all what the depth chart for the Jets' backfield will look like in 2015.
Detractors of Stacy have pointed out his low YPC (3.9) in his two years in the NFL. That puts him towards the bottom of starters. Stacy's biggest notice came when he beat out Daryl Richardson for the starting duties in 2013, a moderate upset from the fifth round pick. Jeff Fisher, content to prove to everyone that he could screw up more than one team, rewarded Stacy by relegating him to backup duties in 2014 and cutting his carries by a factor of four. Stacy's average performance stayed the same. It shouldn't be surprising to Vanderbilt fans that Stacy still gave it his all despite the diminished role, and actually saw a marked improvement in his receiving game.
This is actually another important point because Stacy can fit with a Jets offense that like to run hard but also utilizes their RBs in their passing attack. The Jets, needing a tremendous amount of help for notoriously terrible QB, Geno Smith went out of their way to improve their WR position this offseason. They have added Brandon Marshall and drafted big play factory Devin Smith from Ohio State to join Eric Decker and Jeremy Kerley That's a nice group of WRs with different skills. If the Jets can mix that with some down low RBs for some screens and dump offs, and you've got yourself a passing attack. That is, provided Geno Smith doesn't continue his quest to get me throw my TV off the balcony of my apartment.
Still, Stacy's strength is in his power back skills. He can be a great compliment to the system, and the Jets justifiably used a 7th rounder on him. Seventh rounders usually never make it past training camp, and the Jets already have a back they know can compete. Sure, he may be a backup for the Jets, but he's already a proven talent. I have a good feeling about his chances on the Jets' depth chart, especially given the huge shakeups the organization has had this offseason.
That's not easy for me to say either. I showed over at GGN that the only consistently good QB the Jets have had in the live-ball era was Ken O'Brien. That's not coaching, that's not a bad draft pick here and there, that's not even a bad owner. That's a proud history of terrible front offices making terrible decisions because they run a football team about as well as Josh Harris runs the Sixers. Rex Ryan was the only coach other than Bill Parcells able to motivate the team properly in my lifetime.
Still, the front office of the Jets has made tremendous strides in the right direction this offseason in no small part to new GM Mike Maccagnan. Maccagnan has not only made good on his promises to go scorched Earth, firing basically everyone from the coaches down to the scouts. He's really made some great moves and the Jets just had the best draft I can remember.
Will Zac work out on the Jets? I can't be sure, but I can be sure of this - he has a great chance. New coaching staffs, new everything and the Jets are willing to consider everything and anything. While I doubt he'll dethrone Ivory, he can certainly help with the Jets as a #2 RB. If he gets outperformed in training camp, so be it. All the Jets lost is a pick that would have been spent on someone who definitely would have made it. The Jets made a great deal here, and I think Zac will carry "the chip" and prove that he can still contribute in the NFL. It will certainly also work in Zac's favor that Ridley is hurt and who knows when he'll get healthy. I am betting the Jets will lean towards wanting at least two power backs which pretty much just leaves them with Stacy and Ivory for the moment. All will come down to training camp.
That all said, they are the Jets. I keep expecting to wake up from a dream and being told that the Jets drafted the next Ryan Leaf, Marcus Mariota. That it's the year 2055 and the New England Greatriots have cheated their way to another swath of super bowls led by Robobrady and Megagronk while the Jets still haven't found a QB worth a damn.
That's life as a Jets fan though - always assuming the team is going to implode.