With training camp rolling into town, the New York Jets are set to have a multitude of position battles for starting and backup roles. That means parting with players who exceeded but were slightly beaten out, and parting with disappointing players from previous draft classes that teams had high hopes for. General manager Mike Maccagnan has been off to a rocky start to his tenure. His draft classes have been mediocre which is why this summer, it is time to part ways with these five previous draft picks.
No one will know whether Devin Smith could have been a successful wide receiver in the NFL with all the injuries he has endured. But the bottom line still holds true; he has been unable to produce on the football field. In his limited rookie action, Smith finished with nine receptions. In his second season, he played only four games before tearing his ACL. In those four games, he finished with one catch. Last offseason, he tore his ACL again.
A 2015 second-round pick, Devin Smith was supposed to be the deep threat the Jets needed to take the top off the defense. However, Smith struggled mightily in his limited action. Now, Robby Anderson has taken his role as the deep threat of the offense. The Jets can only carry a limited number of wide receivers, and Smith is not capable of being one of the limited bunch.
It is safe to say the 2015 draft was not a good one for the Jets. If Smith and Mauldin both get cut, only Leonard Williams and Deon Simon (who may also get cut because of a logjam at nose tackle) will remain. The third-round pick of that draft, Mauldin was projected to be a pass-rusher but has shown nothing to prove he is just that. Mauldin was asked to put on weight for his sophomore campaign, but it appeared that he struggled with the bulked up body. He, like Smith, went down with injury last offseason and missed the remainder of the season. However, injuries are a part of the evaluating process, and these last two picks fall on Maccagnan. He needs to own it and give the roster spots to more deserving players.
The Jets took Burris in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He showed plenty of flashes in his rookie campaign, but that was in limited action. When the Jets turned to him to be the number two cornerback in his sophomore campaign, he struggled. With the free agent addition of Trumaine Johnson, combined with the retaining of Morris Claiborne, it may be a numbers game for Burris. Burris has the size that Bowles likes in his cornerbacks, but he lacks the speed and instincts to be a full-time starting cornerback in this league. The Jets will be better off retaining Darryl Roberts, who has show that he is capable of holding his own when called upon.
As a seventh-round pick in 2016, Peake has done what one would hope. However, with Robby Anderson, Quincy Enunwa, Jermaine Kearse, Terrelle Pryor, and Chad Hansen in the wide receiver room already, there is no room for Peake. Peake has the size, but he lacks athleticism, and with the wide receiver room so crowded, his role would be as a special teamer. The Jets could vastly improve their special teams, so getting faster and more athletic would be wise this summer.
While only being drafted last year, Stewart did nothing to warrant another year. Similar to Peake, the wide receiver room is crowded and Stewart is not your prototypical wide receiver. Chad Hansen, the other drafted wide receiver from last year, showed far more flashes than Stewart and is younger.