The Jets picked quarterback Christian Hackenberg in the second round of last night’s draft and the team says they still want to re-sign Ryan Fitzpatrick, but it is their 2013 second-round pick who currently sits atop the depth chart at the position.
As long as Fitzpatrick remains out of the picture, coach Todd Bowles said Friday that Geno Smith is will occupy the No. 1 spot in the pecking order.
“Without Fitz being on the team right now, Geno’s first-team and then we’ll go from there,” Bowles said. “Obviously we’re still working on a deal if we can get Fitzpatrick back. So until that’s addressed and we take care of that situation right now, Geno will go into OTAs as a starter.”
General Manager Mike Maccagnan confirmed that Hackenberg’s selection does nothing to change the team’s interest in bringing Fitzpatrick back. He also explained some of what the team saw in Hackenberg to make them pick him with the 51st overall selection despite two uninspiring years at Penn State.
“Obviously, Christian has a lot of physical ability in terms of arm strength, athletic ability, size — he’s sort of prototypical from that standpoint,” Maccagnan said. “We worked him out, had a private workout with him, we spent time with him, we had him in for a visit. We think he has a lot of potential, from a mental and aptitude standpoint. We think there’s a lot of ability to work with there.”
Hackenberg had a strong freshman year at Penn State under Bill O’Brien, but did not play well after James Franklin took over in Happy Valley. On Friday night, Hackenberg said he believes a player is defined by “how you react to not success but failure and adversity” and that his experiences in college have set him up to succeed in the NFL.
The Jets would seem to agree, although that does little to settle the situation under center at the moment.