In his rookie year with the New York Jets, quarterback Christian Hackenberg never saw the football field during the regular season, in fact, he didn’t dress for a game until the season finale.
He was tarred and feathered for his inaccuracy, which was put on display during the fourth game of the preseason; an 11-for-31 performance for just 54 yards and an interception.
Yes it was just preseason, and yes he’s a rookie who had huge question marks going into the season, but regardless, that game only seemed to verify what a lot of draft analysts thought of him- he’s a project at best.
NFL Network analysts Daniel Jeramiah thought so little of Hackenberg, that he had seven quarterbacks from the 2017 Draft class ahead of Christian. He even predicted Tom Brady would get his 6th Super Bowl ring before Hackenberg ever starts an NFL game. Check the video out here.
Already during OTAs this year, the media has jumped on Hackenberg’s inaccuracies, which included hitting two reporters and missing wildly with receivers in non-contact, non-coverage drills.
And yet, despite that, news has also come out of Hackenberg’s growth during the OTAs, from his QB coach to the quarterback who will most likely start Week 1, Josh McCown. There seems to be a growing sense of optimism with Hackenberg, with a feel that he will in fact, get to start at some point during the regular season, just not Week 1.
The 51st overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft deserves at the very worst, at least a shot to play in his second season. The former number one QB prospect in all of high school and put up stellar numbers at Penn State his freshman year under current Houston Texans head coach, Bill O’Brien, who also coached Tom Brady at New England.
There were rumors of a possible trade between Houston and the Jets to reunite the pair, but those seemed to be more fantasy than reality.
For Hackenberg, this season could be make it or break it, sink or swim. Many around the NFL believe the Jets are tanking to land the No. 1 pick in 2018, which could include USC quarterback Sam Darnold, who helped the Trojans knockoff Hackenberg’s alma matter in the Rose Bowl.
That kind of added pressure makes the Hackenberg situation all the more important for himself and the Jets franchise. Is Hackenberg the future QB of the Jets? Or is that quarterback coming in the 2018 class? There’s only one way to find out this season- give Hackenberg a shot to play.