My Rebuttal to Mr. Jeremy Schaap..
“Why should Trevor Lawrence be sacrificed on the altar of competitive balance?” “Why in the spirit of competitive balance do we reward losing?” “How about instead we award winning- not just with the Lombardi trophy, but with the first overall pick?”
When New York Jets fans woke up on December 12th, they were greeted with not a positive report about their football team. They were greeted with not some hopeful news that when this season comes to its merciful end, that the Jets will be in a prime position to add a generational talent to their roster who looks forward to the challenge of being a part of turning their beleaguered franchise around. They were greeted with an episode of Outside the Lines, hosted by Jeremy Schaap, on ESPN that featured a rather pointed shot at how losing teams are given the ability to upgrade their rosters by awarding them a higher draft pick so they can improve from being a losing team to…. dare I say it…. a winning team! More importantly, the shot was aimed at the New York Jets who at that time, if the season ended then would have had the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Well, as we all saw from the time this comment aired until now, the Jets no longer have the first overall pick. That distinct honor now belongs to the Jacksonville Jaguars by virtue of the Jets wins over the Rams and the Browns. So, the Jets have now clinched the second overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Even though there are some Jets fans who dreamt of the notion of having the right to select Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence with that first pick (myself included) dashed with Gang Green’s 2 wins this season, there is still plenty of reason for Jets fans to be hopeful this upcoming off season. But I digress- even though Mr. Schaap is probably sitting in his office right now, writing another article for ESPN, the statements that were made during his ‘parting shots’ segment will not be forgotten by Jets fans anytime soon, regardless of where the Jets would have slotted to pick on draft day. This is my response to Mr. Schaap in regard to his remarks…
If this were any other team in the NFL other than the New York Jets, would you have the same opinion, Mr. Schaap? I really would like to know. Did you have a similar opinion about the 2008 Detroit Lions? How about the 2017 Cleveland Browns? Did the Lions not deserve to draft Matthew Stafford because of how bad of a team they were or how poorly run they were in 2009? How about the Cleveland Browns drafting Baker Mayfield first overall in 2018? Did they not deserve to draft him either despite how poorly run the Browns were? Where was this ‘manifesto’ of yours then?!?! To say that ANY team does not deserve the opportunity to draft a talented player with the hopes that said player will help to turn a team’s fortunes around and start them down the path of being competitive again is completely and utterly ridiculous. The purpose of the NFL Draft is to give ALL TEAMS the opportunity to draft players which could potentially help their franchises. Now, do the players selected always pan out? Not exactly- go see Ryan Leaf, JaMarcus Russell, Matt Leinart, and Reggie Bush just to name a few. There are no guarantees in ANY sport that ANY player when drafted to ANY team is going to be a ‘generational talent’ like the way Trevor Lawrence has been touted this season. Last season, similar words were used with describing Cincinnati Bengals first round pick QB Joe Burrow. The season before that, similar words were used to describe Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray. Every year, we hear the same analysis of college players entering the NFL Draft. Wash, rinse, repeat!
In my opinion, your closing statements made on Outside the Lines was nothing more than a pointed shot at the entire New York Jets organization! And, although that I, as a fan, can admit that some real change needs to happen within the New York Jets, to say that the Jets do not deserve a player of Lawrence’s caliber playing for them is just plain disrespectful. You cannot fault any team in the NFL to want to be competitive- that is why the draft order goes from worst to best. A little thing called “competitive balance”. This little thing is what has helped teams like the Miami Dolphins, the Buffalo Bills, and the Cleveland Browns now compete for the postseason in 2020! Novel concept, eh? The same way that these teams were given opportunities to turn things around is the same opportunity the New York Jets should be given too. So, if you just do not like the New York Jets- just come out and say so! I think more fans would have respected that opinion more than veiling your feelings behind the moniker of “American Sports”. And, it probably would have saved you from being completely roasted on social media. Maybe next time try putting yourself in the shoes of the ‘average joe fan’ who invests their time and money in their favorite franchise regardless of status before you belittle them.