The New York Jets have officially decided to draft Christian Hackenberg with the 51st pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Hackenberg has been predicted to be chosen everywhere from the bottom of the first round to the seventh round, but here he is, the newest member of the Jets.
Hackenberg has gone through what seemed like never-ended scrutiny from the moment he stepped on the football field at Penn State, and said scrutiny only intensified when James Franklin and company (and an offense that wasn't tailored to his strengths) arrived in town. Did he regress over the course of 2014 and 2015? Absolutely. Is there still a ton of talent there to work with? Absolutely.
From our draft preview of Hackenberg-
"Hackenberg is a dude who will step into your organization and within two weeks have the entire playbook and terminology memorized. Again, this is just how this guy is wired: he has an inherent understanding of how the Xs and Os aspect of football works."
"Additionally, the team that takes him will get a guy who has one of the 10 best arms in the league."
"Lastly, you're getting a quarterback who has an inherent desire to get better. The dude has spent the last two years getting ripped apart by everyone. He has a chip on his shoulder the size of the Rock of Gibraltar, and with how naturally competitive he has shown that he is, you can probably guess that he will want to come in and silence everyone who criticizes him so easily."
Of course, he also has his struggles. His footwork needs a lot of work, and he needs to remember what it's like to play behind an offensive line that doesn't force him to run for his life. Clearly the Jets believe that they can help Hack fix these issues, and turn him into a productive NFL starter.
There's no denying the talent of Christian Hackenberg, and with the proper coaching, he could even find himself emerge as the top quarterback in the entire class of 2016 one day in the future. The sky is the limit, even if that limit was never truly approached at Penn State.
For some added fun, check out our original post on Hackenberg when he initially committed to play for Penn State.