Mike Maccagnan's oft-stated preference is to build through the college draft. Most general managers feel that way, but we all know it's not the only method for bringing talent into the building.
Take a look at the New York Jets' first three games, and you'll notice several contributors were acquired via trades and the waiver wire -- almost like a second draft. The downside is all but two will be free agents after the season, creating a short-term feel.
A ranking of the veteran additions, using a draft-related theme to put them in order:
Round 1: WR Jermaine Kearse (acquired: trade) -- He leads the Jets in receptions (14), receiving yards (165) and touchdowns (two). Teammates say he's doing a terrific job behind the scenes, mentoring the young receivers. The Jets got Kearse and a second-round pick for Sheldon Richardson -- a nice deal so far. He's signed through 2018.
Round 2: MLB Demario Davis (trade) -- Two words: Highway robbery. In June, the Jets re-acquired Davis in exchange for draft bust Calvin Pryor (since released by the Cleveland Browns). Davis was "thinking too much" in the first two games, per coach Todd Bowles, but he rebounded with a strong game against the Miami Dolphins. He will have good days and bad days, but he's an every-down linebacker who runs the defense -- and there's value in that.
Round 3: WR Jeremy Kerley (free agent) -- Like Davis, he's in his second stint with the Jets, who scooped him up after he was released by the San Francisco 49ers on cutdown day. Josh McCown is perfect when he throws to Kerley: eight targets, eight catches. He's a hold-the-fort player until one of the young receivers is ready for a bigger role.
Round 4: DE Kony Ealy (waivers) -- Picked up before the final preseason game, Ealy has played in 61 percent of the defensive snaps, recording six tackles and one pass break-up. He plays mostly in sub packages, but he can play in the base as a 3-4 outside linebacker, as he did in the opener. He tends to freelance at times, but it's hard to find 25-year-old defensive linemen with upside.
Round 5: S Terrence Brooks (trade) -- In his first extensive action, Brooks made two interceptions in the win over the Dolphins. He replaced Jamal Adams for about 10 plays, and he also saw time in sub packages, showing range and a nose for the ball. Brooks arrived in a preseason trade that sent cornerback Dexter McDougle to the Philadelphia Eagles. His versatility creates game-plan flexibility.
Round 6: TE Will Tye (waivers) -- Desperate for an experienced tight end, the Jets picked him up on the roster cutdown and tossed him into the lineup immediately. Tye's playing time figures to decrease now that Austin Seferian-Jenkins is back from suspension, and it could shrink further when Eric Tomlinson and rookie Jordan Leggett get healthy.
Round 7: LS Thomas Hennessy (trade) -- The Jets pulled off a rare long-snapper trade with the Indianapolis Colts, replacing the venerable Tanner Purdum. They preferred Hennessy, a rookie, because he's faster and better on punt coverage. So far, so good. He's signed through 2019.