Whenever Mike Maccagnan discusses his team-building philosophy, the words "build through the draft" invariably come flying out of his mouth. Most general managers feel the same way, but few are able to pull it off. It requires scouting expertise, a clearly defined vision and, yes, some luck.
The moribund New York Jets are selling the youth movement this offseason because the team got run into the ground and they have little choice but to rebuild a talent-starved roster. But there are no guarantees this method will work, and here's the proof:
Leaguewide, only 16.9 percent of the players drafted from 2011 to 2013 (129 of 761) remain with the teams that drafted them, according to research compiled by ESPN Minnesota Vikings reporter Ben Goessling. That's a surprisingly low number, illustrating how difficult it can be to -- cue Maccagnan voice -- build through the draft, develop players and sign them to second contracts.
The Cincinnati Bengals have the most remaining players (10), while six teams have only one apiece. The Jets? They're smack dab in the middle of the league, tied for 16th with four -- Muhammad Wilkerson, Bilal Powell, Sheldon Richardson and Brian Winters. Richardson's immediate future is up in the air, so it could be down to three at any minute.
For now, it's four out out 21 draft picks still on the team -- a 19-percent success rate, slightly above the league average.
Maccagnan's predecessors, John Idzik and Mike Tannenbaum, have taken a lot of criticism for their draft failures, but not many teams knocked it out of the park during this three-year window. It wasn't just a Jets thing, but it's one of the main reasons for the team's current plight. We haven't even mentioned the 2014 draft, which has only four survivors out of 12 picks,
The main takeaway from this statistical analysis is that building through the draft, which sounds great in a news conference, is hardly a cure-all. It must be done effectively and it must be done in conjunction with free agency.