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The NFL draft is obviously full of so many "what could have been" hypothetical situations, but the Jets probably came closer to having an immortal combination on offense than most realize.
In 1983, the Richard Todd era was coming to a merciful end as his eight-year quest to follow up Joe Namath was ending without a trip to the Super Bowl.
With the quarterback position clearly set for a change and an unusually high number of quarterbacks regarded as first-round material, the Jets had the golden opportunity to address that area of need in the draft.
While John Elway was clearly the top quarterback coming into the draft, at one point Dan Marino was just as highly regarded. However, Marino's production dropped off during his senior year at Pitt and questions about his character arose.
Those factors caused Marino to plummet in the NFL draft, and with the Jets picking at spot No. 24 that year, Marino fell right into their laps.
However, the Jets decided to go with a quarterback from Division II Cal-Davis named Ken O'Brien instead.
As everybody knows, the Dolphins scooped up Marino three picks later, and despite the scathing objections to the pick by Sports Illustrated's Paul Zimmerman, that Marino guy turned out to be a decent pick for the Dolphins.
Now that the Ken O'Brien era was underway in New York, the Jets really needed to get their young quarterback a legitimate target at wide receiver.
During the 1983 season, the Jets' top two leading wide receivers were Wesley Walker and Johnny Lam Jones, who combined for just 72 catches and 1093 yards.
Walker was a great Jet, but was 29 years old at the time and it was apparent that Jones was never going to materialize as an NFL player.
The 1985 NFL draft had three wide receivers who were considered sure-fire first-round picks, and the Jets were surely in the market for one.
The three receivers were Al Toon, Eddie Brown and Jerry Rice.
Picking at No. 10, the Jets went with Toon.
Brown was picked by the Bengals at No. 13 and Rice went to the 49ers at No. 16.
While there were obviously plenty of teams who passed on both Marino and Rice, what makes it harder to take for Jets fans is that they clearly had needs at those positions and the close proximity to which Marino and Rice were picked after O'Brien and Toon.
Toon was inducted into the Jets' Ring of Honor last season, and O'Brien had his share of great moments for the team, but Jets fans still wonder "what if?"—picturing Dan Marino throwing to Jerry Rice while wearing green and white.