8 Most Overrated New York Jets in Franchise History

Rocco ConstantinoContributor IMay 8, 2012

8 Most Overrated New York Jets in Franchise History

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    One sure way to start some controversy is to label someone "overrated."

    It's a hard categorization to quantify as there are no specific stats that can measure being overrated. Players can put up huge numbers but still be called overrated for a variety of reasons.  

    You can take the best players and coaches in any sport and there is someone waiting to call them overrated.  

    People like Derek Jeter, Phil Jackson, LeBron James and Dan Marino are all immortal sports figures, but just as sure as they are first-ballot Hall of Famers, there are heated arguments that they are overrated.

    For the sake of this argument, some ground rules must be set to keep things under control. The main criteria used here was that a player must have had some kind of success with the Jets.

    There's no question that the New York Jets "brain trust" overrated Vernon Gholston before they drafted him, but he doesn't make this list because you can't find a soul on the planet who will argue that he ever had any kind of production in the first place. The same goes for Kyle Brady, Blair Thomas and any other draft bust.

    The basic concept is that these players can be remembered for doing something positive during their Jets' tenure, but weren't or aren't as good as people remember. Also, any player who had good production, but had a shorter peak than fans remember was also considered.

    With that being said, here is a list of the eight most overrated players in Jets history. If you see your favorite player on this list, feel free to let me have it in the comments section. 

Bart Scott

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    When Bart Scott came to the Jets along with Rex Ryan in 2009, fans thought they were getting their own version of Ray Lewis.

    All they got was an average linebacker who provided a great "can't wait" soundbite.

    Scott was a key piece of the Baltimore Ravens' dominant defense and when he came to the Jets, it was expected that he would emerge from the shadow of Lewis and Terrell Suggs and carve a name out for himself.

    Scott was a Pro Bowler in 2006 when he 9.5 sacks and 78 tackles—remarkable production for someone who wasn't even drafted out of college. His numbers were down in 2007 and 2008 as he approached the age of 30, but instead of seeing that as a red flag, the Jets just figured he could use a change of scenery.

    While Scott has been productive at times, he has never shown any type of a hint that he could be the type of player that was promised to fans.

    Upon signing Scott, Ryan said via ESPN:

    What you've seen him do and accomplish in Baltimore, I think is just the tip of the iceberg.  I think he's going to be more effective with this Jets defense because we're going to have some flexibility with him and David (Harris) that, quite honestly, we never really had with Ray (Lewis). 

    In his first two years as a Jet, Scott had just one sack in each season and in 2011 he had 53 tackles—his lowest total since becoming a full-time player.

    Scott is now 31 years old and saw his playing time diminish last season. The Jets appear to be stuck with him as his contract is prohibitive for a trade or release.

Kerry Rhodes

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    Aside from Darrelle Revis, Kerry Rhodes may be the best athlete to play in the Jets secondary over the past decade.  

    Rhodes was a fourth-round draft pick out of Louisville in 2005 and during his first three seasons, he was a hard-working safety with a penchant for the big play.

    When Rex Ryan was hired as the Jets head coach, he likened Rhodes to Ed Reed (via ESPN).  If that's not overrating someone, I don't know what is.

    The more popular Rhodes got, the more he seemed to be concerned with a possible acting or television career and that didn't sit well with Ryan at all.

    Rhodes went from being a borderline superstar to being benched.  During the first 10 games of his final season as a Jet, Rhodes failed to record a single interception, sack, forced fumble or fumble recovery.  

    He ultimately was shipped out to Arizona for a fourth-round pick.  

Erik McMillan

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    When talking about the top safeties to play for the Jets over the past two decades, the name Erik McMillan often comes up. Truth be told, it really shouldn't.

    McMillan was a popular player during his career, and after being named to the Pro Bowl in each of his first two seasons and winning the Defensive Rookie of the Year, it was with good cause.

    After that, he went downhill fast.

    McMillan was a reluctant tackler from the start and began to fall out of shape as the Jets became less relevant during the early 1990s.

    McMillan was a brilliant flash-in-the-pan for three seasons, but fell off a cliff after that. Because of such a short peak, he shouldn't be considered among the Jets best of the past few decades.

Marvin Jones

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    Marvin Jones is a player that many Jets fans look back on fondly, and they have every right to. He was a hard-working, high-character player who did his best to play through injuries over a 10-year career.

    What he didn't do was dominate the middle of the field like he was supposed to.

    The first four years of Jones' career were hampered by injuries while the final six seasons he played resulted in just a single All-Pro season.  

    Jones was supposed to be a tackling machine in the middle of the field, yet in three of the six full seasons he played, he registered 77 tackles or less.

    I liked Marvin Jones as a player as much as the next guy, but looking back at his stats, he wasn't as productive as we remember.

Richie Anderson

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    Richie Anderson always seemed to be a favorite of Jets coaches and a player who grew to be a very respected veteran in the organization. He was an excellent blocker and usually did a good job catching passes out of the backfield.  

    However, put the ball in his hands during a crucial point in a game (especially in the playoffs) and hold your breath.

    Anderson played for Bruce Coslet, Pete Carroll, Rich Kotite, Bill Parcells, Al Groh and Herman Edwards during his time in green and white and that is an accomplishment in itself.  

    Anderson handled the ball 718 times during his 10-year career and racked up 11 career fumbles.  Those aren't atrocious numbers, as he averaged about one fumble a year, but it was the timing of those fumbles that mattered.

    With the Jets trailing 16-10 in a 2002 playoff game at Oakland, Anderson fumbled with the Jets driving for a potential go-ahead score in the third quarter.

    The Jets ran into the Raiders again in the 2003 playoffs and with the Jets going in on the Raiders 29-yard line looking to cut the Raiders' lead to seven, Anderson fumbled again, putting a nail in the coffin for that game as well.

    For good measure, Anderson fumbled in his only playoff appearance as a Dallas Cowboy too.

Boomer Esiason

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    Boomer Esiason was a scholastic hero growing up on Long Island, and when he had tremendous success with the Cincinnati Bengals early in his career, native New Yorkers couldn't have been more happy for him.

    He enjoyed a nine-year career for the Bengals but in 1993, they decided to go into a full rebuilding mode.  

    At the same time, the Jets aborted their ill-fated Browning Nagle experiment after the 1992 season and traded a third-round pick to the Bengals to bring Esiason home.

    He played three seasons for the Jets in which he went an unspectacular 15-27.

    Esiason is a respected figure in the NFL and one of the game's great humanitarians.  He is now one of the most well-respected announcers in the league and is a popular morning radio host on New York's WFAN.

    To be fair, Esiason did not have much help from the players around him and it's certainly not his fault he was forced to play under the direction of Bruce Coslet, Pete Carroll and Rich Kotite. But in the end, Esiason didn't produce.

    Because he is so well-liked and remains a visible figure in the New York sports scene, Esiason is still remembered fondly by Jets fans.  

    However, his play on the field as a Jet left a lot to be desired.

Mark Gastineau

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    It's tough to call Mark Gastineau overrated because for a period of time, he was arguably the most feared pass-rusher in the AFC.

    However, insightful Jets fans will point out that Gastineau was more of a product of the Jets' dominant defensive line and benefited greatly from the play of Joe Klecko.

    Gastineau was charged with being a fearsome pass-rusher and without question, he did his job. Over a three-year period from 1983-1985, Gastineau recorded an incredible 54.5 sacks and was practically unblockable.  

    Although sacks weren't an official stat at the time, it is estimated he had 31 total sacks between 1980 and 1981 as well.

    While Jets fans were gracious for the production, the truth of the matter was that other teams had to dedicate two or three offensive lineman to block Klecko, thus freeing Gastineau to roam free.

    The final years of Gastineau's career also take some of the polish off of his Jets' tenure. He wasn't very productive from 1986-1988, immediately crossed the picket line in 1987 and walked away from the game in the middle of the 1988 season under bizarre circumstances involving his then-girlfriend Brigitte Nielsen.

    Maybe if Gastineau wasn't such a jerk as a player, his career would be looked at more favorably.

    24 years have passed since Gastineau retired and fans have lightened up over time.  He has participated in ceremonies during Jets games in recent years and has always received a warm welcome.  

    That still doesn't change the fact that he wasn't as dominant as his stats say he was.

Joe Namath

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    This one hurts because the Jets and the NFL would not be what it is today without Joe Namath.

    Personally, I have even more respect for Namath as he isn't afraid to rip the current team for the bonehead moves it makes sometimes (via ESPN).  While he is outspoken (his Twitter is a must-read during games), his commentary is fair and he has more positive things to say than negative.

    However, Namath's career as a football player is far from sparkling.

    His production was curtailed due to serious knee injuries, but some of his career numbers just flat out stink. The stat that stands out the most are his 173-220 touchdown to interception ratio. Throw in his 65.5 career quarterback rating and his status in the Hall of Fame is debatable.

    Obviously his Super Bowl III "guarantee" remains one of the great moments in sports history, but he should not be in the same club as players like Johnny Unitas, Joe Montana, John Elway or even Terry Bradshaw.

    While some people argue that Namath doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame at all, that's going too far.  He was a prolific passer whose contributions to the game and its development go far beyond what his statistics say.  

    But to list Namath among the best of the best is taking things a step too far.