Optimism reigns in March as NFL fans bask in the warmth of new free-agent signings and the prospects for the upcoming draft. Surely things will be better this coming season. I'm here to say that's not always the case.
I've taken the responsibility of raining on every New York Jets fan's parade. It's my job in 2014 to use the lessons of history to sow the seeds of doom and gloom throughout Jets Nation as the 2014 NFL draft approaches by revisiting past blunders.
I can hear the objections now:
- "Hindsight is 20/20."
- "Other teams make mistakes."
- "You can't predict things like injuries."
I understand these concerns. Still, the Jets have demonstrated a macabre skill in getting horrible results from draft day. In their story, "New York Jets: Best and worst draft picks," NFL.com writers Dan Hanzus and Jason Smith called the Jets' blunders, "...the gold standard of disappointing draft picks." They can't be alone in that opinion.
So in the interest of avoiding a repetition of history, here's a list of the leading Jets draft mistakes. A couple of factors influence the ranking:
- First is the productivity of the player himself. It’s important to consider a player's results not as absolute numbers, but in the context of his selection round. We're talking about early selections here, none later than the 39th pick. Many of these players here had perfectly good numbers for fifth-round selections. The Jets took them in the first or second rounds.
- Second is the amount of trouble the Jets took to get him. If they traded players for picks and wound up with nothing, that’s an even worse result than blowing the pick they earned through their regular-season play.
- Third is missed opportunities. This is the "what might have been" section. It lists the future Hall of Famers or All-Pros who were still on the board when the Jets made their blunder. It often gets more attention than it deserves. For example, in 1983 the Jets were one of four teams whose first-round pick was a quarterback other than Dan Marino.
Let's begin by looking at some players who appear on these lists all too often. Then it's on to the real mistakes.
- College Football Statistics: Sports-Reference.com
- NFL Draft History and Player Statistics: NFL.com
- New York Jets Draft History: NewYorkJets.com