The Jets Crash Landing at the NFL Draft

Gershon RabinowitzContributor IApril 28, 2008

The 2008 NFL Draft has come and gone.

As a football fan, you will look back at who your team selected and what could have been. NFL Draft experts will analyze this draft in three years from now and separate the booms from the busts.

With the No. 6 pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, the New York Jets selected an intriguing pick, defensive end Vernon Gholston out of Ohio State University.

The defensive end position was a pressing need for the New York Jets, but was this the right selection? Gohlston is an undersized defensive end, who could be moved to the linebacker position. He is a player that plays to the whistle and never takes a down off.

Despite this, Gohlston did not touch a pigskin until his sophomore year of high school. Gohlston also came from a 4-3 defensive scheme at Ohio State, so it remains to be seen if he would be able to adapt to Mangini's 3-4 Defense, something that former Jets linebacker Jonathan Vilma was unable to adapt to and was eventually traded.

The New York Jets should have traded up to the No. 2 spot to select Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan. According to ESPN NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper Jr., Ryan's statistics in school and at the combine measured with the likes of NFL quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger, Jay Cutler, Philip Rivers and Matt Leinart.

He has the potential to become a franchise quarterback and lead his team to the promised land. The Jets needed a quarterback to solidify their offense, but made no effort in acquiring one.

In the eyes of many, this "non" pick could go down as another bust in a long line of failed Jets draft picks.

One of the most questionable selections of the 1983 NFL Draft was the Jets first round selection of UC Davis quarterback Ken O'Brien instead of a Pittsburgh quarterback named Dan Marino, even though he was ranked higher on draft boards.

One of the reasons for selecting O'Brien was that Marino missed most of his senior year due to injury and that O'Brien had more upside. As we know, Marino ended up being a Hall of Fame QB and O'Brien ended up leading the Jets to only one playoff appearance.

1985 was also huge miscalculation by Jets scouts, who selected wide receiver Al Toon instead of Jerry Rice, out of Mississippi State, who was selected by the 49ers. While Al Toon was a three time Pro-Bowler, he was not the Hall of Famer Jerry Rice turned out to be.

Imagine a tandem of Dan Marino and Jerry Rice! Who knows how many Super Bowls they could have won together.

The 1990 NFL Draft featured infamous Jets selection running back Blair Thomas, who is widely considered another in a long line of Jets draft disappointments. Thomas rushed for only 2,000 yards and five TDs in his four seasons with New York.

Emmitt Smith was the second running back selected. What a costly blunder!

The trend of poor drafting continued four years later, in 1995. The chants of Jets fans at Madison Square Garden chanting, "WE WANT SAPP, WE WANT SAPP, WE WANT SAPP!!!" is still deafening.

The player they are referring to was a cant-miss prospect by the name of future All-Pro Warren Sapp. You can still hear the familiar moans of "oh no", when the Jets selected tight end Kyle Brady.

The bluderful draft selections continued into the 21st Century in 2002 and 2003, when the Jets selected Bryan Thomas and Dwayne Robertson, respectively. The Jets are still paying for that mistake, to this day.

Poor scouting and drafting is the primary reason for the New York Jets being unable to reach the Super Bowl, since the days of Joe Namath and Super Bowl III.

The Jets should take a page out of their crosstown rival's playbook, the New York Giants, and draft players who are ready to make an immediate impact on an NFL Team. For example in 2004, Gibril Wilson was a fourth round selection and in 2007, tight end Kevin Boss and running back Ahmad Bradshaw were fifth and seventh round picks.

The NFL Draft is a way for a team to build a Super Bowl champion, a way the Jets have been neglecting. If the team doesn't reverse this trend, it could be another 40 years before New York City could crown an AFC Champion.