The 2010 NFL season is in the books and once again, for the second consecutive season, the Jets fell 60 minutes shy of the Super Bowl. Now, the dejected Gang Green nation turns its focus from a once promising season, to the first step towards a Super Bowl run in (if there's no lockout) 2011.... Draft Day.
The Jets drafting history is jaded at best. In the last decade, under the leadership of current GM Mike Tannenbaum and former GMs Terry Bradway and Bill Parcells, the Jets have put together some prosperous drafts (Ellis, Thomas, Revis, Mangold, Sanchez, Keller, Ferguson, etc.) that have contributed to the team's current success. But before then, draft day was a running joke of consistently picking the worst prospects while future Hall of Famers are shunned as being the wrong fit.
Here is a list of the Jets' 10 worst draft picks. I've limited this list to first round picks only, so you won't be seeing Browning Nagle on here.
With the 14th pick of the 1989 draft, the New York Jets select DE: Jeff Lageman.
Lageman wasn't a terrible player by any means. Although he was a bit undersized (6',6" 266 lbs) for his position, he had a decent career with his best year coming in 1991 when he recorded 10 sacks.
What makes Lageman's pick a bit of anomaly (or a bust in my opinion) is the fact that the Jets selected three other DEs (Dennis Byrd, Ron Stallworth, Marvin Washington) in the 1989 draft. Also, five picks later, the New Orleans Saints selected future Pro Bowl DE, Wayne Martin.
Other notable All Pros the Jets passed up: Steve Atwater, Andre Rison, Carnell Lake, Wesley Walls, and Daryl Johnston.
With the second pick of the 1980 draft, the New York Jets select WR: Johnny 'Lam' Jones.
Lam Jones was a great athlete, there is no disputing that. He was a world class sprinter who won a gold medal in the 1976 Summer Olympics (4 x 100 meter relay).
His skill as a sprinter pretty much made him able to burn any DB in the NFL... the unfortunate thing was he had hands of stone. In five season with the Jets, he only caught 13 TDs. Granted, many looks went to Wesley Walker which most likely diminished his numbers, but for a guy with his speed, he should have been the Jets biggest deep threat.
What makes Lam Jones join the lore of Jets' busts is the fact that 16 picks later, the Washington Redskins selected future Hall of Fame WR, Art Monk.
One can only imagine how the Jets offense could have prospered with Walker and Monk playing together.
With the eighth pick of the 1988 draft, the New York Jets select OG: Dave Cadigan.
Cadigan was an average at best lineman during one of the most dismal periods in Jets history. In Cadigan's six year tenure, the Jets managed to win a mere 38 games... the best record they could put together in that time was a couple of 8-8 seasons.
With the Jets chronic under-performance during this time, it's easy to see how Cadigan's average play would go unnoticed.. the whole team was a study in mediocrity!
What makes Cadigan join the ranks of Jets' draft busts is that 11 picks later, the Minnesota Vikings selected future Hall of Fame OG, Randall McDaniel.
Other notable Hall of Famers the Jets chose not to pick: Michael Irvin and Thurman Thomas.
With the tenth pick of the 1984 draft, the New York Jets select S: Russell Carter.
In 1984, the Jets had two first round picks. They wasted the first one on safety, Russell Carter.
Carter never played safety for the Jets as he was converted to a CB. In four season with the Jets, he compiled a meager four INTs... and all of them came in his rookie season (the only decent season he had).
Carter never lived up to any potential and the Jets parted ways with him after the 1987 season.
Notable All Pros subbed for Carter: Wilber Marshall and Kieth Millard.
With the 15th pick of the 1984 draft, the New York Jets select DE: Ron Faurot.
1984 was a banner year in Jets drafting futility. As their first of two first round picks in this draft amounted to nothing, so did their second.
Ron Faurot played exactly 20 games for the Jets before suffering a career ending knee injury. In those 20 games he manged to record 2 measly sacks.
Notable All Pros passed up: Louis Lipps, Boomer Esiason, and Sean Jones.
With the ninth pick of the 1995 draft, the New York Jets select TE: Kyle Brady.
This is one of the more memorable (and not for good reasons) draft day picks in recent Jets history.
Brady was a pretty good TE and had some decent years with the Jets, but his pick was mind boggling. With TEs Johnny Mitchell and Fred Baxter already on the roster, no one expected the Jets to waste their ninth overall pick on TE. And add in the the fact that by the time the Jets were on the clock, Warren Sapp was still available... and no one expected Sapp to still be around by the ninth pick.
While the Jets were on the clock, every Jets fan in attendance were chanting "SAPP!... SAPP!... SAPP!" Then Paul Tagliabue walked to the podium and announced the Jets selected Brady and a loud collective groan of misery was heard.
If the Jets were that hard up for a TE, they could've selected future Pro-Bowler, Ken Dilger, who was still available at the time of the Jets first pick of the second round.
Other notable All Pros passed up: Ty Law, Derrick Brooks, Curtis Martin, Antonio Freeman, and Terrell Davis.
With the sixth pick of the 2008 draft, the New York Jets select DE: Vernon Gholston
Gholston is the only blemish, thus far, reflected on Mike Tannenbaum's draft picks.
Gholston was supposed to be the outside pass rusher the Jets had been hoping for and needing. He had the speed, strength and physique for the position, and high expectations were placed on him.
Three seasons later he has failed to live up to any expectations.
Gholston seems to be unable to fit into and/or be comfortable in any of the Jets defensive schemes. He was converted to an OLB to play in the 3-4 defense and it didn't work out. Under new head coach Rex Ryan, he was switched back to his original DE position and he still seems clueless. In three seasons, he has yet to record a sack.
Notable All Pros ignored in this draft: Jared Mayo, Chris Johnson, DeSean Jackson, Ray Rice, and Jamaal Charles.
With the fourth pick of the 2003 draft, the New York Jets select DT: Dewayne Robertson.
Robertson had decent years with the Jets. He amassed 174 tackles and 14.5 sacks in five season in green and white. Not terrible numbers, but nowhere near the expected production of a fourth overall pick of the draft... a pick the Jets traded up for to specifically get Robertson.
The Jets traded Robertson to the Broncos after the 2007 season. He played one season with Denver and was released. He has since been a free agent that no one wants to sign.
Other than his under-performace, the bigger reason Roberson joins the ranks of all-tim Jets' busts is that five picks later, the Minnesota Vikings selected future Pro Bowl and All Pro DT, Kevin Williams.
Other notable All Pros the Jets missed out on: Terrell Suggs, Troy Polamalu, Dallas Clark, Larry Johnson, Nnamdi Asomugha, Anquan Boldin, Osi Umenyiora, Lance Briggs, Jason Witten, and Asante Samuel.
With the 24th pick of the 1983 draft, the New York Jets select QB: Ken O'Brien.
The 1983 draft is also know as the "Quarterback Class of 83" due to the six QBs taken in the first round. Three of those six QBs are enshrined in the Hall of Fame... O'Brien isn't one of them.
In reality, O'Brien wasn't a bad QB. He has some respectable numbers, was elected to the Pro-Bowl twice, posted a single game perfect passer rating of 158.3 twice (and the only QB to do so while passing for over 400 yards) , and he took the Jets to the playoff twice (two first round losses).
While O'Brien was more than a competent QB, the reason he goes down as a legendary Jets bust is because just three picks later, the Miami Dolphins selected future Hall of Famer (and notorious Jets killer), Dan Marino. Most everyone was sure the Jets were going to select Marino with the 24th pick, but to every Jets fan chagrin, it wasn't meant to be.
Other notable Hall of Famers (besides Marino) the Jets missed out on: Darrell Green and Richard Dent.
With the second pick of the 1990 draft, the New York Jets select RB: Blair Thomas.
I don't think there are enough bad things to say about Thomas. He was injury prone and his dismal stats say all that needs to be said. In four seasons as a Jet, he rushed for only 2009 yards and 5 lousy TDs.
Besides his awful numbers, another reason he goes down as the Jets all time worst draft bust is that 15 picks later, the Dallas Cowboys selected future Hall of Famer and NFL all-time rushing leader, Emmitt Smith.
The 1990 draft was full of talent that the Jets missed out on because of this bum (and other terrible picks in later rounds).
Other notable Hall of Famers not taken: Shannon Sharpe and John Randle.
Other notable All Pros ignored: Cortez Kennedy, Junior Seau, Richmond Webb, Eric Davis, LeRoy Butler, Larry Centers, and Brian Mitchell.