First Round Busts Throughout Jets History Mark Organization
On Saturday afternoon at Radio City Music Hall, the New York Jets will make their selection, the sixth overall, at approximately 4:00 pm. While this year's crop seems deep as far as the top picks go, it is possible that Gang Green will be left with a difficult decision, depending of course on what the teams picking ahead of them do.
A defensive end or running back? A quarterback? Trade down to acquire more picks, especially the all-important, but overlooked Day Two selections?
It is imperative that general manager Mike Tannenbaum makes the right choice, especially in the first round where an impact player can be found. Coming off a 4-12 season, the Jets had visits from 30 college players who are entering the draft for interviews.
"It's part of the process," Tannenbaum said at the team's Pre-Draft Press Conference last week. "We take players out to dinner. It's just part of the evaluation process."
Besides picking up the check, another part of that process is deciding on picking a player that is ready to contribute now or one that may need some seasoning. "We factor in those variables when we make the decision," said Tannenbaum. "At the end of the day, we want to take the best player for us. We're going to factor in his upside, his work ethic, his position. All those factors will go into the decision."
Whoever the team tabs in the first round, hopefully that player will not be remembered as a bust, which can set an organization back many years. Looking back through the past 10 years, there have been some good choices (first player chosen), as well as some others that have not panned out as well.
2007 - Darrelle Revis, CB, Pittsburgh - The Jets traded up to select Revis (above) at number 14, who ended up starting for the team and contributing all season long.
2006 - D'Brickashaw Ferguson, T, Virginia - A popular pick at the time, but Ferguson has not lived up to his billing. The jury is still out on the overall number four choice.
2005 - Mike Nugent, K, Ohio State - The Jets did not have a first round choice, and selected the diminutive placekicker 47th overall. An average kicker, at best.
2004 - Jonathan Vilma, LB, Miami - The former Pro Bowler could not adjust to head coach Eric Mangini's 3-4 defensive system and was dealt this offseason to New Orleans for draft choices. A good choice at number 12 that would have excelled in the old scheme.
2003 - DeWayne Robertson, DT, Kentucky - A disappointment, especially after the team traded up to grab him at number four. Was traded to Denver for an undisclosed draft pick the week of the '08 draft.
2002 - Bryan Thomas, DE, Alabama-Birmingham - After rejuvenating his career in '06, Thomas was re-signed and then had a lousy campaign a year ago. Switching to OLB in the 3-4 system, this may be the former 22nd pick's last season with the team if he puts out another bad effort.
2001- Santana Moss, WR, Miami - The fast, but small wideout has had a nice career for the Jets and later the Redskins, enough to justify his number 16 pick.
2000 - Shaun Ellis, DE, Tennessee - Similar to Thomas, Ellis was re-signed after performing at a high level, but came back down to earth in 2007. He was chosen 12th, the first of four first round picks the Jets had that year (John Abraham, Chad Pennngton and Anthony Becht being the other three).
1999 - Randy Thomas, G, Mississippi State - With no first round pick, the big lineman was chosen with the 57th choice overall in Round 2. He has been a starter throughout, first with the Jets and later with Washington after signing with the 'Skins as a free agent.
1998 - Dorian Boose, DE, Washington State - Another second round choice, 56th overall. Did not make an impact and disappeared without many people noticing.
So what does all of this tell us for Saturday? Nothing and everything. The pick may be lauded at the time, such as Ferguson and Robertson were. The Jets have the following players still on their roster from the above 10 drafts: Revis, Ferguson, Nugent, Thomas and Ellis. Revis is the only one who is making a difference on the field, and he has only done it for his rookie season. He needs to keep doing what he did a year ago and build on that.
There is no such thing as a sure thing or a safe pick. Seeing who has come and gone in the past decade prove that.