Oh, to be a New York Jets fan on Draft Day. The ecstasy, the agony. And oh, has there been agony.
And with the NFL Draft's home stationed right in the heart of New York at Radio City Music Hall, the Jets Faithful are always out in full force, letting their feelings be known.
This year might be no different considering the history of the New York Jets at the NFL Draft. So let's take a look back at the top five draft busts in team history. But before we do that, let's give a nod to the (un)honorable mentions:
LB Bob Crable (1982, Round 1, 23 overall) - Two-time All-American at Notre Dame who played six non-descript seasons with the Jets. Andre Tippett, chosen 18 picks later by rival New England, went on to have a Hall of Fame career.
OT Mike Haight (1986, Round 1, 22 overall) - All-Big Ten selection his junior and senior seasons at the University of Iowa. Haight played seven years for the Jets, but only more than 10 games in three of those seasons.
WR Al Toon (1985, Round 1, 10 overall) and QB Ken O'Brien (1983, Round 1, 24 overall) - Toon, a Jets Ring of Honor recipient, and O'Brien, second all-time on the team's passing charts, were good pros. But six picks after the Jets selected Toon, the San Francisco 49ers selected Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice. Three picks after O'Brien in the 1983 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins took Dan Marino.
TE Johnny Mitchell (1992, Round 1, 15 overall) - A true physical specimen coming out of the University of Nebraska, his mouth was bigger than his game. In four seasons, he grabbed 158 catches for 2,086 yards and 16 TDs. If the Jets wanted someone to throw the ball to, they could've had either wide receiver Carl Pickens or Jimmy Smith.
Now, on to the real disappointments:5. Most Any Jets Second-Round Pick. 1988-2006.
The Names: CB Terry Williams, WR Reggie Rembert, QB Browning Nagle, LB Kurt Barber, DE Coleman Rudolph, WR Ryan Yarborough, WR Alex Van Dyke, DT Rick Terry, DE Dorian Boose, RB LaMont Jordan, LB Victor Hobson, K Mike Nugent, QB Kellen Clemens
The Skinny: You don't expect second rounders to be All-Pros, but you do expect them to have productive careers. No one on that list fit that bill.
The Agony: The list of could've-been Jets reads like a Pro Bowl roster from the era - running backs Thurman Thomas, Ricky Watters, Tiki Barber, Frank Gore, and Maurice Jones-Drew; offensive linemen Dermontti Dawson, Keith Sims, Larry Allen and Marcus McNeill; wide receivers Terrell Owens, Anquan Boldin, Vincent Jackson and Greg Jennings; and defensive linemen Michael Strahan, Jason Taylor, Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck.
T-4. DT Dewayne Robertson. 2003, Round 1, 4 overall; DE Vernon Gholston. 2008, Round 1, 6 overall.The Stats: Combined eight seasons, 122 games, 216 tackles, 14.5 sacks
The Skinny: Both were beasts coming out of college. Both were colossal busts. The Jets traded two first round picks to move up and select Robertson, who was compared to then-All-Pro Warren Sapp (more on him in a minute). Gholston, who had one stellar college season and was the darling of the NFL Scouting Combine in 2008, never recorded a single sack in his professional career.
The Agony: Two first-round draft picks gone, numbers 13 and 22, for Robertson, plus losing out on future Pro Bowlers Terrence Newman (no. 5 to Dallas), Kevin Williams (no. 9 to Minnesota), Terrell Suggs (no. 10 to Baltimore) and Troy Polamalu (no. 16 to Pittsburgh). In Gholston's case, New England snared linebacker Jerod Mayo four picks later (10 overall), while Denver got offensive tackle Ryan Clady (12 overall).
3. WR Johnny Lam Jones. 1980, Round 1, 2 overallThe Stats: Five seasons, 61 games, 138 receptions, 13 TDs
The Skinny: The Jets traded two first round picks to the San Francisco 49ers for the chance to draft the speedy Jones out of the University of Texas. While he could outrun anyone on the field, he couldn't hold onto the ball if his life depended on it. And as a wide receiver, it did.
The Agony: The very next pick belonged to the Cincinnati Bengals, who went and chose future Hall of Fame offensive tackle Anthony Munoz. Even if the Jets didn't make the trade and stayed put at nos. 13 and 20, they could've grabbed another wide receiver - future Hall of Famer Art Monk, who went number 18 overall to the Washington Redskins.
2. TE Kyle Brady. 1995, Round 1, 9 overall.The Stats: Four seasons, 63 games, 93 receptions, 949 yards, 10 TDs
The Skinny: Just three years after spending a first round pick on TE Johnny Mitchell, the Jets went ahead and picked Brady, an All-American tight end from Penn State. Because you can never have too many first round tight ends.
The Agony: Jets fans in Radio City Music Hall were jumping up and down as they all expected the team to select decorated defensive lineman Warren Sapp out of the University of Miami. With Sapp in attendance, fans began chanting, "We Want Sapp." Commissioner Paul Tagliabue then read Brady's name, and the entire building collapsed in on itself. Or so Jets fans in attendance wished. Oh yeah: That Sapp fellow is a Hall of Famer today.
1. RB Blair Thomas. 1990, Round 1, 2 overall.The Stats: Four seasons, 51 games, 2,009 yards rushing, 473 yards receiving, 7 TDs
The Skinny: Thomas was the pride of Penn State, leaving the school as one of its all-time greats. An All-American in 1989 who was second on the school's all-time rushing list, Thomas actually had semi-productive seasons as a part-time starter his first two seasons. A knee injury in 1992 lingered throughout his career, and he was never the same again.
The Agony: The third pick in that draft was future Hall of Fame defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy. The fifth pick, the late, great Junior Seau. And of course, with the 17th pick, the Dallas Cowboys selected arguably the greatest running back of all time, Hall of Famer Emmit Smith. Ouch, Jets fans.
Have any others I missed? Disagree with my ranks? Let me know in the comments below, or take the conversation to Twitter using the hashtag #YahooDraftBusts_Jets.
James Moffat has 10-plus years of journalism expertise, writing for daily print and online publications.
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