A Look Back: New York Jets 2008 Draft Class

Nov 11, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; New York Jets tight end Dustin Keller (81) catches a pass during the 2nd half against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. Seattle defeated New York 28-7. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

We are continuing our trip down memory lane this morning, and we are talking NFL draft. We recently have gone back and reviewed the 2009 draft class, and more recently, the 2010 draft class, talking about the choices that were made, and giving an overall grade.

I thought about reviewing the 2011 class, but ultimately decided against it.  It’s too early, as these guys are only heading into their third season.  After two years, guys like Mo Wilkerson are still in the prime of their development, and we don’t know how good he, or the rest of the class is going to be.

We have to give that group at least one more year before we give it a grade.  Therefore, we are going to go back to Eric Mangini’s final season, 2008, and talk a bit about that group.

The 2008 draft class is an interesting one to try and give a grade to because that year, the first two picks were, in succession, one of the worst in recent memory, and one of the better picks in recent memory.  Let’s refresh our memory here:

RD SEL # PLAYER POSITION SCHOOL
1 6 Vernon Gholston LB Ohio State
1 30 Dustin Keller TE Purdue
4 113 Dwight Lowery CB San Jose State
5 162 Erik Ainge QB Tennessee
6 171 Marcus Henry WR Kansas
7 211 Nate Garner T Arkansas

You see what I mean?  Looking at the first two picks in the first round, any Jets fan sees EXACTLY what I mean.

We don’t need to talk about Marcus Henry or Nate Garner.  Henry never made the roster outside of the pre-season, and frankly, I don’t remember the name Nate Garner.  Did he even make it TO training camp?  Does anyone remember?

Erik Ainge never came near the starting lineup, so we won’t spend time on him.  Other than being former NBA player Danny Ainge’s nephew, Erik had no real claim to fame.  Dwight Lowery paid three years for the Jets, and was a nice backup defensive back.  As predominantly a performer in nickel and dime packages, he posted 7 INTs and 32 passes defended.  A nice player that did his job while he was here.

Then we have Dustin Keller, a player that fans either loved, or are happy that is gone.  Let’s revisit his career to date:

Season Team Receiving Rushing Fumbles
G GS Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Att Yds Avg Lng TD FUM Lost
2012 New York Jets 8             5 28 317 11.3 32 2
2011 New York Jets 16 12 65 815 12.5 41 5 1 1
2010 New York Jets 16             13 55 687 12.5 41 5
2009 New York Jets 16             12 45 522 11.6 40 2 1 7 7.0 7 0 1 1
2008 New York Jets 16             6 48 535 11.1 54 3
TOTAL 241 2,876 11.9 54 17 1 7 7.0 7 0 2 2

By far, he has been the best receiver on the team of late when he has been healthy.  However, he has not reached that “elite” status to date that we all had hoped he would.  Would he have made that ascension had he not gotten hurt?  Maybe.  But we have to look in a vacuum when grading the class so we must leave that possibility out.

And finally, we have the 6th overall pick in the draft.  He was supposed to make an impact, but that would have required him to actually learn the plays.  You know who I am talking about.  Vernon Gholston.  A name that makes all Jets fans bring their lunch back up.  He brings the class way down, all by itself.

THE GRADE

Again, this one was a dilemma.  Do they get higher marks for the value of Keller and Lowery, or does the class fall all the way off the cliff, thanks to the mis-evaluation of Vernon Gholston?  My answer is that we split the difference, with a little more value on the Gholston selection because of the amount of faith put on him.  Therefore, the grade becomes a ………

D+

What do you guys think?

Topics: 2008 NFL Draft, New York Jets, NFL Draft

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  • matr dontelli iii

    when you look at some of these drafts it makes you wonder how mr. t held his job as long as he did. it also makes me really curious as to who was responsible for some of the picks (actually all of them), as in: did tanny allow the hc to make some of the picks or was he in agreement on all of them. there’s belief that rex pulled tthe trigger on some of the more recent picks – john connor for instance – while others – stephen hill – are believed to be mr. t’s picks. not to mention the maddening trend of the early 2000s where due to injuries or whatever the team sucked right out of the gate and through the whole season, then at the end they would win several meaningless games to move back in the drafting order only to give up picks to trade up to where they coulda finished if they had just continued sucking. then of course the pick woud inevitably be a bust. the frustrations of being a jets fan…

    • TheJetPress

      Hi Matr,
      The frustrations of being a Jets fan run strong and deep. Been feeling them since 1985 myself, have lost a lot of hair for this team lol.

      I have gone back and forth with that issue in my own head about who was making the picks, tannenbaum or rex. I think that Rex was ultimately influence Mike a lot, and isn’t the scout that he thinks he is. Most of Mike’s best picks were before Rex came around, ie. Darrelle, Mangold, Ferguson. I like the fact that Idzik seems to be his own man, and will make the final decision himself.

      Remember, we can’t blame the early 2000′s busts on Tanny, Bradway was still the culprit then LOL. Put the blame where it is due Matr, be nice LOL JK.

      Always good to hear from you and chat with you sir. :)

      • matr dontelli iii

        thanks alan. i didn’t mean to imply that mr. t was responsible for those picks i was just pointing out how frustrating it was to watch it go down that way. it seemed like 2 or 3 times the team sucked all year, then instead of finishing off the way they played all year they’d win a few and instead of having a top 5 pick would drop down seeveral spots and at least once or twice traded back up. different subject: did you happen to see the great article joe wrote last friday over at toj? and the disheartening responses he got?

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