A lot of times, we talk about a player defining a decade for a team. Joe Montana was the 1980′s for the 49ers, for example. You had three guys define the Cowboys of the 90′s, Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman, and Michael Irvin. However, the guy pictured right actually defined part of two decades for the Jets. Curtis Martin came to New York in 1998, and all he did was run for over 1,000 yards each season until he suffered the injury that ended his career.
Basically, Curtis Martin came in here as the consummate professional, and became the face of the team until he could no longer play. But, he does not make this list, as he was not drafted by the team. As a restricted free agent, Curtis made our countdown of top free agent signings. But here, we are talking about the top 10 draft picks from the 1990′s. Here is our list so far:
Now, for the number four choice. For this one, we go back to 1993 again, the draft that yielded Richie Anderson. This choice, is the guy that Richie Anderson began his career blocking for. The player was chosen in the fifth round by the Jets, with the 120th pick overall. Who is it?
People are not going to agree with this one, and I can understand. After all, he only started for 2.5 seasons with the team, and was gone by the time took the next step in 2008. However, I stand by the choice, and will tell you why.
The numbers don’t lie, take a look at his career statistics:
|1997||New York Jets||16||15||300||1,086||3.6||43T||7||27||106||3.9||23||0||4||2|
|1996||New York Jets||16||16||301||1,249||4.1||78||6||17||81||4.8||30||1||6||4|
|1995||New York Jets||15||9||192||795||4.1||30||1||71||465||6.5||43||2||2||1|
|1994||New York Jets||10||1||33||160||4.8||19||0||7||76||10.9||20||0||1||0|
|1993||New York Jets||16||0||34||157||4.6||37T||1||5||12||2.4||8||0||4||1|
As you take a look at this body of work, you see, it is not dripping with production. Murrell was a GOOD running back, but it’s hard to call him a GREAT running back. The Jets finally made their way to the playoffs after they said goodbye to Murrell. But there is only one Curtis Martin, and not being Curtis Martin doesn’t prevent him from this list.
He is included because of his production in the lean years, or the Kotite years. Take a look at his production in 1995-1996, when the Jets posted a whopping 4 wins. He ran for over 4 yards per carry both years, and posted 1200 yards and 6 TDs the year that the team went 1-15.
There is all the proof that you need that Murrell was a diamond in the rough. He was no Curtis, but he was no slouch either, and is deserving of this spot on the countdown.