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New York Jets: Top 10 Draft Picks Since the Year 2000: #6

By Alan Schechter
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Nov 11, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; New York Jets tackle Vladimir Ducasse (62) stretches prior to the game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. Seattle defeated New York 28-7. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Don’t worry, ladies and gentlemen, the guy to the right is not going to be part of this countdown.

Vladimir Ducasse is a prime example of the other end of the Jets’ draft spectrum, knows as the “bust”. I am not talking about the type of bust that is received when entering the Hall of Fame. I am talking about bust in the, “we had high hopes for the player but he stinks”, that type of bust. Vladimir would go on a “worst draft pick” countdown.

So we aren’t talking about him today.

Instead, we continue our countdown of the top 10 draft picks by the team since the year 2000. So far we have gone through:

10- David Harris 09- Mark Sanchez 08- Laveranues Coles 07- Shaun Ellis

Now, for the number 6th top draft pick for the Jets since the year 2000.  He’s another one that, like Sanchez, has caused a bit of a divide between the fans.  Some loved this guy, some wanted him out.  One thing that is undeniable is this player’s performance while in a Jets’ uniform.  The number 6th choice is………….

CHAD PENNINGTON

Now you might, and understandably so, say that this is a tough choice to make, simply because of how often Chad was injured.  It certainly is a point that is well taken, I mean has any quarterback hit worse luck with injuries than Chad Pennington?  It’s not often you call a guy’s injuries “unfair”, but for Chad, you really could call it unfair, just simply because of the quality of a person he is, he didn’t deserve his career to go the way it did.

But, instead of dwelling on how he was injured fairly often, look at his performance overall, when he was healthy.  First, here are his career NFL stats:

You see?  Even just taking his career statistics from an overall perspective, it is pretty damn good.  102 TDs vs 64 INTs is the anti-Sanchez, no matter how you feel about Mark.  Chad may not have had as big of an arm as Sanchez, but Chad was always accurate.  He wouldn’t be caught throwing into triple coverage, he always would find the right guy.  There is no better evidence of that, than the fact that Chad Pennington holds the all time lead in completion percentage.

Before we move to the next page, take one thing into account.  2002, 2004, and 2006, were the three seasons with the Jets that Chad Pennington did not encounter any injury problems.  What else do those three seasons have in common?  The Jets were in the playoffs every year.  That says something about your starting quarterback.

Will talk about toughness on the next page.

Yes, Chad was injured quite a bit. But, one thing you cannot say about Chad Pennington is that he was soft. To the contrary, Chad Pennington is about as tough as they come.

Rewind to 2004 for our first example. Chad hurts his arm for the first time, in week 9 against the Bills. He misses 3 games and comes back to some inconsistent numbers, leading people to believe, and we learned as truth in the off season, that he wasn’t healthy. Yet, he came back and led this team to the playoffs.

Then, we move to the playoffs, when Chad goes 23-33 through the air for 279 yards and 2 scores. He follows that up with a performance in Pittsburgh where he went 21-33 for 182 yards, and he would have gotten to the AFC title game if Doug Briend could kick the ball straight.

And all of this, with a torn rotator cuff! How many QBs would performe well with that type of injury? Not many.

In 2005, we eventually learn that Chad was not ready to come back yet, because he was not completely healed. Yet, he was back, and reinjured the arm against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Remember that game? They lost backup QB Jay Fiedler as well, but instead of going to third string, Chad convinced Herm Edwards to put him back in the game.

How did Chad do THAT DAY? Despite the fact that he was throwing passes that would have been insulting to helicopters, he was one dropped pass away from leading the Jets to victory that day.

And THIS is the guy that Jets fans hate on?

Not this fan. He easily makes this list.

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