All-Time Lists

NY Jets: 30 greatest draft picks in team history

Nov 29, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) celebrates his sack of Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17)(not shown) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 29, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) celebrates his sack of Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17)(not shown) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
facebooktwitterreddit

Nov 29, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) celebrates his sack of Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17)(not shown) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The NY Jets have given their fans plenty of reasons to boo on draft day. But here are 30 instances where the Jets made the most with their time on the clock.

Hope springs eternal in the NFL. Every year, fans of struggling teams take solace in the upcoming draft. After all, a few great draft picks can transform even the most moribund franchises into instant contenders. Unless you’re a Jets fan.

Fans of the green and white are renowned for the chorus of boos they rain down upon the podium as each Jets pick is announced. From passing on Dan Marino to drafting a litany of recent busts (ie. Vernon Gholston, Stephen Hill, Quinton Coples, Geno Smith), the team has certainly given its fan base reasons to be disgruntled.

However, every franchise has its shining moments. All the underwhelming draft picks and busts aside, the Jets have drafted some remarkable players.

The following list does not simply focus on the 30 greatest Jets players. Instead, this compilation utilizes a variety of criteria (players drafted by Jets, values in light of draft position, contributions, career longevity with Jets, etc.) to determine the highlights of some of the best draft picks in team history.

Without further ado, here are the 30 greatest draft picks made by the Jets.

Next: 30. Jeremy Kerley

Nov 29, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA;New York Jets wide receiver Jeremy Kerley (11) avoiding getting tackled by Miami Dolphins free safety Walt Aikens (35) In the first half at MetLife Stadium.The Jets defeated the Dolphins 38-20. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

30. Jeremy Kerley (WR) – Drafted 153rd overall in 2011 

Current Jets wide receiver Jeremy Kerley may not be remembered by many football fans twenty years from now. He will certainly never find himself on a list of greatest Jets players.

That being said, the undersized pass catcher out of TCU was an absolute steal for the Jets in the 5th round of the 2011 draft.

Kerley has been a steady, if unspectacular, contributor for the Jets. Currently working his way through his fifth NFL season, Kerley has already posted three seasons of 400+ receiving yards. In 2012, when the Jets were dangerously thin at the position, Kerley stepped up and put together a particularly impressive season (over 1,000 all-purpose yards).

Although his role as a receiver has diminished in 2015, Kerley remains a valuable contributor for the Jets on special teams (43 punt returns through 11 games).

Next: 29. Dennis Byrd

29. Dennis Byrd (DT-DE) – Drafted 42nd overall in 1989

Dennis Byrd is the heart and soul of the Jets.

Selected in the second round of the 1989 draft, Byrd immediately thrived in the NFL. The defensive lineman posted seven sacks during his rookie season.

Unfortunately, Byrd was never able to reach his full potential as a player. In a 1992 game against the Chiefs, Byrd suffered a severe spinal cord injury. His football career came to an abrupt end, being replaced by surgery and extensive rehab.

Long after his playing days ended, Byrd remains an inspiration to Jets coaches, players and fans. As the Jets prepared to play the heavily favored Patriots in the 2010 AFC divisional playoffs, Byrd offered his tattered jersey and words of encouragement to the team. As the Jets walked off the field victorious, many players credited Byrd.

Byrd is so much more than his 28 career sacks. He is more than a tragic story, a career destroyed by injury. Byrd is, and forever will be, a member of the Jets family.

Next: 28. David Harris

Dec 19, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; New York Jets inside linebacker David Harris (52) tackles Dallas Cowboys running back Darren McFadden (20) during the game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

28. David Harris (LB) – Drafted 47th overall in 2007

Ever since Rex Ryan took New York by storm, the Jets have been characterized by a punishing defense. Running the ball and stopping the run formed a quick formula for success.

Enter linebacker David Harris. The second round pick out of Michigan has been a constant piece in the Jets’ defense for years. Over a career spanning almost nine full seasons, he has started in all but twelve games.

Although his primary forte is stopping the run, Harris has also displayed an ability to force turnovers (10 career forced fumbles) and to rush the passer (32.5 career sacks). The Jets continue to benefit from having such a durable, versatile and consistent defensive talent on their roster.

Next: 27. Muhammad Wilkerson

Oct 4, 2015; London, United Kingdom; New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) sacks Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) in Game 12 of the NFL International Series at Wembley Stadium.The Jets defeated the Dolphins 27-14. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

27. Muhammad Wilkerson (DT-DE) – Drafted 30th overall in 2011

Defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson has developed into the most prolific Jets’ pass rusher in recent memory.

Wilkerson’s NFL career got off to a slow start. Despite starting in 31 of his first 32 games, he only recorded eight sacks in that span.

However, Wilkerson is anything but a bust. After taking a couple seasons to further refine his skills, he has developed into a terror for opposing quarterbacks. He has already posted multiple seasons with double digit sacks.

In 2015, Wilkerson has been especially prolific. With two games left to play, he has already shattered his previous single season sack record.

Because he is a pending free agent, the Jets will have to open up the checkbook if they wish to retain the superstar’s services beyond this season.

Next: 26. Dan Alexander

Dec 14, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Jets logo prior to the game against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

26. Dan Alexander (G) – Drafted 200th overall in 1977

Not every great draft pick is used on a superstar. Barring dramatic exceptions (ie. Patriots drafting Tom Brady in the 6th round), the goal of drafting in the later rounds is to find serviceable starting-caliber players.

Case in point, the Jets decision to draft offensive lineman Dan Alexander in 1977. Alexander never made a Pro Bowl. He will never be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But he did play with the Jets for 13 years, starting in over 180 games along the way.

There were 199 players selected before Alexander; not many of them had NFL careers that lasted over a decade.

Next: 25. Rich Caster

25. Rich Caster (TE) – Drafted 46th overall in 1970

Following the Jets’ second consecutive playoff appearance in 1969, the franchise endured over a decade of futility. The Jets would not post a winning record again until 1981.

One of the few bright spots of the Jets in the 1970’s was Rich Caster. The tight end from Jackson State developed into one of the most successful receiving threats in team history. He spent nine seasons with the Jets, making three Pro Bowl appearances along the way.

Caster retired with 4,434 receiving yards as a Jet, tenth most in franchise history.

Next: 24. Dave Herman

Oct 28, 2015; London, United Kingdom; General view of NFL Nike Shield logo at Niketown London in advance of the NFL International Series game between the Detroit Lions and the Kansas City Chiefs. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

24. Dave Herman (G) – Drafted 211th overall in 1963

Prior to the AFL-NFL merger agreement in 1966, the two leagues would frequently draft and bid over the same players.

Although offensive lineman Dave Herman was drafted over 100 spots later in the AFL draft, he still choose the AFL’s Jets over the NFL’s Giants.

One can’t argue with the results. Herman thrived in the league, enjoying a decade long career. Along the way, the talented guard made two Pro Bowl appearances and played in over 100 games.

Next: 23. Jerricho Cotchery

Dec 6, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; Carolina Panthers wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery (82) catches the ball in the end zone in front of New Orleans Saints defensive back Chris Owens (30) in the fourth quarter at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Panthers won 41-38. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

23. Jerricho Cotchery (WR) – Drafted 108th overall in 2004

Prior to the Jets’ potent wide receiving combination of Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall this season, the team had frequently struggled to field a competent passing attack in recent years.

Before Marshall’s monster production this year, the Jets hadn’t produced a 1,000 receiving yard season by a wide receiver since 2007.

Although he lacked the name recognition of Laveranues Coles, Braylon Edwards, or Santonio Holmes, Jerricho Cotchery accomplished a feat in the green and white that none of the others could.

In addition to Cotchery’s impressive 2007 season (1,130 receiving yards), he also posted three other seasons with at least 800 receiving yards. For a fourth-round pick out of North Carolina State, that’s pretty impressive.

Next: 22. John Abraham

January 26, 2014; Honolulu, HI, USA; Team Sanders receiver DeSean Jackson of the Philadelphia Eagles (10) is defended by Team Rice linebacker John Abraham of the Arizona Cardinals (55) in the fourth quarter during the 2014 Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium. Team Rice defeated Team Sanders 22-21. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

22. John Abraham (DE) – Drafted 13th overall in 2000

Approaching the end of the 1999 season, the Jets and their fans were eager for the draft. The team had just come off of a disappointing 8-8 season, but had four picks in the first round.

The Jets had a successful draft, finding multiple starters (Chad Pennington, Shaun Ellis and Laveranues Coles). Chief among them was defensive end John Abraham.

Abraham immediately excelled as a Jet, posting 13 sacks and being named to a Pro Bowl during his first season as a starter (2001). During his relatively short tenure in New York (2000-2005), he put together an impressive resume of 53.5 sacks, three seasons of double digit sacks, and three Pro Bowl appearances.

Next: 21. Keyshawn Johnson

Dec 14, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Jets logo prior to the game against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

21. Keyshawn Johnson (WR) – Drafted 1st overall in 1996

In 1996, the Jets had what every NFL team desires: the first overall pick in the draft.

Fortunately for the Jets and their fans, the pick wasn’t wasted. Although he could be a diva, wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson was an immensely talented play maker and instant difference maker in New York. During his four season stint with the Jets, he made two Pro Bowls and amassed 4,108 receiving yards and 32 touchdowns.

Even after the Jets were forced to part with Johnson (disputes with coaches and management), they received an impressive haul from the Buccaneers for his services (two first-round picks).

Next: 20. Gerry Philbin

20. Gerry Philbin (DE) – Drafted 19th overall in 1964 

In 1964, the fledgling AFL consisted of only eight teams. So when the Jets selected a defensive end named Gerry Philbin with the draft’s 19th overall pick, it actually only cost them a third rounder.

For their mid-round draft pick, the Jets found an immensely talented player who terrorized opposing quarterbacks for a decade. His sack totals are up for debate (sacks were not officially measured until 1982) but what is clear is that Philbin played in over 100 games and made two Pro Bowls as a Jet.

Philbin’s finest moments came in 1968, when he posted a monster season and helped carry the Jets to their only Super Bowl title.

Next: 19. Laveranues Coles

19. Laveranues Coles (WR) – Drafted 78th overall in 2000

Although the Jets passed up on the opportunity to select a future Hall of Fame quarterback from Michigan in 2000, they did find some talent late in the draft.

In the third round, the Jets selected wide receiver Laveranues Coles out of Florida State.

Coles was seldom among the best receivers in the league (only making one Pro Bowl team throughout his career), but he was a consistently productive player in New York. As a Jet, he posted five seasons with at least 800 receiving yards.

Next: 18. Freeman McNeil

18. Freeman McNeil (RB) – Drafted 3rd overall in 1981

The Jets, coming off a miserable 4-12 season, needed to find a difference maker with their third overall pick in the 1981 draft.

They selected UCLA running back Freeman McNeil.

McNeil made an instant splash in New York. He posted over 600 rushing yards his rookie season and helped the Jets to break an 11 year playoff drought.

Upon his retirement, McNeil finished with 8,074 rushing yards and 38 rushing touchdowns (2nd and 4th most in team history).

Next: 17. John Elliot

Nov 9, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; A NFL football with the Armed Services logo during the NFL game between the New York Jets and the Pittsburgh Steelers at MetLife Stadium. The Jets defeated the Steelers 20-13. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

17. John Elliot (DT, DE) – Drafted 171st overall in 1967

Football fans who can remember the Jets upset victory in Super Bowl III undoubtedly also recall Joe Namath. A few of the more devout football historians may even be able to talk about Don Maynard, George Sauer or Matt Snell.

However, one would be hard pressed to find a Jets fan who is familiar with John Elliot.

In spite of his anonymity, Elliot paired with Gerry Philbin to form a fierce defensive front for the 1968 Super Bowl champions. Over a highly successful career, Elliot also played seven seasons, appeared in over 80 games and made three Pro Bowls.

Next: 16. Matt Snell

16. Matt Snell (RB) – Drafted 3rd overall in 1964

The 1964 AFL draft was loaded with talent. Three of the top ten players selected would go on to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Unfortunately for the AFL teams that drafted those Hall of Fame players, Bob Brown, Carl Eller and Charley Taylor all chose to join the NFL.

While the Jets did not draft a Hall of Famer in the first round of the 1964 draft, at least their selection (Matt Snell) decided to play for the AFL team that drafted him.

What’s more, Snell had a hugely successful career. He finished with 4,285 rushing yards, fourth most in franchise history.

Next: 15. Emerson Boozer

15. Emerson Boozer (RB) – Drafted 46th overall in 1966

After selecting Matt Snell in 1964, the Jets continued their trend of drafting star running backs a couple years later.

With their 1966 6th round pick, the Jets selected Collegiate Hall of Famer Emerson Boozer.

The power back played in the league for a decade, and quickly developed into a touchdown machine for the Jets. Boozer retired with 52 career rushing touchdowns. Among Jets running backs, only the legendary Curtis Martin has more.

Next: 14. Al Toon

14. Al Toon (WR) – Drafted 10th overall in 1985

Generally, a top ten draft pick who is out of the league before his 30th birthday would be considered a bust.

Al Toon is an exception to the rule. Although his NFL career was relatively short (8 years), he was a prolific wide receiving threat. Toon made three Pro Bowl rosters and posted four seasons of 900+ receiving yards.

If his career was not shortened by frequent injuries (concussions), Toon may have been remembered as the greatest wide receiver in franchise history.

Next: 13. Aaron Glenn

October 4, 2015; Santa Clara, CA, USA; General view of the Breast Cancer Awareness logo on the football during the third quarter between the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers at Levi

13. Aaron Glenn (CB) – Drafted 12th overall in 1994

Long before the days of Revis Island, the Jets found another talented cornerback in the first round of an NFL draft.

Drafted 12th overall out of Texas A&M, Aaron Glenn played a pivotal role in the Jets’ defensive secondary for eight seasons. Along the way, he made two Pro Bowls in New York and helped guide the team to a 1998 AFC Championship game appearance (6 interceptions in 1998).

In addition to his prowess on defense, Glenn was a valuable special teams player. He racked up 2,578 kick return yards, which ranks 5th most among all-time Jets players.

Next: 12. Mo Lewis

12. Mo Lewis (LB) – Drafted 63rd overall in 1991

Fair or not, Jets fans will always wince a little whenever anyone mentions “Mo Lewis.”

The fierce linebacker is infamous for the overwhelming hit he inflicted on Patriots’ quarterback Drew Bledsoe in 2001. Bledsoe left the game and was promptly replaced by Tom Brady. Leave it to the Patriots to have one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time just sitting on their bench.

In spite of that unpleasant memory, Lewis was a fantastic selection for the Jets. For a third-round pick, the team found a defensive star who played for 13 seasons, made three Pro Bowls and ranks in the top ten of all-time team defensive categories (4th in sacks, 2nd in tackles, 6th in fumble recoveries).

Next: 11. Wesley Walker

11. Wesley Walker (WR) – Drafted 33rd overall in 1977

Every franchise dreams of finding a player like Wesley Walker in the draft.

Although he was rarely the best player at his position, (only two Pro Bowl appearances), Walker was a beacon of consistency. The wide receiver played for 13 seasons and managed to post at least 550 receiving yards in all but three of them.

Walker finished his career with 8,306 receiving yards and 71 receiving touchdowns. Among Jets players, only Hall of Famer Don Maynard has surpassed those numbers.

Next: 10. Joe Fields

Nov 9, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; A end zone pylon with the NFL Armed Services week logo during the NFL game between the New York Jets and the Pittsburgh Steelers at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

10. Joe Fields (C) – Drafted 349th overall in 1975

The current NFL draft format consists of seven rounds and around 250-260 picks. The flashy spectacle lasts three days and is broadcast nationally.

While the draft has recently skyrocketed in popularity, the event is actually shorter than its traditionally been. Take 1975, for instance, when the draft lasted an astounding 17 rounds and 442 picks.

In the midst of hundreds of irrelevant picks from obscure colleges, the Jets found a hidden gem in the 14th round. Offensive lineman Joe Fields had a solid career in New York, making two Pro Bowls and playing in 173 games over a 13 year span.

Next: 9. Marvin Powell

Dec 14, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Jets logo prior to the game against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

9. Marvin Powell (T) – Drafted 4th overall in 1977

NFL fans eagerly await the draft each year because they want to see their teams add exciting, high-profile players. The selection of every quarterback, running back and wide receiver in the early rounds is met with cheers.

Drafting offensive linemen on the other hand, tends to be boring. Give average fans the choice between a quarterback and a tackle, and they’ll choose the gunslinger every time.

Coming off a season where the Jets endured horrific quarterback play even by their standards (7 touchdown passes and 28 interceptions), many Jets fans must have been disappointed to see their team select Marvin Powell with the fourth overall pick.

Exciting pick or not, its hard to argue with the results. As evidenced by his many accolades (three-time All-Pro, five-time Pro Bowler), Powell is undoubtedly one of the greatest offensive lineman in franchise history.

Next: 8. Randy Rasmussen

Nov 9, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; A NFL football with the Armed Services logo during the NFL game between the New York Jets and the Pittsburgh Steelers at MetLife Stadium. The Jets defeated the Steelers 20-13. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

8. Randy Rasmussen (G) – Drafted 302nd overall in 1967

Sometimes great things come in small packages. Then again, sometimes great things can even come in invisible packages.

You’d be hard pressed to find a single New Yorker who is familiar with the University of Nebraska at Kearney. The tiny Division II school has produced a small handful of NFL players, only one of which was drafted.

That player, offensive lineman Randy Rasmussen, entered the league with no fanfare or expectations. Against all odds however, he thrived in the league. Fifteen seasons and almost 200 starts later and Rasmussen is remembered as one of the best late draft finds in Jets history.

Next: 7. Darrelle Revis

Dec 19, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis (24) talks with Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) after a play in the second quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

7. Darrelle Revis (CB) – Drafted 14th overall in 2007

A litany of superstar players —Calvin Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Joe Thomas, Patrick Willis, Marshawn Lynch— came out of the first round of the 2007 draft.

Yet an argument could be made that the best player in that draft class fell to the 14th pick and the Jets. Cornerback Darrelle Revis has become the LeBron James of New York. Every bit as talented as James, Revis also left his hometown team and won a ring with a hated rival (Patriots). Fortunately for Jets fans, all it took was a change in ownership and a hefty contract offer to lure the star defensive player back to New York.

Now, back with the Jets in 2015, Revis seeks to add to his already impressive resume (six-time Pro Bowler, four-time All-Pro) and to bring a championship to New York. For providing great theater and even better play, Revis will forever be known as one of the best draft picks in team history.

Next: 6. Joe Klecko

6. Joe Klecko (DT, DE) – Drafted 144th overall in 1977

After winning the Super Bowl in 1968 and making a playoff appearance in 1969, the Jets endured a lengthy stretch of futility. From 1970-1980, the team failed to muster a single winning season.

In the 1977 draft, the franchise took dramatic steps towards improving its fate. In addition to finding two starting offensive lineman (Dan Carpenter, Marvin Powell) and a star wide receiver (Wesley Walker), the Jets found a talented defensive player at a bargain price.

Joe Klecko partnered up with Mark Gastineau, Marty Lyons and Abdul Salaam to form the devastating New York Sack Exchange. Along the way, he made four Pro Bowls and amassed 24 sacks. Considering sacks were not even an officially measured statistic until Klecko’s sixth season, his numbers are all the more impressive.

Next: 5. Nick Mangold

Nov 12, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets center Nick Mangold (74) talking to New York Jets guard James Carpenter (77) in the first half at MetLife Stadium. The Bills defeated the Jets 22-17 Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

5. Nick Mangold (C) – Drafted 29th overall in 2006

The 2006 draft held high potential for the Jets; the team had two first round picks (4th and 29th overall). Although they used their first pick wisely (D’Brickashaw Ferguson), the Jets found an absolute gem with their second one.

When he retires, center Nick Mangold will most likely be known as the greatest offensive lineman in franchise history. Over a decade long career, he has started in all but four games. He is also a six-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro.

As if his current resume is not impressive enough, Mangold is young enough (31) to still have multiple years of good football left in him.

Next: 4. John Riggins

4. John Riggins (RB) – Drafted 6th overall in 1971

This list primarily focuses on players that spent most if not all of their careers with the Jets. John Riggins is an exception to the rule and for good reason. The running back spent the majority of his career with the Redskins, but he was originally drafted by the Jets in 1971.

The Jets could never have initially understood what they found in Riggins. While he was a productive player, he failed to post 800+ rushing yards in all but one of his first four seasons. In 1975, Riggins had a breakout season for the Jets, posting over 1,000 rushing yards with eight touchdowns.

The Redskins responded, luring him away from New York with a hefty free agent contract. Riggins thrived in D.C., compiling multiple 1,000+ rushing yard seasons (4) and double digit touchdown seasons (3) on his way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. As the Jets learned the hard way, re-signing key players can be just as important as drafting them.

Next: 3. Mickey Shuler

Oct 4, 2015; London, United Kingdom; General view of NFL golden shield logo at midfield at Wembley Stadium to commemorate Super Bowl 50 before Game 12 of the NFL International Series between the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

3. Mickey Shuler (TE) – Drafted 61st overall in 1978

The Jets found a potent offensive weapon late in the 1978 draft.

Tight end Mickey Shuler enjoyed a long and productive career in New York. Over a twelve year stint with the Jets, Shuler racked up four seasons of 600+ receiving yards and made two Pro Bowl appearances.

Shuler remains the franchise leader in career receptions and receiving yards for his position. He also ranks in the top ten among all Jets players in receptions (6th), receiving yards (7th) and receiving touchdowns (T-5th).

Next: 2. Joe Namath

Feb 1, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Jets former quarterback Joe Namath walks the red carpet prior to the NFL Honors at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

2. Joe Namath (QB) – Drafted 1st overall in 1965

While it is a tremendous gift, having the first overall pick in the draft is also a significant responsibility. It’s the kind of pick that can either change the fate of a hopeless team or get coaches and general managers fired.

The Jets had such an opportunity in 1965. The team, originally founded in 1960 as the Titans, had yet to post a winning season.

Fortunately, the fate of the Jets was about to change. The organization used the first overall pick in 1965 to select Alabama quarterback Joe Namath. The future Hall of Famer was a steady presence under center and helped guide the Jets to their only championship in Super Bowl III.

Next: 1. Mark Gastineau

1. Mark Gastineau (DE)- Drafted 41st overall in 1979

Defensive end Mark Gastineau ranks right up with Darrelle Revis among greatest all-time defensive players for the Jets. While Revis cost the Jets a first-round pick however, the Jets somehow found Gastineau in the second round.

Gastineau was the most prolific member of the New York Sack Exchange, posting three consecutive seasons of 13+ sacks. A five-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro, he holds multiple franchise records (most single season sacks and most career sacks).

More jets: Top 30 greatest moments in Jets' history

Beyond the individual accolades, Gastineau helped the floundering Jets to regain respectability. After failing to reach the postseason a single time throughout the 1970’s, the Jets made four playoff appearances in the 1980’s.

facebooktwitterreddit