All-Time Lists

NY Jets: Greatest starting roster of all-time

By Michael Pallas
Jan 14, 2016, 12:56 AM EST
Jan 29, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; General view of Super Bowl III championship ring to commemorate the New York Jets 16-7 victory over the Baltimore Colts on Jan 12, 1969 on display at the NFL Experience at the Phoenix Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sport
Jan 29, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; General view of Super Bowl III championship ring to commemorate the New York Jets 16-7 victory over the Baltimore Colts on Jan 12, 1969 on display at the NFL Experience at the Phoenix Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sport
facebooktwitterreddit

Jan 29, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; General view of Super Bowl III championship ring to commemorate the New York Jets 16-7 victory over the Baltimore Colts on Jan 12, 1969 on display at the NFL Experience at the Phoenix Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sport

The NY Jets have some good history and some bad.  Everything considered, some great players have emerged from wearing the green and white.

The NFL has its fair share of superstars that have graced the game of professional football.  Whether you believe the team sold their soul to the devil for their first and only Super Bowl appearance, they won thanks to some of their all-time greats that brought a championship home.

The Jets have had some great NFL players who have donned green (and in some cases blue and yellow) and white for the NY Jets/Titans.  Here’s who I would start at each position and who would make the absolute final and best starting roster for game-day.

Next: Quarterback

Quarterback: Vinny Testaverde

Yes, Joe Namath did win the Super Bowl, but in today’s game, you can’t turn the ball over.  Namath had 45 more interceptions than touchdowns as a Jet (170-215 TD-INT), and Testaverde is one of only two quarterbacks in the history of the Jets with 60 career starts and a winning percentage above .500.

Testaverde is also one of only six quarterbacks in franchise history to amass 10,000+ yards.  He also added 77 touchdowns, which is also fifth.

Testaverde played in one Pro Bowl.  He also led the team to one of their best records at 12-4 plus their third AFC Championship Game appearance.

Next: Running back

Running Back: Curtis Martin

This was a no brainer.  Curtis Martin is clearly the best running back the team has ever had.

He is the only running back in team history to break the 10,000+ yard mark.  He also did so while rushing for 1,000 yards in his first seven seasons with the Jets.

He was also a good receiver out of the backfield.  He added 2,439 yards and five touchdowns through the air.

Next: Fullback

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

Fullback: Richie Anderson

I can’t leave Martin’s primary lead blocker out of the starting lineup.  They were quite the pair.

Not only was he a great lead blocker for Martin, but he was a great threat in the passing game as well.  He had 300 career receptions out of the backfield.

He added four touchdowns and 4.0 yards per carry out of the backfield.  In 2000, he went to his only Pro Bowl.

Next: Wide Receiver No. 1

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
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

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

Wide Receiver: Keyshawn Johnson

Just give him the damn ball.  While he doesn’t hold any franchise records, in today’s NFL you need a threat like Johnson.  He could run by people and give you a great red zone target on the outside.

His numbers as a Jet aren’t eye-popping, because he only played four seasons with the team, but they were a great four years, nonetheless.  He averaged 13.5 yards per catch and had 31 touchdowns.

Two of his three Pro Bowl appearances were with the Jets.  In doing so, he helped lead the team to their best record under Bill Parcells and the AFC Championship Game.

Next: Left Tackle

Left Tackle: Jumbo Elliot

During his days with the Jets, many fans that weren’t fans would come up with acronyms for the J! E! T! S! chant.  One of those was, Jumbo Elliot’s Team Sucks.

That’s high praise for an offensive lineman, to be recognized for his accomplishments by opposing fans.  He also caught the game-tying touchdown in the Monday Night Miracle against the Miami Dolphins.

You need stability to protect the blindside of your quarterback.  No one did it better for the Jets than Elliot.

Next: Left Guard

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

Left Guard: Kerry Jenkins

Jenkins was one of the primary interior lineman during the Jets’ Parcells/Martin run.  It’s hard to break up a good thing, especially when a unit such as that offensive line unit produced so well.

At the time, that unit was the best offensive line in football.  Jenkins was one of their anchors at left guard and was truly one of the best at it since he enabled Martin to make incredible plays thanks to the blocking and gaps being made available.

Next: Center

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

Center: Kevin Mawae

There’s no way I would leave Mawae out of this lineup.  He was the center of the Jets for seven seasons and the anchor of the best unit in team history.

No doubt about it, in his seven years with the Jets, Mawae was the best center in football.

He was a six-time Pro Bowler and two-time first team all-pro.  He’s also, in my estimations, a future member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Next: Right Guard

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
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

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

Right Guard: Brandon Moore

Martin’s best season with the Jets (statistically) came with this guy as he was the starting right tackle on that side of the line.  Moore played eight seasons with the Jets and had two trips to the Pro Bowl.

In 2004, Martin had a career high in carries and rushing yards.  He had 371 carries for 1,697 yards (4.6 yards per carry) and he added 12 touchdowns.

All three were single season records for the franchise.  The touchdown record has subsequently been broken in two consecutive seasons by Thomas Jones.

Next: Right Tackle

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

Right Tackle: Kareem McKenzie

McKenzie played in Martin’s final two seasons and the next two transition seasons.  Martin’s best season came with McKenzie at right tackle and Chad Pennington‘s two best seasons came with him there.

Kareem McKenzie was alongside Brandon Moore during the 2014 season.  Pennington’s best season as a Jet came in the same season and two seasons later in 2006.  Again, having such a great right tackle on an offensive line produces incredible results in the running game.

In 2004, Pennington was 8-5 as a starter, completed 65.4% of his passes and threw for 16 touchdowns.  In 2006, Pennington was 10-6, had 3,352 yards and 17 touchdowns as the Jets won the AFC East.  Again, McKenzie was an instrumental part in all of Pennington’s stats because of how well he protected him.

Next: Tight End

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
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

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

Tight End: Anthony Becht

It’s very difficult to judge the tight end, because tight ends were early on generally used as glorified offensive linemen who occasionally caught passes.

However, Becht put the whole package together.  Even though his receptions were limited due to the Jets’ role for the fullback position, he was an excellent pass catcher and he was a great blocker for Martin.

Becht only had 8.8 yards per catch.  With that being said, his 17 touchdowns show that he was a viable red zone target when it mattered most.

Next: Wide Receiver No. 2

Wide Receiver: Don Maynard

Don Maynard was the first player signed by the Jets (then known as the Titans).  Maynard, along with teammate Art Powell, were the wide receiver duo to each post 1,000+ receiving yards in the same season.

Maynard had five seasons of at least 1,000+ yards.  He added at least 10 touchdowns to three of those seasons.

He had four Pro Bowl appearances and one all-pro season.  The Pro Football Hall of Famer still holds the franchise record for career receptions, yards and touchdowns.

Next: Defensive End

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
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

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

Defensive End: John Abraham

It’s very difficult to keep anyone of the famed “New York Sack Exchange” off this list, but Abraham was a defensive captain early in his career.  In his six seasons with the Jets, he was a Pro Bowler three times and an All-Pro once.

He played six seasons with the Jets and boy, were they very productive.

As a member of the Jets, he had 53.5 sacks which places him third all-time.  He also added five fumble recoveries (1 touchdown) and six pass deflections for good measure.

Next: Defensive Tackles

Defensive Tackle: Joe Klecko

Klecko primarily played defensive end.  However for his final five seasons with the Jets, he played defensive tackle.

He was part of the legendary “New York Sack Exchange” as his 24 career sacks still place him 13th in franchise history.

He was a four-time pro bowler and two-time all-pro.

Defensive Tackle: Marty Lyons

Lyons didn’t garner any individual awards and/or accolades.  He was the third member of the legendary NYSE, and he helped lead the Jets to the NFL Playoffs four times.

The NFL didn’t start officially recording sacks until Lyons’s fifth season.  With that said, his 29 sacks still place him 11th all-time.

Next: Defensive End

Defensive End: Mark Gastineau

I can’t leave the all-time sack leader off this team.  His 74 career sacks led the NYSE.  He also earned five trips to Honolulu and was a First Team All-Pro three times.

Sacks were not an official stat until 1982 and that was just his fourth season.  His 74 career sacks are still the career mark in franchise history.

Without a doubt, he is the best defensive lineman in team history.

Next: Linebackers

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
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

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

Outside Linebacker: Larry Grantham

Grantham is one of the original member of the Titans.  He is one of twenty players to play his entire career in the American Football League and one of only seven to do so in one city.

He is still the franchise record holder for interceptions by a linebacker (24).  He has five trips to the Pro Bowl and made the All-Pro team five times.

He epitomized what it meant to be a Jet.  He was one of only seven players to return an interception and a fumble for a touchdown.

Middle Linebacker: David Harris

The middle linebacker position is hard to quantify sometimes. It’s often the “quarterback of the defense.”  He’s a jack-of-all-trades.  He’s asked to stop the run, pass cover and rush the passer.

With all that said, Harris will have to start for my team.  Harris has the most time with the team at at the position and while he doesn’t have individual accolades (MVP, All-Pro, Pro Bowl, etc.), he’s done it all for this team.

More from The Jet Press

He has six interceptions, 10 forced fumbles and 32.5 sacks (10th all-time).  He has also been the linchpin of this defense.

In his six playoff games, he has a forced fumble, an interception and two sacks.  His consummate professionalism has set the tone for the Jets’ defense.

Outside Linebacker: Mo Lewis

In his time, Lewis manned the middle and outside of the Jets’ defense.  He was a three-time Pro Bowler and a one-time All-Pro.

His 14 interceptions are sixth in franchise history for the linebacker position.  His 52.5 sacks are fourth all-time.

He added 1,006 tackles and 221 assisted tackles.  He also was one of seven players to score a touchdown on a fumble recovery and an interception.

Next: Cornerback No. 1

ny jets
ny jets

Dec 13, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets corner back Darrelle Revis (24) warms up before a game against the Tennessee Titans at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Cornerback: Darrelle Revis

How could one not start a man who has his own island?  Revis is seventh all-time in interceptions with 23 while covering the number one receiver one-on-one most of the time.

Even though he has clearly lost a step, he is still elite and still covers the top receivers of opponents with ease and precision.

He has added 10 fumble recoveries which is ninth all-time for defensive players.  His three career touchdowns are also tied for fifth in history.

Next: Free Safety

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

Free Safety: Kerry Rhodes

No safety that played for more than two seasons with the team has ever gone to the Pro Bowl or received first team All-Pro honors.  With that being said, Rhodes’s impact was definitely felt by the team during their roller coaster run.

He had nine sacks, 15 interceptions, six forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries (with one TD).  His 15 interceptions are tied for 18th in franchise history.

His nine sacks are first all-time among defensive backs.  He is also one of 31 players to return a fumble for a touchdown.

Next: Strong Safety

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

Strong Safety: Victor Green

Green’s 24 interceptions are tied for fourth all-time.  He also returned two of those for scores.

He is also the only Jet to be in the top ten in both forced fumbles (7/T-10th) and fumble recoveries (13/7th).  He also added seven sacks for good measure, second all-time for DBs.

His two interception returns for touchdowns are tied for seventh all-time.  His 529 interception yards are third all-time.  Talk about an incredible safety that made sure quarterbacks thought twice before looking his way.

Next: Cornerback No. 2

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
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

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

Cornerback: Aaron Glenn

Glenn was a good defensive back for this team.  He made three Pro Bowls and his 24 interceptions are tied for third all-time in franchise history.

He scored three touichdowns on interceptions which places him tied for fifth.  Glenn was also the first cornerback in team history to make the Pro Bowl twice.

He is unquestionably one of the best corners in franchise history.

Next: Special Teams

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
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

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

Kicker: Pat Leahy

Leahy is the Jets’ leader in almost all major kicking stats and the only player to earn 1st team All-Pro honors as a kicker for the team.  His 250 games, 304 field goals made, 426 attempted, 584 extra points attempted, 558 made and 1,704 point are all franchise records.

Punter: Tom Tupa

As a punter, I want you to be able to pin the opponent deep in their territory.  Tupa did just that.

Albeit with the Jets for only three seasons, he’s one of only two punters from the Jets to make the Pro Bowl.  Among the ten Jets to accumulate at least 200 punts, he has the second-highest average.

Tupa is one of 11 Jets to have 200 or more punts.  Of those 11, four have had none of their punts blocked, and Tupa is one.

Kick Returner: Leon Washington

Washington never went to the Pro Bowl as a kick returner, but his four touchdowns is number one all-time.  In addition to that, his return average of 25.5 is highest among the six Jets who returned at least 100 kicks.

He had 2,986 return yards, which is third all-time.  His 2,986 yards, four touchdowns and 25.5 yards per return make him the best kick returner in franchise history.

More jets: 30 greatest draft picks in team history

Punt Returner: Dick Christy

Dick Christy wasn’t a premier punt returner.  Christy only returned 42 punts in his day, but he is the only Jet return man to represent the team in the Pro Bowl in that role.

Among the Jets who have at least 40 punt returns, he has the highest average at 16.2.  He added four punt return touchdowns which is a team record, despite the limited amount of returns.

facebooktwitterreddit