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2019 Draft Comparisons to Jets Greats

Football New York Jets vs New England Patriots at Giant Stadium. SAD OCCASION: Joe Klecko appears to be holding back the tears in Jets' lockerroom. (Photo By: Vincent Riehl/NY Daily News via Getty Images)
Football New York Jets vs New England Patriots at Giant Stadium. SAD OCCASION: Joe Klecko appears to be holding back the tears in Jets' lockerroom. (Photo By: Vincent Riehl/NY Daily News via Getty Images)
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The Jets had one championship, over 50 years ago.  But they’ve had many great players over the years.  Here’s how this year’s draft haul compare to Jets stars of yore, in terms of size, skills, and NFL potential.

Though he’s yet to play a down of NFL football, draft experts have compared third-overall pick Quinnen Williams to various Hall of Famers.  But such talk is really getting ahead of ourselves, don’t you think?

Williams will start Day One.  But the Jets also believe they struck gold in Round Three — taking an edge-rusher and a young O-lineman — and in Round Four, with a TE/FB hybrid.  This draft‘s high-risk, high-reward picks are in keeping with Gang Green history, for better and for worse.

Co-head coaches Adam Gase and Gregg Williams face the gargantuan task of developing such talents.  But don’t bet against these egomaniacal taskmasters delivering the goods.

The Jets enter 2019 in uncharted territory; with a strange brew of young talent and win-now attitude.  Here’s a hint of the organizational expectations — explained through Gang Green heroes of seasons past.

Next: Quinnen Williams comparison

(Original Caption) New York: New York Jets; Joe Klenco (73), sacks Buffalo Bills quarterback Joe Fergus in this third quarter action 12/27. The Bills, who had not won a playoff game in 16 years, roared a 24-0 lead and then held on to defeat the Jets 31-27 in the AFC wild card playoff game. Klecko’ uniform green, white and grey; Ferguson’s white with blue pants, red and blue stripe on helmet.
(Original Caption) New York: New York Jets; Joe Klenco (73), sacks Buffalo Bills quarterback Joe Fergus in this third quarter action 12/27. The Bills, who had not won a playoff game in 16 years, roared a 24-0 lead and then held on to defeat the Jets 31-27 in the AFC wild card playoff game. Klecko’ uniform green, white and grey; Ferguson’s white with blue pants, red and blue stripe on helmet.

Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama

Comparison:  Joe Klecko

NFL insiders project Williams as a generational talent on par with Reggie White or Mean Joe Greene.  He’s a dominating interior lineman that plays smart, fast and furious. Many believe his brutal yet athletic 3-4 nose tackle style could change the game.

If so, Quinnen already merits comparisons to this franchise’s all-time defender.

A key to the success of the 1980’s “Sack Exchange.” was their oppositions’ intensive scheming to stop Joe Klecko.  The Temple product dominated for 12 seasons in green-and-white as a four-time Pro Bowler, versatile at DT, DE, and NT.  At NT, Klecko disrupted the middle while also averaging six sacks per season — on par with Q-Dub’s lofty expectations.

Williams was deemed this draft’s top talent and its best person.  Neutralizing Quinnen immediately becomes the focus of all oppositional game plans.

Next: Jachai Polite comparison

John Abraham of the New York Jets during the Baltimore Ravens 20-17 win in overtime at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. (Photo by Rich Kane/Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images)
John Abraham of the New York Jets during the Baltimore Ravens 20-17 win in overtime at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. (Photo by Rich Kane/Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images)

Jachai Polite, Edge, Florida

Comparison:  John Abraham 

Okay, admittedly it’s a bit of a stretch.  But Polite has the chance to be the Jets’ first legitimate edge-rushing threat since 2006 when rookie GM Mike Tannenbaum traded John Abraham to Atlanta (via Denver) for that number-one draft pick that netted Nick Mangold.

Of course, Abraham came with none of Polite’s red flags.  But Abraham, the Jets’ 2000 first-rounder (13th overall), was a similarly heralded SEC edge-terror out of South Carolina.  Polite, from Florida, was a surefire first-rounder before his epic Combine meltdown.

Despite all the talk of Polite’s immaturity and lack of motivation, when he did put it all together, he was an absolute housewrecker.  His crushing speed and powerful arms evoke the havoc caused by Big John in East Rutherford.

Jets fans will want Polite to succeed — if for no other reasons than to never having to hear again about John Abraham!

Next: Chuma Edoga comparison

September 7, 2014: New York Jets guard Willie Colon (66) during the first half of a NFL matchup between the Oakland Raiders and the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ The Jets defeated the Raiders 19-14. (Photo by Rich Kane/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)
September 7, 2014: New York Jets guard Willie Colon (66) during the first half of a NFL matchup between the Oakland Raiders and the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ The Jets defeated the Raiders 19-14. (Photo by Rich Kane/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)

Chuma Edoga, T, USC

Comparison:  Willie Colon

Colon and Edoga were both Day Two selections with chippy reputations.  They share a similar 6’3, 310-pound frame, undersized tackles eventually kicked inside to guard.

Before becoming the voice of Gang Green on SNY, Bronx’s Colon had a solid nine-year career (the first six in Pittsburgh).  With the NYJ, he started every game over three years before being carted off the field in September 2015 with career-ending knee injuries.

Edoga is young and USC-trained and has properly atoned for some childish college behavior.  He just seems like another kid who didn’t take school seriously.  His most egregious red flag was as a freshman, laying his hands on a ref who’d acted equally inappropriately.

Chuma has the comfort zone of working with his Trojans mate Darnold — and learning behind starters Brandon Shell and Kevin Beachum — the latter of whom Edoga drew pre-draft comparisons.  The correct strength and conditioning coach could hold the key to his success.

Next: Trevon Wesco comparison

Rich Caster holds Joe Namath’s pass despite Chris Fletcher’s efforts. December 01, 1974. (Photo by William N. Jacobellis/New York Post Archives /(c) NYP Holdings, Inc. via Getty Images)
Rich Caster holds Joe Namath’s pass despite Chris Fletcher’s efforts. December 01, 1974. (Photo by William N. Jacobellis/New York Post Archives /(c) NYP Holdings, Inc. via Getty Images)

Trevon Wesco, TE, West Virginia

Comparison: Rich Caster

Jets fans will love Wesco.  He’s a big, muscular head-knocker, but fluid and versatile with nice hands.  This Mountaineer plays with a clear love of the game.  In 2019, he will instantly upgrade an overhauled special teams unit.

If Wesco excels in camp, he’ll be that “sixth lineman” for Darnold and/or that blocking FB for Le’Veon Bell.  The former hoops star could even be ready to start the season’s first three games with Chris Herndon suspended.

Most of us are too young to have seen Rich Caster with the Jets — a three-time Pro Bowler in his first eight years (1970-1977) before moving on to the Oilers, Saints, and Redskins during his 15-year career.  The converted wide receiver laid the lumber for John Riggins and averaged over 34 receptions per year in green-and-white.  High standards indeed…

Next: Blake Cashman comparison

13 Dec 1998: Linebacker Chad Cascadden #53 of the New York Jets in action during the game against the Miami Dolphins at Pro Player Stadium in Miami, Florida. The Jets defeated the Dolphins 21-16.
13 Dec 1998: Linebacker Chad Cascadden #53 of the New York Jets in action during the game against the Miami Dolphins at Pro Player Stadium in Miami, Florida. The Jets defeated the Dolphins 21-16.

Blake Cashman, ILB, Minnesota

Comparison:  Chad Cascadden

Cascadden was an undrafted overachiever out of Wisconsin.  Cashman was a late-round walk-on tackling machine at Minnesota.  Both LBs earned their way in the Big Ten bustin’ heads on special teams.

Maccagnan has said the team rated Cashman the best special teamer in this draft.  He can also learn his positional craft behind CJ Mosley and Avery Williamson.  The Jets can only hope that Blake’s body can withstand NFL rigors after three separate shoulder surgeries.

Cascadden played in almost every game of his six-year NFL career.  At LB he dominated; in his 12 starts, he amassed eight sacks and 62 tackles.  Later, he worked on Wall Street and in broadcasting.  An excellent role model for this high-motor performer.

Next: Blessuan Austin comparison

27 December 2015: New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie (31) ready for action during the NFL game between the New England Patriots and the New York Jets played at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. (Photo by Gavin Baker/Icon Sportswire) (Photo by Gavin Baker/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)
27 December 2015: New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie (31) ready for action during the NFL game between the New England Patriots and the New York Jets played at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. (Photo by Gavin Baker/Icon Sportswire) (Photo by Gavin Baker/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)

Blessuan Austin, CB, Rutgers

Comparison:  Antonio Cromartie

Of course, it’s impossible to compare a former first-round Olympic-grade sprinter to a sixth-rounder overcoming two ACL surgeries.  But they’re both long and rangy 6’2″ cornerbacks that dominate in similar schemes.  Marcus Coleman is another solid Jets projection.

This Queens kid schooled on the banks of the Old Raritan — similar to the San Diego-bred Cromartie — is incredibly tenacious and committed to his craft.  Most every major scouting report said that an injury-healed Austin could be one of the steals of this draft.  But many of them also worry if his thin frame can withstand NFL physicality.

Maccagnan hinted in recent interviews that Austin might spend 2019 on the PUP list.  The GM had a similar grand plan with another sixth-round, ACL-rehabbing CB — Jeremy Clark.

How did that work out, Jets fans?

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