3 first-round draft mistakes that continue to haunt the NY Jets

These draft mistakes are still affecting the franchise

Zach Wilson
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Successful NFL teams are built through the NFL Draft. While the NY Jets have attempted to do the same, even succeeding at times, the franchise has countless misses in their history.

Of course, infamous draft busts such as Vernon Gholston, Dee Milliner, Lam Jones, and Kyle Brady are chief among those draft-day stumbles, but you don't have to go back far in Jets history to find misses.

The Jets' 2022 draft class stands out as arguably the best in franchise history, but some of the other draft classes in the Joe Douglas regime haven't been as successful. We're specifically looking at some questionable first-round picks in this list.

From obvious draft busts to puzzling decisions, here's a look at three first-round draft mistakes that still affect the Jets in the present day.

3. Will McDonald, DE, NY Jets

Will McDonald is the only player on this list who might still have a future with the Jets' organization. The most recent Jets first-round pick was a stunning one last year, and his lack of a role as a rookie already has many questioning the selection.

McDonald might very well turn into a really good player. He has the natural talent and athleticism to shine in Robert Saleh's defense, and it's never wise to doubt Saleh's ability to find and develop defensive talent — especially defensive linemen.

That isn't the point, though. McDonald was and still is a surplus. His selection will be used to justify letting Bryce Huff, the Jets' best pass rusher in multiple decades, walk in free agency. It also prevented the Jets from addressing more pertinent needs.

The Jets could've used their 2023 first-round pick on a wide receiver or offensive lineman, many of whom drafted after McDonald put together impressive rookie seasons. Instead, they drafted a backup edge rusher who isn't even a full year older than Huff.

McDonald might turn into a cornerstone of the Jets' defense, but unless he is as good or better than Huff (which seems unlikely at this stage), it's going to be hard to justify this pick.