Pick Six: Biggest New York Jets’ draft busts

Congratulations to Vernon Gholston who officially became one of the game’s biggest draft busts after being released by the Jets on Wednesday.

But before we discuss where Gholston ranks among the all-timers such as Ryan Leaf, Tony Mandrich and Akili Smith, we must first consider where Gholston ranks among the all-time Jets draft busts. The Jets have had their fair share of troubles over the years. But who are the top six?

One name that won’t be on the list — Ken O’Brien. You guys are far too harsh on him. Is he Dan Marino? No. But the Jets had a lot of company there. Many more teams should have been kicking themselves about that, not the Jets.

So here it is.

6. DT Dewayne Robertson, fourth overall, 2003
Robertson certainly wasn’t awful, and did manage to start 75 games for the Jets. But did he do anything to really stand out as a top five pick? Serviceable doesn’t cut it that high in the draft.

Could have had: The first round of the 2003 NFL Draft had a number of notables including Troy Polamalu, Nnamdi Asomugha and Terrell Suggs. But if you want to go straight defensive tackle, the Jets chose Robertson over Kevin Williams.

5. WR Johnny Lam Jones, second overall pick, 1980
Jones won a gold medal in the 4 x 100 meter relay at the 1976 Summer Olympics, so he certainly had the speed. But catching the football? Not so much.

Could have had: Hall of Famer Anthony Munoz was selected right after Jones, but if the Jets wanted to go for a receiver, Art Monk was selected by the Redskins at No. 18.

4. FB Roger Vick, 21st overall, 1987
Who thinks that taking a fullback in the first round is a good idea? The Jets were 10-6 the previous year, but to be a fly on a wall to hear … “the only thing keeping us from the Super Bowl is a fullback,” in the draft room would have been awesome. And seeing that Vick was the only fullback taken in the draft, they probably could have waited.

Could have had: Choose between tackles Harrison Barton or Bruce Matthews who immediately followed the selection of Vick.

3. TE Kyle Brady, ninth overall, 1995
The Jets fans at the draft were chanting “We want Sapp.” As in future Hall of Famer, Warren Sapp. The Jets thought a tight end would have been a good idea. Brady went on to have a nice NFL career. But nice does not make the Hall of Fame.

Could have had: Sapp, duh. But realize that the Jets also took DE Hugh Douglas with their other first-round pick. That would have been a nice d-line.

2. Gholston, sixth overall, 2008
The amazing thing about Gholston is that when you read, “failed to record a sack.” You think it is just this year. Oh no, we are talking about his entire career. But it’s not a total loss — he managed to earn the award for biggest workout warrior ever.

Could have had: Where to go with this one? In the fantasy world, RB Chris Johnson would be obvious. But Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie paired with Darrelle Revis would be pretty good. And the Jets did take a cornerback later, so it’s Rodgers-Cromartie.

1. Blair Thomas, second overall, 1990
Does this really need an explanation?

Could have had: The Jets picked Thomas, the Cowboys would take Emmitt Smith. Now, you could argue that Smith flourished because of Troy Aikman and the Cowboys. But the Jets finished sixth overall in rushing in 1991, meaning that the team had a good offensive line, meaning Smith could have been highly successful for that team.

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