Up next in our Draft Grader series are the New York Jets as we examine the job Mike Tannenbaum has done over the past four years when it comes to giving his coaches talent to work with. The Jets may be widely accepted as having one of the best rosters in the league, but has the draft been their vehicle for creating it?
We give each pick from the 2008 and 2010 draft classes a grade between +2.0 and -2.0 (in 0.5 increments) that depends upon:
• Where they were drafted
• Their performance
• Their contribution (how many snaps their team got out of them)
• Other factors such as unforeseen injuries and conditions that could not have been accounted for
Let’s take a look at how the Jets drafted.
+2.0: You’ve just found Tom Brady in the 6th round
They may have got better play out of a sixth-rounder than what they have from their first.
+1.5: Getting much more than you bargained for!
+1.0: The scouts nailed it!
Heck, they’d settle for some of these.
+0.5: Never hurts to find a solid contributor
Dwight Lowery, S (113th overall pick in 2008): Excelled as a rookie, and while he found it hard to get on the field in year No. 2, always put forth strong performances. Rex Ryan never quite seemed sure if Lowery was a cornerback or safety, and despite playing well at both spots, he found himself traded away.
Shonn Greene, RB (65th overall pick in 2009): A tad one dimensional (okay, more than a tad), Greene has looked a talent running the ball, but struggles in all elements of the passing game. Pick would probably look better if the Jets had done a better job finding a back who truly complements him.
Matt Slauson, G (193rd overall pick in 2009): He’ll never be one of the best guards in the league, but he is a good enough player that he can start without you having to overly worry about it. Great value in the sixth.
Joe McKnight, RB (112th overall pick in 2010): While his contribution on offense (and defense) hasn’t exactly wowed us, McKnight is one of the league’s better kick returners.
John Conner, FB (139th overall pick in 2010): The Terminator had a good year with his lead blocking in 2011 and looks like a solid replacement for the Jets’ version of Tony Richardson. If you’re going to draft a fullback, that’s what he needs to be.
0.0: It could have been worse
Erik Ainge, QB (162nd overall pick in 2008): You can’t fault the jets for the multitude of personal problems that Ainge entered the league with.
Marcus Henry, WR (171st overall pick in 2008): The former sixth round pick lasted a year before being waived.
Nate Garner, G (211th overall pick in 2008): Didn’t get a chance to clear waivers and hit the Jets’ practice squad as a rookie before the Dolphins picked him up.
-0.5: That pick was not put to good use
Dustin Keller, TE (30th overall pick in 2008): If you’re going to pick up a tight end in the first, they need to be either a difference-making receiver, or the kind of complete player that can play every down. Keller isn’t either, being one of the worst blocking tight ends in the league and not becoming the reliable safety net the top tight ends are for their quarterbacks. He has upside on any given play, but spends too much time not doing anything overly constructive.
Kyle Wilson, CB (29th overall pick in 2010): Did the Jets draft Wilson to replace Antonio Cromartie or to match up with the multiple receiver sets they were facing the AFC East by putting him in the slot? Either way, it’s kind of failed in both regards with Wilson looking anything but a first round pick in his first two years in the league.
Vladimir Ducasse, T (61st overall pick in 2010): How telling is it that this former second round pick was unable to beat out the awful Wayne Hunter for the vacant right tackle spot. That’s like the Jets saying that right now Ducasse is a worse player than Hunter and that is quite scary.
-1.0: What a waste!
Mark Sanchez, QB (5th overall pick in 2009): The 2009 class was always going to depend on Sanchez and how he played and, unfortunately, he just hasn’t cut the mustard. Saving your better performances (which generally involve just avoiding mistakes rather than making a lot of plays) for the playoffs should not give Sanchez a pass as he fails to improve as a quarterback. The recent signing of Tim Tebow should indicate just how much of a flop the Sanchize has been, while his new deal simply serves to make it easier to cut him in a couple of years. The clock is ticking.
-1.5: The scouts/ coaches failed, big time!
Not in this regard but …
-2.0: You just drafted the love child of Jamarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf!
Vernon Gholston, DE (6th overall pick in 2008): What can you really say about this? Looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane, as Gholston earned a -12.2 grade while playing just 629 career snaps as a Jet. He is the dictionary definition of a bust.
With just 13 picks over three years, when you don’t hit on them it really stands out. The selections made from 2008 to 2010 are a real dark age of scouting and development as the Jets look like they’ve fluffed on all of their Day 1 picks and got minimal returns from the remains of each draft. Though, while the Jets have done little with their drafts in recent history, earlier classes are still producing and they’ve done a good job of bringing in free agents. It’s just a shame that the one pick they really needed to hit on (Sanchez) hasn’t been able to take advantage of that.