By Ed Easton Jr.
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As the 2011 NFL Draft draws near Jets fans might want to forget some of the worst first-round picks in franchise history. The recent selection success under GM Mike Tannenbaum can’t always mean things are gonna stay that way. Remember Vernon Gholston?
Russell Carter – Safety Russell Carter was selected with the tenth pick in the 1984 draft. The marriage between Carter and the Jets got off to an awkward start as he was quickly converted to cornerback before ever hitting the field. Carter was cut in 1987 after managing only four interceptions, all of which occurred in his rookie season. He is probably the least known #10 pick in Jets and maybe NFL history .
Johnny ‘Lam’ Jones – Wide receiver Johnny “Lam” was selected second overall in the 1980 draft. He was best known for a being a fantastic athlete with top-notch speed. His quickness was displayed back in 1976 when he helped lead Team USA to a gold medal in the 4×100 meter relay. The problem with his game was the receiving part as the former track star had a problem with actually catching the football. He only managed 13 touchdowns in five seasons for the Jets, and as the Washington Redskins selected Art Monk a couple of picks later in the same draft, he is widely considered a bust.
Kyle Brady – Tight end Kyle Brady was selected ninth overall in the 1995 draft to the dismay of many Jets fans in attendance. Fans wanted Warren Sapp to be the selection, but for some reason Gang Green decided to go with a tight end despite having two formidable players at that position already. Brady proved to be a decent blocker with the Jets but had better years in Jacksonville. His pick was frustrating, especially since All-Pro players like Terrell Davis, Antonio Freeman and Derrick Brooks were still on the board.
Dewayne Robertson – Defensive tackle Dewayne Robertson was selected fourth overall in the 2003 draft. Robertson’s 14.5 sacks over five seasons for the Jets was very disappointing for a top five pick. He was traded to Denver in 2007 and after one season with the Broncos has been in football limbo since. What has Jets fans sour is the list of players passed up included Terrell Suggs, Troy Polamalu, Dallas Clark, Larry Johnson, Nnamdi Asomugha, Anquan Boldin, Osi Umenyiora and Jason Witten.
Blair Thomas – Running back Blair Thomas was selected second overall in the 1990 draft – in front of future Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith, John Randle and Shannon Sharpe. In his four seasons with Gang Green, Thomas only rushed for 2,009 yards and five touchdowns. He is considered by many Jets fans as the worst pick of the franchise.
Ken O’Brien – Quarterback Ken O’Brien was selected 24th overall in the 1983 draft. O’Brien had a decent career which included two Pro Bowl appearances and two perfect quarterback rating games. The biggest blunder of his career was being selected a few picks before Hall Of Fame quarterback Dan Marino — and never getting out of his shadow. I wonder if O’Brien’s career would’ve been different if he wasn’t in the same class?
Vernon Gholston – Linebacker/defensive end Vernon Gholston was selected sixth overall in the 2008 draft. Gholston was a complete train wreck for the Jets as he never made any impact under head coach Rex Ryan. In three seasons, Gholston didn’t record one single sack on a defensive-minded team, leading to his release in March. Jets fans are angry they could have have had Jared Mayo, Chris Johnson, DeSean Jackson, Ray Rice or and Jamaal Charles in the same draft.
Ron Faurot – Defensive end Ron Faurot was selected 15th overall in the 1984 draft. Faurot was unable to stay healthy and appeared in only 20 games, recording just two sacks. A knee injury eventually ended his career and cemented his status as a bust of a pick.
This list is only a reminder that history is not always on Gang Green’s side during draft time, you’ve been warned Jets fans….