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As it turns out, drafting Mark Sanchez brings with it a form of Draft PTSD. Since selecting the USC quarterback with the 5th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, the Jets have used 8 consecutive picks on defensive players.  That includes four busts (Wilson, Coples, Milliner), two hits (Wilkerson, Richardson), and three players where it’s probably still too early to evaluate.  Richardson has been great at times, but has also been frustrating on and off the field; in any event, his tenure with the team is likely coming to an end soon.  Pryor and Lee are still works in process, so it’s been mostly a mixed bag for the Jets over the last seven years:

Drafted Players Table
Rk Year Rnd Pick Pos DrAge From To AP1 PB St CarAV G GS Int Sk College/Univ
1 2016 1 20 Darron Lee OLB 21 2016 2016 0 0 1 4 13 9 1 Ohio St. College Stats
2 2015 1 6 Leonard Williams DE 21 2015 2016 0 1 1 19 32 31 10 USC College Stats
3 2014 1 18 Calvin Pryor DB 22 2014 2016 0 0 3 14 44 38 2 0.5 Louisville College Stats
4 2013 1 9 Dee Milliner DB 21 2013 2015 0 0 1 6 21 14 3 Alabama College Stats
5 2013 1 13 Sheldon Richardson DT 22 2013 2016 0 1 2 26 58 55 18 Missouri College Stats
6 2012 1 16 Quinton Coples DE 22 2012 2015 0 0 2 20 62 32 16.5 North Carolina College Stats
7 2011 1 30 Muhammad Wilkerson DT 21 2011 2016 0 1 5 60 92 89 1 41 Temple College Stats
8 2010 1 29 Kyle Wilson DB 23 2010 2015 0 0 1 15 95 32 4 1 Boise St. College Stats

Will that streak end tonight? If not, the Jets will set a record by becoming the first team to use 9 consecutive draft picks on players on one side of the ball. Right now, New York shares the distinction with three other franchises who have used eight consecutive first round picks in the NFL draft on efforts to rebuild one side of the ball.

The Giants used eight consecutive first round picks — from 1987 to 1995 — on offensive players. Take a look:

Drafted Players Table
Rk Year Rnd Pick Pos DrAge From To AP1 PB St CarAV G GS Att Yds TD Rec Yds TD College/Univ
1 1995 1 17 Tyrone Wheatley RB 23 1995 2004 0 0 3 39 124 44 1270 4962 40 125 900 7 Michigan College Stats
2 1994 1 24 Thomas Lewis WR 22 1994 1997 0 0 1 9 34 15 74 1032 5 Indiana College Stats
3 1992 1 14 Derek Brown TE 22 1992 1999 0 0 1 4 105 33 43 401 1 Notre Dame College Stats
4 1991 1 27 Jarrod Bunch FB 23 1991 1994 0 0 2 7 48 22 138 629 5 26 156 2 Michigan College Stats
5 1990 1 24 Rodney Hampton RB 21 1990 1997 0 2 6 54 104 85 1824 6897 49 174 1309 2 Georgia College Stats
6 1989 1 18 Brian Williams C 23 1989 1999 0 0 4 29 129 62 Minnesota
7 1988 1 10 Eric Moore G 23 1988 1995 0 0 5 36 84 74 Indiana
8 1987 1 28 Mark Ingram WR 22 1987 1996 0 0 6 36 128 84 3 2 0 265 3926 26 Michigan St. College Stats

Note that this doesn’t even include Dave Brown, the Duke quarterback the Giants used a 1st round pick on in the 1992 Supplemental Draft; that wound up costing New York the 9th pick in the 1993 Draft. For 9 straight years, the Giants avoided using a first round pick on a defensive player, taking one QB, three RBs, two WRs, two OL, and one TE instead, and most of those players turned out to be disappointments.  Of course, had more of those early selections hit, the Giants probably would have stopped drafting offensive players in the first round.

From 1999 to 2005, the Detroit Lions had 9 first round picks, courtesy of multiple picks in ’99 (Detroit traded up from the 39th pick to the 27th pick) and ’04 (Detroit traded up from 36th to 30th).  In ’99, Detroit drafted a linebacker with the 9th pick, before using three straight first round picks on an offensive lineman.    Detroit then drafted their quarterback of the future — except he wasn’t — and drafted three wide receivers in four years, too.

Drafted Players Table
Rk Year
Rnd Pick Pos DrAge From To AP1 PB St CarAV G GS Att Yds TD Rec Yds TD College/Univ
1 2005 1 10 Mike Williams WR 21 2005 2011 0 0 2 12 56 30 1 0 0 127 1526 5 USC College Stats
2 2004 1 30 Kevin Jones RB 22 2004 2008 0 0 4 27 64 49 795 3176 24 143 1011 3 Virginia Tech College Stats
3 2004 1 7 Roy Williams WR 22 2004 2011 0 1 7 42 115 94 6 17 0 393 5715 44 Texas College Stats
4 2003 1 2 Charles Rogers WR 22 2003 2005 0 0 0 4 15 9 2 17 0 36 440 4 Michigan St. College Stats
5 2002 1 3 Joey Harrington QB 23 2002 2007 0 0 6 30 81 76 142 402 0 3 8 0 Oregon College Stats
6 2001 1 18 Jeff Backus T 23 2001 2012 0 0 12 63 191 191 Michigan
7 2000 1 20 Stockar McDougle T 23 2000 2006 0 0 3 22 81 56 Oklahoma College Stats
8 1999 1 27 Aaron Gibson T 21 2000 2004 0 0 1 12 38 34 Wisconsin College Stats
9 1999 1 9 Chris Claiborne LB 21 1999 2006 0 0 6 37 105 89 USC College Stats

The only good news for the Lions: despite top 10 picks on wide receivers in ’03, ’04, and ’05, that didn’t stop the team from using the 2nd overall pick on Calvin Johnson in 2007. In fact, Detroit used 12 of 13 straight first round picks, beginning at the end of the first round in 1999 and running through 2009, on offensive players; linebacker Ernie Sims was the sole exception.

Other than the Jets, only the Dallas Cowboys have used 8 straight first round picks on defensive players. For a decade, the Cowboys didn’t draft a single offensive player in the first round:

Drafted Players Table
Rk Year Rnd Pick Pos DrAge From To AP1 PB St CarAV G GS Int Sk College/Univ
1 2007 1 26 Anthony Spencer DE 23 2007 2014 0 1 4 33 104 67 1 33 Purdue College Stats
2 2006 1 18 Bobby Carpenter LB 23 2006 2012 0 0 0 10 93 10 1 3.5 Ohio St. College Stats
3 2005 1 11 DeMarcus Ware LB 23 2005 2016 4 9 12 100 178 173 3 138.5 Troy College Stats
4 2005 1 20 Marcus Spears DE 22 2005 2013 0 0 5 35 124 90 10 LSU College Stats
5 2003 1 5 Terence Newman DB 25 2003 2016 0 2 13 70 205 197 41 2 Kansas St. College Stats
6 2002 1 8 Roy Williams DB 22 2002 2010 1 5 5 56 114 110 20 7.5 Oklahoma College Stats
7 1999 1 20 Ebenezer Ekuban DE 23 1999 2008 0 0 5 36 122 74 36.5 North Carolina College Stats
8 1998 1 8 Greg Ellis DE 23 1998 2009 0 1 12 70 176 169 4 84 North Carolina College Stats

It lasted a decade because the Cowboys traded first round picks in ’00 and ’01 to Seattle for Joey Gallway. In addition, the Cowboys “lost” a first round pick in ’04 but that’s only because Dallas traded that pick to Buffalo — who wanted J.P. Losman — for a second round pick and the future first round pick added in 2005 (Spears).

So will the Jets streak reach 9 tonight? It’s very possible, in part because most of the top prospects this year are defensive players. In addition, the Jets had a bottom five pass defense in 2016, whether measured by passer rating (30th), expected points added (28th), or ANY/A (29th). Other than Williams and Wilkerson, and perhaps Lee and Pryor, the Jets don’t have much in the way of longterm building blocks on defense.

  • Ellis, Roy Williams, Newman, Spears, Ware and Spencer. That’s actually a really good haul.

    • sacramento gold miners

      Ware is a future HOF pick, Williams went to Pro Bowls, and Newman was solid. Dallas had some talent on the defensive side of the ball, this wasn’t a case of Tony Romo having a poor supporting cast. Terrell Owens and Jason Witten will be in the HOF later as well.

  • Michael Schuttke

    Chase: I mentioned this on Twitter to you but I think the contrast from Parcells’ time with the Giants compared to the Cowboys is interesting. Perhaps it is just flukey luck and the way the proverbial “board played out” but streaks like this seem very intentional and reveal a core philosophy. I wonder if the seeming change in approach came down to thinking that offensive excellence is more about having a great QB and a scheme that utilizes talent well whereas defense requires more overall talent, i.e. only as strong as the weakest link. The streak began a bit before he came to Dallas admittedly but there does seem to be a shifting in philosophy going on from the Giants era to his time with the Cowboys.

  • And the Jets make it 9, with LSU safety Jamal Adams. At least in this case, Adams looks awesome.