In three of the past four seasons, the Jets have only drafted four players or less in the entire draft, including just seven total draft picks in the past two drafts.
Contrast that with the New England Patriots, who stockpile picks like they’re going out of style each year, leading to a plethora of rookies. Just last season, when the Jets drafted four players, Bill Belichick drafted 12. In the past two seasons, as the Jets drafted seven total players, New England drafted 25.
Yet, I would argue that the Jets have drafted more efficiently than the Patriots have, going all the back to 2006 when Mike Tannenbaum first became the head honcho in New York.
Yes, New England has gotten some very good players during that span. Devin McCourty, Rob Gronkowski, Jermaine Cunningham, Aaron Hernandez, Brandon Spikes and Zoltan Mesko all had productive rookie seasons this past year. In 2009, they got Patrick Chung, Sebastian Vollmer, Brandon Tate, Myron Pryor and Julian Edelman.
When you have 25 draft picks, I would hope that you’d hit on at least half of them.
Meanwhile in that two year span, the Jets seven players they’ve drafted total are Kyle Wilson, Vladimir Ducasse, John Conner, Joe McKnight, (2010) and Mark Sanchez, Shonn Greene and Matt Slauson (2009).
All three draft picks from the 2009 class are key starters on offense. The 2010 class was drafted almost entirely for depth in the future, as the Jets really did not need any rookie contributions immediately, similar to how Matt Slauson was a non-factor as a rookie.
Conner is going to start at fullback next season, and McKnight will have an expanded role as well. Ducasse could very well end up starting at right tackle, and Wilson could be starting opposite Darrelle Revis if Antonio Cromartie leaves as a free agent.
Looking back at the 2006-2008 NFL drafts, Mike Tannenbaum has had a lot of A+ draft picks, and really only one true “bust” in Vernon Gholston. 2008 was the only season in the past four years that the Jets went over 4 draft picks, selecting Vernon Gholston and Dustin Keller in the first round and Dwight Lowery in the fourth round. He also selected Erik Ainge in the 5th round and two other late rounders that haven’t stuck.
In 2007, he only drafted four players again, but as has been his style, quality over quantity once again. He traded up in the first two rounds to select Darrelle Revis and David Harris, two elite players at their respective positions. He also drafted wide receiver Chansi Stuckey in the seventh round, who he later traded in September of 2009 for Pro Bowl wideout Braylon Edwards.
Tannenbaum burst onto the scene in 2006, when he set the tone for his Jets career when he drafted arguably the best draft class in team history in just his first year on the job. Among that draft class from five years ago were Nick Mangold, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Eric Smith, Brad Smith, Leon Washington, and Drew Coleman.
If we take that stellar 2006 draft class out of the equation, I believe the Jets have had the fewest draft picks over the past four seasons, while the Patriots are probably among the most picks. You can see the entire draft history on NFL.com. The Jets draft history is here, while New England’s is here.
The Patriots have three of the first 33 overall picks in the upcoming 2011 NFL Draft, thanks to some crafty moves in the past few years. The Jets will draft 30th overall and have six total picks.
The six draft picks are as follows:
30th overall pick (1st round).
94th overall pick in (3rd round).
126th overall pick in (4th round).
161th overall pick in (5th round).
192th overall pick (6th round).
200th overall pick (7th round, via Arizona)
The Jets acquired the Cardinals 2011 seventh round pick in the Kerry Rhodes trade, and they traded away their own 2011 second round pick to San Diego for Antonio Cromartie, and their own seventh round pick to Detroit for Kevin O’Connell.
The 2011 NFL Draft will take place on April 28th-30th at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.