By Luke Ewing @Twitter.com/LukeJEwing on May 2, 2014
Not every first-round pick made by the New York Jets has been a clunker, though it might seem like it. Here are the five best in team history.
Freeman McNeil was selected third overall in 1981 and spent the entirety of his 12-year NFL career with the New York Jets. He was the first Jet to lead the league in rushing, and held the majority of the Jets' team rushing records broken by the great Curtis Martin, including his 8,074 career rushing yards. McNeil was inducted into the Jets' Ring of Honor in 2011.
Also a member of the Ring of Honor, Al Toon was one of the best receivers in team history. Selected 10th overall in the 1985 draft, Toon was named to three consecutive All-Pro teams in '86, '87, and his '88 campaign in which he led the league with 93 receptions. Toon would likely hold every team receiving record there is if it wasn't for the fact he forced into early retirement at the age of 29 due to multiple concussions.
Nick Mangold has anchored the New York Jets' offensive line and been among the league's best centers since he was drafted 29th overall in 2006. He led an offensive unit that rushed for 2,756 yards and 21 TDs in 2009. Throw in his five Pro Bowls and three All-Pro selections (and counting), and it's not out of the question that Mangold could garner Hall-of-Fame consideration by the time his young career is over.
The New York Jets traded three picks to move up in the 2007 draft to select Darrelle Revis at 14th overall, quite a bargain in retrospect. The All-Pro cornerback has been one of the best defensive players in the league since entering the NFL, demonstrating an ability to quietly dominate a game unlike any defensive player who has ever played for Gang Green.
Joe. Wooly. Namath. You can't deny the top spot to biggest star the franchise has ever known. Personally, I think Namath is a bit overrated (a career rating of 65.5 with more total INTs than TDs), but numbers aren't everything and don't always tell the whole story. Broadway Joe was selected 12th overall in 1965, and led the Jets to their first and only Super Bowl victory in 1969 four years later. Plus, just look at him in that fur coat!
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