Joe Namath and Jets’ 10 greatest NFL Draft first-round picks of all time

Heading into the 2023 NFL Draft later this week, the New York Jets carry a checkered history with their first-round picks.

This year, the Jets have the No. 13 overall selection and hope to pick a player who can make a long-term positive impact and be a bedrock for the franchise.

Though more known for their failures in the first round, the Jets do have their fair share of hits over 53 years in the NFL.

Just last season, they nailed it by selecting corner Sauce Gardner with the No. 4 overall pick and wide receiver Garrett Wilson at No. 10. They became the third teammates to win NFL Defensive and Offensive Rookie of the Year in the same season.

That said, let’s examine the Jets’ 10 best all-time NFL Draft first-round picks.

Note that for this exercise we won’t include recent picks who are still writing their histories with the Jets. So, Gardner, Wilson and Quinnen Williams (2019) are not listed.

Also not included are players like John Riggins (1971), Keyshawn Johnson (1996), Jonathan Vilma (2004) and Jamal Adams (2017), who played well, though briefly, with the Jets but spent most of their careers starring for another team.

10. Shaun Ellis – DE – 2000

The first of four first-round picks by the Jets in 2000 (DE John Abraham, QB Chad Pennington, TE Anthony Becht), Ellis played 11 of his 12 NFL seasons with them.

Durable and solid in that time, Ellis made the Pro Bowl twice and is third all-time for the Jets with 72.5 sacks.

Ellis edged out Abraham, a better pass rusher who played very well in New York but had his best seasons elsewhere, and Marty Lyons, a 1979 pick who was part of the famed Sack Exchange in the 1980’s.

9. Aaron Glenn – CB – 1994

The shutdown corner played 8 of his 15 NFL seasons with the Jets. He had 24 picks and returned three for touchdowns, including two in 1996. Glenn is tied for fourth on their all-time interception list.

8. Marvin Jones – LB – 1993

Jones played all 10 of his NFL seasons with the Jets and is their third-leading tackler all-time (730 solo tackles). A steady force at middle linebacker, Jones started every game from 1997-2003.

7. Freeman McNeil – RB – 1981

Only Hall-of-Famer Curtis Martin rushed for more yards (10,302) than McNeil (8,074) in Jets history. No running back in their history who had at least 375 carries rushed for a higher average per carry than McNeil (4.5).

He also rushed for 349 yards in the 1982 playoffs, including a franchise-record 202 yards on 21 carries against the Raiders, helping the Jets reach the AFC Championship game.

Happy Birthday Freeman McNeil#Jets

— Old Time Football (@Ol_TimeFootball) April 22, 2023

6. D’Brickashaw Ferguson – OT – 2006

Not only was Ferguson a stud protecting the quarterback’s blind side for 10 seasons, but he was incredibly durable. Ferguson never missed a single game, starting all 160-regular season games and seven in the playoffs.

And he missed only one snap in his NFL career. Remarkable. Somehow, Ferguson was never named an All-Pro, though he did make the Pro Bowl three times.

5. Al Toon – WR – 1985

Equal parts graceful and tough, Toon was one of the great NFL receivers of his day. He led the League with 93 receptions in 1988 (second-most in Jets history) and had 517 (third all-time for the Jets) in 107 career games.

Fearless making catches in traffic, Toon paid the price with multiple concussions that forced him to retire after only eight seasons. He was a three-time Pro Bowl selection and an All-Pro in 1986.

So fast, so smooth.

Happy birthday to the great Al Toon!!

— New York Jets (@nyjets) April 30, 2020

4. Marvin Powell – OT – 1977

Powell played nine of his 11 NFL seasons with the Jets, was named All-Pro three times and appeared in five Pro Bowls. A strong, athletic lineman, Powell formed bookends at the tackle position for the Jets with 1978 top pick Chris Ward through 1983.

3. Nick Mangold – C – 2006

He’s not in the Hall of Fame, but Mangold should be on the short list of offensive linemen to be considered. An absolute rock for the Jets in the middle of their line for 11 seasons, Mangold was a two-time All-Pro and made the Pro Bowl seven times.

Landing Mangold and Ferguson in the same first round of the 2006 draft was an absolute coup for New York.

2. Darrelle Revis – CB – 2007

Revis was a generational player who defined greatness at the cornerback position and will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in August. So dominant was he against the game’s best receivers, that “Revis Island” was a thing in his day.

Revis played his first six seasons with the Jets, then returned for two more seasons in 2015-16. He was All-Pro three times with New York, had five Pro Bowl selections and was runner-up for NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2009.

He was a game-changer, especially in coach Rex Ryan’s defense from 2009-12, before winning a Super Bowl with the Patriots.

“Darrelle Revis! All the way home!”#RevisDay | @Revis24

— New York Jets (@nyjets) July 14, 2020

1. Joe Namath – QB – 1965

Broadway Joe. The Guarantee. The greatest New York Jet of all-time. A Hall of Fame legend. The man who delivered the Jets only championship, leading them to an incredible 16-7 upset against the Colts in Super Bowl III.

Namath was all that and so much more. His influence on the NFL and its popularity cannot be undervalued. And from a Jets perspective, he remains their most popular and famous player to this day.

He’s still their all-time leader in every important passing category. And simply imagine how much greater Namath could have been if not ravaged by injury throughout his career.

The post Joe Namath and Jets’ 10 greatest NFL Draft first-round picks of all time appeared first on ClutchPoints.

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