The New York Jets botched the first round in the NFL Draft too many times to count in the last thirty years, but seven players stand out among the worse of the worst decisions the Jets made on draft day including Johnny “Lam” Jones, Blair Thomas, Roger Vick, Kyle Brady, Vernon Gholtson, Dewayne Robertson, and Dee Milner.

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New York Jets fans protesting their team’s losing ways during a home game at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ.  (Image: Charles Wenzelberg)

When the 2019 NFL Draft begins, New York Jets fans will be ready to boo whomever they pick this year because of the Jets historically bad track record. The Jets won only four games this year and have the third-overall pick behind the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers.

Johnny “Lam” Jones WR
Blair Thomas RB
Roger Vick FB
Kyle Brady TE
Vernon Gholston DE
Dewayne Robertson DT
Dee Milner CB

Last season, the Jets traded up in the draft to acquire Sam Darnold from USC. He wasn’t the first USC QB that the Jets traded up for either. Back in 2009, the Jets traded up to acquire Mark Sanchez. Everyone remembers the “butt fumble” but Sanchez took the Jets to consecutive AFC Championship games in his first two seasons.

Ken O’Brien ended up one of the best quarterbacks in Jets history. The unknown from UC-Davis shocked Jets fans when they drafted him in 1983. At the time, Dan Marino was one of the better prospects in the country. However, the Jets took a flier on O’Brien and passed on Marino, who became a Hall of Famer with the Miami Dolphins. Fans in the audience loudly booed the Jets management for not picking Marino.

Offense Draft Busts: Lam, Blair, Vick and Brady

The Jets selected Johnny “Lam” Jones, a WR out of Texas, with the overall second pick in the 1980 NFL Draft. As a track star at Texas, Jones also won a gold medal in a 4×100 relay. The Jets were also eying OT Anthony Munoz, who would go on to a Hall of Fame career, but picked the “fastest guy in the draft” instead.

The Jets paid Jones the first million-dollar contract in NFL history. Jones was definitely a speedster, but he couldn’t catch the ball. He scored only three touchdowns as a rookie. In five seasons with the Jets, he was a backup and never caught more than 4 touchdowns in a season. He finished his career with 138 receptions and only 13 touchdowns. In three playoff games, he scored zero times.

The Jets were high on Roger Vick, a fullback out of Texas A&M, and drafted him with the 21st pick in the first round of the 1987 draft. He played only three seasons with the Jets and four total in the NFL before washing out. In 32 games, Vick rushed for 1,231 yards and scored 11 touchdowns.

The Jets selected Penn State RB Blair Thomas with the second pick in the 1990 NFL Draft. Jones played only four seasons with the Jets. He started only 35 games and scored a mere five touchdowns. He injured his hamstring in his third season, and was never the same again. Thomas finished his career with 2,009 rushing yards.

At the 1995 draft, DT Warren Sapp’s stock dropped because he got busted for smoking marijuana. The Jets passed on the “weed guy” and selected Kyle Brady with the ninth pick instead. Sapp would go on to have a Hall of Fame career with the Bucs and Raiders. Kyle Brady, a TE from Penn State, played only four seasons with the Jets. He caught 241 passes for 13 touchdowns. He finished out his career with eight seasons as a backup in Jacksonville and one more with the New England Patriots. Brady had his best season of his career with the Jags.

Defense Draft Busts: Robertson, Gholston, and Milner

The New York Jets selected Dewayne Robertson, a DT from Kentucky, with the fourth overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft. They risked a pair of first round picks to trade up to grab him. Robertson played five seasons with the Jets. Although he was the first rookie to start all 16 games since Mo Lewis, he had a below-average career and recorded only 14.5 sacks.

The Jets drafted Vernon Gholston, a DE from Ohio State, with the sixth pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. He played three years with the Jets and never recorded a sack before washing out of the league.

The Jets selected Dee Milner, a CB from Alabama, with the ninth pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Milner was an All-American at Bama and won two College Football Championships. Milner played 21 games over three seasons with the Jets before ending his brief career. He had only three interceptions.