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Top Ten New York Jets Draft Busts #10: Alex Van Dyke

Bud Light is sponsoring a series of posts here on GGN and other SB Nation NFL sites over the next few weeks discussing the ten biggest NFL Draft busts and successes for each NFL franchise. Unfortunately, there are mo. re candidates for Jets busts in team history than we have spots. ESPN even did a montage during the 2005 NFL Draft that became a viral YouTube hit a few years later detailing bad Jets picks.

Compiling this list was more art than science, but I would like to set a few ground rules for the criteria.

Only players who were rookies for the Jets count: That means no picks traded for veteran players or coaches (Bill Belichick). So you are saved, Justin McCareins. In case it comes up, I will allow for guys technically selected by other teams but traded to the Jets on Draft day.

Position matters: Busting at some positions hurt worse than others. A bust at quarterback hurts more than a bust in other spots.

Players passed over matter to a degree: If the team took a guy who busted, and the next five picks went on to have Pro Bowl careers, that makes that bust hurt a little worse. We need to stay within reason, though. The Jets took Chad Pennington over Tom Brady in the 2000 Draft, but nobody had Brady as a better prospect or with a first round grade. You cannot hold that against the Jets.

Spot in the Draft matters: Busting on a player early in the first round hurts more than busting on a guy in the third round.

Other factors matter: If a guy's poor performance is aided by perhaps injuries, poor coaching, or not fitting a scheme, he gets more of a pass than a guy who just flat out stinks.

 

 

With that, we begin our countdown. Number ten on our list is Alex Van Dyke. The Jets selected Van Dyke with the first selection in the second round of the 1996 NFL Draft. He was the second wide receiver the team selected after taking Keyshawn Johnson with the top pick. The team had dreams of the two of them developing into a dominating duo for a decade or more, giving Gang Green a high flying passing game. They did not get that to say the least.

Johnson's career in green and white was a disappointment. He only lasted four years with the team and was merely good, never great. Marvin Harrison, picked later in the first round, had a better career and developed into a much more complete receiver. A contract dispute led to a trade of Keyshawn in 2000.

If Keyshawn was a disappointment, the selection of Van Dyke was a catastrophe. Despite gaining a reputation as a playmaker by leading the nation in receiving yards per game and receptions per game at the University of Nevada in 1995, he had only 25 catches and 3 touchdowns in green and white. His most lasting moment in green and white came in the 1998 AFC Championship Game where he had a critical second half fumble in Denver territory in a brutal loss to the Broncos.

Amani Toomer and Mushin Muhammad were the next two receivers off the board in the second round of that Draft. Neither turned into a superstar, but both had long and productive careers in the NFL.

Although his NFL career was very disappointing, Van Dyke has become a successful business man. He now owns a business that helps athletes train.

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