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A Draft In Review: The Jets 1994 Class, One To Forget

The expression is, you can’t judge a draft class before a minimum of 3 years. I actually think it’s more like 4-5 years. However we can certainly look back to our historic drafts with a judgmental eye.

Al Bello

I was trying to decide which draft to focus on. Should it be one I knew was strong, or one I knew was weak? In the end I picked a year at random and then looked through it to have a look. It just so happens that year was 1994, so how did the Jets do with this class 30 years on?

Round 1: Selection 12, Aaron Glenn, Cornerback, Texas A&M

A long long time ago I joined a Jets website, this was before GGN existed, and my aviator was always Aaron Glenn. Aaron played 8 years with the Jets and was always one of my favourite players. He was a little bit of a ball hawk and he had a couple of really good years with the Jets, including his 6 interception season in 1998 and his 5 interception season in 2001. One of his best years actually came in 2002 when he joined the Houston Texans, with 5 interceptions, 13 pass defences, 2 touchdowns, 1 sack and 67 total tackles.

When he was placed in the 2002 NFL Expansion draft, I think most were resigned to losing him. We did just that as Houston selected him with their third overall pick, one spot behind another Jet (Ryan Young) and four spots ahead of yet another Jet in Marcus Coleman. It was a shame the Jets lost Glenn, but I think everyone can agree he was a very good selection in the first place. He played from 1994 to 2008, playing for the Jets, Texans, Cowboys, Jaguars and Saints.

Round 2: Selection 41, Ryan Yarborough, Wide Receiver, Wyoming

If Glenn was an inspired selection then Ryan Yarborough was the complete opposite. He was a 6'2 200lb receiver who had broken a ton of records in college. He finished his career at Wyoming with 229 receptions for 4,357 yards and 42 touchdowns. When the Jets selected Ryan, they thought they were getting a home run hitter who could be their go-to receiver for the next 10 years. Little did they realise he would last just two years with the Jets and four years in the league. However for some players, it doesn't quite happen and that was certainly the case for Ryan. He was never able to show enough to warrant extended playing time and both the Jets and the Ravens ran out of patience with him. 4 years, 44 receptions and 3 touchdowns later......he was out of the league for good. I think you can pencil this one in as a complete bust.

Round 3: Selection 94, Lou Benfatti, Defensive Tackle, Penn State

This is a little bit of a sad one. Coming out of Penn State, Benfatti was a heralded prospect. A team captain, an All-American and a Lombardi Award finalist. However unfortunately for Benfatti, a serious neck injury cut his career short. He played just three seasons with New York before being forced to retire. While he wasn't putting up big numbers he was starting to carve out a role. Unfortunately his playing career was over far too quickly and he was out of football before the 1997 season started. As far as I'm aware he is currently a principle at Hopatcong middle school.

Round 4: Selection 117, Orlando Parker, Wide Receiver, Troy State

This is a really strange one; Orlando was a bit of a project. I think when he was drafted, most people were aware he would need some time. However he was given just one year. He had one reception for 7 yards and then before his second year, Rich Kotite decided to cut him. The reasoning? He believed the team needed a more veteran presence at the receiving position, and for some reason he thought we couldn't do that with someone like Parker on the team. In fact, 16 players were cut at once under Rich. Parker didn't play another game in the NFL and his career lasted just one year. Who knows what could have happened.

Round 5: Selection 152, Horace Morris, Linebacker, Tennessee

Information on Morris is scarce; he was a speed defensive end at Tennessee but never had the size to play that position at the NFL level so he switched to linebacker. However he didn't even make it out of camp, he was cut when the Jets were forced to trim their roster to 60 players and as far as I can see, he never played in an actual NFL game. So the 5th round draft pick lasted about three months in the NFL. Now that is what I call a short career.

Round 6: Selection 173, Fred Lester, Running Back, Alabama A&M

Here is another one with very little information. I have absolutely no recollection of Lester, the name doesn't even ring a bell. However it seems as though he spent the 1994 season on and off the Jets practise squad without getting a carry. He was then cut, and picked up by the Bucs in 1995. Cut and then picked up by the Falcons in 1997 and then he never made another team. As far as the records I could find go, he never got an NFL carry in his career.

Round 7: Selection 208, Glenn Foley, Quarterback, Boston College

When I was a little kid, my parents got me a Jets jersey from a second hand shop here in England. It was completely ridiculous that this jersey (the only jersey there) would be a Jets one, and a Foley one. So Glenn Foley was the first ever jersey I owned. Unfortunately it's long gone. However Foley wasn't a bad selection by the Jets. For a 7th round selection, he played 5 years with the Jets, mainly in spot duty and filling in for injuries. However he ended his career with 2469 yards with 12 touchdowns to 16 interceptions. What you would expect from a 7th round guy, but he gave value because he played.

Summary: This draft was a terrible one. Had it not been for Aaron Glenn this may have been one of the very worst drafts in history. Glenn was the only player to really start and contribute to the Jets. Most of their selections were out of the league in a matter of years and only their 7th round pick gave them any back-up support. Put bluntly, this was a shocking draft.