When researching this article, I was presented with two first round draft picks at the center position. Nick Mangold and Paul Seller, however being a Notre Dame fan I've looked in detail at the 1966 national championship team which included Paul Seller. He played tackle and guard while at Notre Dame and played tackle with the Jets, so I'm excluding him from this list as I'm not sure he ever played a game at center for the Jets.
New York Jets: First Round Center's
2006: #29 - Nick Mangold
Well that was easy enough. The New York Jets have only ever selected one true center in the first round of the NFL draft. We've experienced a prolonged period of excellent center play thanks to Kevin Mawae and then Nick Mangold.
In truth, centers are not the most popular first round selection. over the last 5 years only 3 centers have been selected in the first round of the NFL draft. Of 160 players selected in the first round over the last 5 years, only 3 were centers. Maurkice Pouncey in 2010 (Pittsburgh), Mike Pouncey in 2011 (Miami) and Travis Frederick in 2013 (Dallas).
Nick Mangold: - 141 Games Started, 1 Norse God Award, 1 Kick-Ass Beard, 9 Years of pure entertainment!
So this thread is all about celebrating the wonder that is Nick Mangold. Ever since being drafted #29 overall in the 2006 NFL draft, Mangold has provided excellent center play and anchored a line that has been downright awful, and an elite unit. He has played 141 games for the Jets, only missing three games in 9 years. In 6 of those years he's been selected to the Pro Bowl, in 2009 and 2010 he was selected First-Team All Pro.
Some people like Pro Football Focus statistics, some people don't, but here is how they rated Nick Mangold throughout his career as a Jet.
2007 - (First year stats were collected) #2 Center in the league.
2008 - #1 Center in the league
2009 - #1 Center in the league.
2010 - #2 Center in the league
2011 - #2 Center in the league
2012 - #6 Center in the league
2013 - #19 Center in the league
2014 - #1 Center in the league
Apart from a down year in 2013, where I don't remember him being as bad as the stats suggest, he has been as consistent as you get. The line in 2013 was poor in general, we had some real problems and that may have dragged Nick down. He communicates, he's a leader, he's aggressive and tough, he always plays 100% every single snap and you can see that he obviously loves the game.
There really isn't a great deal to say about Mangold, other than I hope he retires a Jet. in today's NFL it's so rare for players to start and finish their career with the same team, but Mangold has that opportunity. He's just turned 31 and was rated as the #1 Center in all of football. There are no signs of him slowing down, he's durable and it's vital to have him healthy when breaking in young and new guards in 2015.
Nick Mangold is without doubt one of my favourite players of all time and I think we can safely say that he is one of our finest first round selections, period. .