A few days ago, I ranked Jets first round picks of the past decade. I thought it might be a fun idea to move onto second round picks. I was wrong. Clearly I forgot recent Jets second round history if I thought this was going to be fun. I did it anyway so if you can stand a little pain, the rankings I compiled are below.
1. David Harris, 2007
Despite the recent futility of the Jets in the second round, the selection of Harris eight years ago stands out as a success. An injury to Jonathan Vilma his rookie year opened up a spot for Harris in the starting lineup, and he hasn't given it up since. He registered 127 tackles despite only starting nine games as a rookie. That is still his career high for tackles and was impressive considering how poor the defensive line was in 2007, requiring him to constantly get off blocks. Harris continued to be a high level performer through his rookie contract. He even made Second Team All Pro in 2009. Over the last four years, there has been a decline in his play. He remains a plus linebacker and a legitimate starter. I'd take a second round pick like Harris any day of the week.
2. Jace Amaro, 2014
Tight end is a difficult position to master. With all of the responsibilities, it is like learning multiple positions. Amaro's 38 catches for 345 yards in his first year are comparable to the stat lines of many successful tight ends. At the very least, he looks like a quality pro, and his ceiling is much higher. He is very difficult to bring down and is a good athlete for a guy of his size. Still, the fact a 38 catch rookie season alone is enough to get him the second ranking on this list shows how bad this is going to get.
3. Justin Miller, 2005
I think by almost any account, Miller was a massive disappointment. He didn't develop at all as a cornerback prospect. How does he get this high then? Any sort of contribution can make a player rise up this list because of all the non-contributors in recent Jets second round history. For a stretch, Miller was a top kickoff return man. He led the league in 2006 with a 28.3 yard average and made the Pro Bowl. A knee injury in 2007 essentially ended his Jets career. Leon Washington took over and did a good enough job to make Miller expendable.
4. Mike Nugent, 2005
This is one of the most maligned picks in Jets history, which was saying something. Had Nugent been as good as advertised and been the next Vinatieri, it would have led to an interesting debate about what a kicker is really worth. He didn't. His time with the Jets was inconsistent, and Jay Feely kicked well enough replacing an injured Nugent in 2008 that the Jets moved on. He did at least have one very good season where it seemed like he might make good on that promise. In 2006, he hit 88.9% of his field goals. Even more impressive, he missed one kick over the final fifteen games after missing two field goals and an extra point in the opener.
5. Geno Smith, 2013
I know some people are going to freak out because I put the kicker over Geno, but I don't see much to suggest Geno has earned a higher ranking at this point. He doesn't have much on his resume that tops a pretty good season of kicking. There were a couple of game-winning drives in 2013. The grand total is a 57% passer with an 11-18 record and nine more interceptions than touchdowns. Smith has an outside chance of getting better and rising on this list, but time is running out.
6. Kellen Clemens, 2006
It is a testament to how good the rest of the 2006 Draft was for the Jets that people consider it a great haul despite whiffing so badly on a quarterback so early. It could be worse. The Jets could have taken Matt Leinart over D'Brickashaw Ferguson. Clemens was not a good pick, though. He took over for an ineffective Chad Pennington in 2007, starting eight games. During that time, he played like a poor man's Geno Smith, barely completing over half his passes and tossing 10 interceptions to 5 touchdowns. There were a few clutch drives, and his 3-5 starting record beat Pennington's 1-7. It wasn't enough to convince the Jets to go into 2008 with Kellen as their starter, though. This led to the trade for Brett Favre and then the trade up for Mark Sanchez a year later. Some might say that Clemens didn't get a chance. I say the coaching staffs saw plenty of him up close. If he couldn't convince them to give him a chance, this said something about his ability. Any doubt was erased during a brief miserable stretch in 2009 playing in place of an injured Sanchez.
7. Stephen Hill, 2012
Hill was the very definition of a workout warrior. He had incredible physical tools and was one of the stars of the Combine. He also had 49 receptions in three college seasons. This did not stop the Jets from trading up in the second round for Hill in 2012. The rest is history we would all like to forget. Hill only made it two seasons in New York. He might have been a great athlete, but he had no football skills. He had bad hands. He couldn't run routes. He hated contact. He couldn't impose his physical advantage on cornerbacks at all. This is the part where I regrettably must inform you the next receiver selected was Alshon Jeffery.
8. Vladimir Ducasse, 2010
During Mike Tannenbaum's tenure, from time to time you'd hear that as a UMass alum he had the inside scoop on players from that school. It is worth noting that in the UMass Draft class of 2010 that saw Victor Cruz go to the Giants as an undrafted free agent, the Jets invested a second round pick in Ducasse. Ducasse had every chance to make it as a Jet. In three of his four years, an incumbent starter was not returning on the offensive line. The Jets would have loved a young homegrown player to step in. The Jets cut Alan Faneca hours after taking Ducasse, suggesting they saw Vlad as his replacement. It did not happen. Ducasse struggled to get on the field. He had chances at tackle. He had chances at guard. He couldn't block. In 2013, the Jets entered the season with little choice but to start Vlad, making the fourth year player a starter for the first time in his career. It took him four games to lose the job to Brian Winters, a rookie who was not ready. At least Hill had a few moments where it looked like he might make good on his promise (the games against Buffalo). It's tough to get less bang for your buck than the Jets got from Ducasse.