Once we reach the sixth round of the NFL Draft, the good prospects are few and far between. Hitting on a sixth round pick is like striking gold. It is turning an almost valueless asset into something worthwhile.
Here are Jets sixth round picks from the last decade.
1. Matt Slauson, 2009
The 2009 Draft was not a kind one to the Jets. Ill-fated trades to move up for Mark Sanchez and Shonn Greene left the Jets with only three picks. Slauson was the third of those picks. He was a success story in an otherwise miserable haul. He took over as a starter in his second year and provided the Jets three seasons of quality if unspectacular play at the guard position. Was he a Pro Bowl performer? No, on a good line he probably is the fourth or fifth best starter. That is still a nice find late in the Draft. The Jets inexplicably let him go after the 2012 season for under $1 million, and left guard has been an enormous hole since.
2. Drew Coleman, 2006
Coleman's Jets career was not spectacular, but by 2010 he had become a passable nickel defender. He was particularly effective as a blitzer out of the slot. Then Gene Smith in Jacksonville gave him a Gene Smith type free agent deal to a marginal player, and he was gone.
3. Joel Dreessen, 2005
Dreessen quietly put together an eight year NFL tight end career. Unfortunately, almost all of his production came elsewhere. Dreessen was cut after one season and five catches. He did not survive the coaching change to Eric Mangini. The Jets gave up on him too soon as he would record 153 catches and 19 touchdowns playing with Houston and Denver from 2007 through 2013. He also had experience as a long snapper so he could have provided value in an emergency situation. In the grand scheme of things, was losing out on Dreessen a big deal? No, but he would have been a nice depth piece at a low cost.
4. I.K. Enemkpali, 2014
There isn't a whole lot to separate the rest of the players on this list so I'll go with Enempkpali and his theoretical upside here. He had a big enough preseason to earn a spot on the roster as a rookie and impressed the coaches enough to get playing time near the end of his first season.
5. Cedric Houston, 2005
Houston's running style drew some comparisons to the just-departed Lamont Jordan. When injuries sidelined Curtis Martin late in 2005, he got a chance but wasn't very productive. He retired after two NFL seasons. He did have one big game, running for 108 yards in a blowout win over the Packers in 2006.
6. Josh Bush, 2012
Given the lack of depth the Jets had at the safety position, Bush had every chance to carve out a role for himself if not a starting spot in 2013. He ended up playing less than 100 snaps for the Jets before his release during his third season.
7. Jacob Bender, 2007
Bender was a small school lineman from Nicholls State. There was some hope for him as a late round sleeper based on a strong performance against Nebraska and first round pick Adam Carriker. Given the way Carriker's career turned out, that was more impressive then than it is now. Bender was active for two games in his only season with the Jets. He didn't make it to his second year. Remember how bad Adrien Clarke was at left guard in 2007? Bender actually lost a training camp position battle to him. I know he was a small school sixth round rookie, but still...
8. Quincy Enunwa, 2014
Enunwa spent most of his rookie year on the practice squad, but he did get called up to the big squad for the last week of the season.
9. Marcus Henry, 2008
Henry, part of an Orange Bowl winner in college, spent two games inactive on the roster at the start of 2008 and then spent the next two years on the practice squad. He has put together a career as a receiver in the CFL, though.
10. William Campbell, 2013
Have you ever disliked a player for reasons that aren't that player's fault? That's how I feel about J.R. Sweezy. The Seahawks took him late in the 2012 Draft and converted the defensive lineman into a starter at guard. John Idzik left Seattle, and thought he'd do it again with Campbell. Campbell, one of the most sought after high school recruits in the country at one time, never came close to living up to the hype in college. The Jets took him in the sixth round and hoped to convert him to guard. It's rare a sixth round pick ever feels like a reach, but this one did. Campbell lasted one year on the roster and then was cut after never playing a snap.
11. Terrance Ganaway, 2012; Robert Griffin, 2012, Tajh Boyd, 2014 (tie)
Ganaway and Griffin were picked in 2012 as Mike Tannenbaum seemingly wanted to put together pieces of Baylor's explosive 2011 offense who weren't Robert Griffin III. Boyd was a sixth round pick who probably would have been better served entering the Draft a year earlier following a dynamic bowl performance. None of these players made it out of their first training camp or was moved to the Jets practice squad.