The fourth round was at one time a great round for the Jets. They got contributors like Jerricho Cotchery and Kerry Rhodes out of the fourth. How have they fared in more recent years? Let's take a look at fourth rounders from the past decade.
1. Leon Washington, 2006 (Last Year: 2)
For a stretch, Washington was an electric playmaker for the Jets. He developed into one of the league's premier kick returners. When the Jets actually utilized him on offense, he made plays there as well. His 64 yard run after a catch on Christmas in 2006 helped set up a game-winning field goal for the Jets in a game they needed to win to make the Playoffs. A serious leg injury and an ugly contract dispute led to a trade in Seattle in 2010. The Jets got a lot out of the pick they acquired from the Chiefs for head coach Herman Edwards, though.
2. Brad Smith, 2006 (Last Year: 3)
Smith never became much of a receiver. He did provide the Jets value playing effectively in a number of roles such as Wildcat quarterback, gadget weapon, return man, and special teams coverage ace. It was a unique skillset.
3. Bilal Powell, 2011 (Last Year 5)
Powell has been mostly unspectacular but solid during his five year career. He hasn't excellent in many areas but hasn't looked overmatched. It seemed like he started to find his niche as a receiving weapon late in 2015. Has he finally blossomed, or was it the product of a limited sample size? We will find out.
4. Dwight Lowery, 2008 (Last Year: 4)
Lowery was a versatile piece on defense who saw time at both cornerback and safety. He is still in the league and got a multiyear contract this spring eight years after he entered the league. While Lowery is not a star, I think it is fair to say he has had a successful career. Why the Jets traded him right before the 2011 season and entrusted Eric Smith with a starting job I will never be able to figure out.
5. Joe McKnight, 2010 (Last Year: 5)
McKnight had a stretch where he was a really effective kickoff returner, but he was a pretty big disappointment. He could never find a consistent role on offense. It started at his rookie minicamp where he was reportedly out of shape. No, Rex Ryan did him no favors with stunts like the brief "trade" to the defense. Still, this was a guy who underachieved. He was cut in training camp in 2013 at a time when he was still viewed as a productive returner. You got the feeling at the time that there were problems behind the scenes.
6. Bryce Petty (Last Year: NR)
Petty is a total blank slate. The Jets knew he was going to be a major project when they picked him from Baylor in the fourth round last year. Nothing was expected from him as a rookie. What would be a sign of progress in year two? Winning the backup job would be nice.
7. Dakota Dozier, 2014 (Last Year: 7)
Dozier is two years into his career. He hasn't looked very good in preseason action, and he hasn't gotten much of a look when the Jets have had open competitions or injuries on the interior line. He still can turn it around, but time is running out on him. It would have been nice to see more progress between years one and two.
8. Shaq Evans, 2014 (Last Year: 8)
Evans looked like a potential cut as a fourth round rookie in 2014. Then he got hurt and was stashed on IR. Evans ended up not making the 53 man roster in 2015. That means as a fourth round pick, he never played an actual game for the Jets. It wasn't like the Jets were exactly loaded with depth at wide receiver in 2015 either. Everybody knew how little production they got behind Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker.
9. Jalen Saunders, 2014 (Last Year: 9)
I'll put Evans ahead of Saunders, though, because at the time it was at least conceivable that Evans could become a starting receiver. Saunders' size was always going to limit him to being a gadget player and a returner. As Brad Smith showed us, this type of player could potentially be worth it in the fourth round. The problem with Saunders is that he wasn't particularly skilled at anything. He ended up lasting four games. He averaged 4.3 yards per punt return and muffed a pair. He also didn't catch a pass. In two years, five NFL organizations have let Saunders go, and he spent all of 2015 on a practice squad. Let's just say that early fourth round valuation the Jets put on him seemed to be wildly off. In the right hands, three fourth round picks in the same Draft can be a valuable weapon. I think it is fair to say those picks were not in the right hands in 2014.