The Jets are the owners of the third pick in the 2019 NFL Draft - for now. As they hold the selection for what is currently poised to be their second straight year picking out of that slot, let’s take a look at the recent history of the selection.
2018 - Sam Darnold, New York Jets (via Indianapolis)
Most readers here are very familiar with this story. The Jets, hungry for a franchise quarterback, pulled the trigger on a trade-up early in draft season (March 17th, to be exact) in order to ensure themselves one of the top three passers on the board.
The Colts slid down to the sixth spot and used the selection on guard Quenton Nelson, who was named an All-Pro in his rookie season. In exchange for sliding down three spots, the Colts received the Jets’ 2018 and 2019 second round picks in addition to Seattle’s 2018 second round pick, acquired by the Jets via the Sheldon Richardson trade.
The Colts used New York’s 37th overall selection on Braden Smith, who started 13 games for the team at right tackle. They traded Seattle’s 49th overall pick to Philadelphia (which the Eagles used on Dallas Goedert) in exchange for the 52nd pick (Kemoko Turay) and the 169th pick (Jordan Wilkins).
This year, the Jets’ second round pick fell at 34th overall, the second pick of the round. That selection remains in the hands of Indianapolis.
2017 - Solomon Thomas, San Francisco 49ers (via Chicago)
The third pick in the 2017 Draft was initially owned by the Bears. On draft night, Chicago gave up a significant haul to move up one spot and go get Mitchell Trubisky. The Niners slid down to three and selected Solomon Thomas, whose career to date has been disappointing with only four sacks in 30 games.
In addition to the third pick, the 49ers received Chicago’s third and fourth round selections in 2017, as well as a 2018 third round selection.
The 2017 third round pick from Chicago fell at 67th overall. San Francisco would later trade it to New Orleans, who used it on Alvin Kamara. In exchange, the 49ers received a seventh round pick (Adrian Colbert) and a 2018 second round pick, which later they would trade to Washington for the 44th and 142nd picks in the 2018 Draft, used on Dante Pettis and D.J. Reed.
The 2017 fourth round pick from Chicago fell at 111th overall. San Francisco used it in a trade with Seattle to get back into the first round, moving up from 34th to 31st. The 49ers would select Reuben Foster in that spot.
There wasn’t any trade drama surrounding the 2018 third round pick the 49ers received from the Bears. It fell at 70th overall, and they used it on Fred Warner.
2016 - Joey Bosa, San Diego Chargers
Ah, finally, a third overall pick without any wheeling and dealing involved.
The Chargers were awarded the third pick in the 2016 Draft following a 4-12 season in 2015. After Jared Goff and Carson Wentz went off the board with the first two picks, the Chargers made their final first round pick as representatives of San Diego, taking the most saught-after defensive prospect in Joey Bosa.
Bosa’s first summer in the NFL was mired by a contract dispute, but since then, he’s lived up to the hype while on the field. He’s racked up 28.5 sacks in 35 career regular season games, placing him third in the league in sacks per game since 2016. Only Chandler Jones and Aaron Donald have him beat.
Bosa and Melvin Ingram now form one of the most feared passing rush duos in the league.
Interestingly enough, the possibility exists that in under a month’s time, a Bosa brother could again be taken with the third pick.
2015 - Dante Fowler, Jacksonville Jaguars
Just like the Chargers would do a year later, the Jaguars stood pat at third overall and took the first defensive player off the board after quarterbacks went with the top two picks.
Jacksonville earned the third pick in the 2015 Draft after a 3-13 season - Tampa Bay and Tennessee had them beat for the top two selections with two wins apiece.
With the third pick, they took Florida pass rusher Dante Fowler.
The selection ultimately was not very successful for the Jaguars. Fowler missed his entire rookie season, and then put together three uninspiring seasons in Jacksonville before being traded to the Rams during his fourth year.
Fowler had only 14 sacks in 39 regular season games for the Jaguars, never elevating to a regular starting role or becoming nearly the player that Jacksonville hoped they were getting when they took the first defensive player in the 2015 Draft.
The Jaguars received two draft picks from the Rams in exchange for Fowler. One of them was a conditional third round selection in 2019, which fell at 98th overall and remains in possession of Jacksonville. The Jaguars also received a 2020 fifth round pick.
2014 - Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars
The first of two consecutive ultimately unsuccessful third overall picks for Jacksonville was used on Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles.
The Jaguars gave Bortles all the time in the world to become their franchise savior, but he was never able to make that leap and pull himself into the upper echelons of the league. He started 73 regular season games for the Jaguars and posted a record of 24-49, losing more regular season games as a starter than any other quarterback in the league since 2014.
Among the 24 quarterbacks with at least 1500 passing attempts since 2014, Bortles owns the worst passer rating of them all, at only 80.6.
Jacksonville cut ties with Bortles following the 2018 season, and he is now a member of the Los Angeles Rams.