The 2019 NFL Draft is in the books, and the Jets have a fresh crop of six draft selections ready to enter the building. The question of who the Jets would be bringing in has been answered. From here on out, the question will be, “how much value did the Jets get out of their 2019 draft class?”
How likely is it the Jets look back fondly on their 2019 class? I decided to take a look back at history, and figure out what it could tell us about the likelihood of each Jets draft pick panning out.
QUINNEN WILLIAMS, ROUND 1, #3 OVERALL
Prior to Quinnen Williams, there have been six players in Combine history who met the following criteria:
- Weighed 290+
- Ran a forty of <4.85
- Aged 22 or younger
- Drafted in the top twelve
Those players were J.J. Watt, Lane Johnson, Fletcher Cox, Trent Williams, Mario Williams, and Kevin Williams. Every member of that group has made at least two Pro Bowls. As a whole, they have combined for 28 Pro Bowls and 19 All-Pro appearances.
In addition, Williams became just the third defensive linemen selected in the top three to have registered a broad jump length of at least 112” while weighing in at a minimum of 295 pounds. The other two were Mario Williams and Gerald McCoy, who have combined for 10 Pro Bowls and seven All-Pro appearances.
We can keep going! Williams ran the forty in 4.83 seconds at 303 pounds. The only other player to do that and be selected in the top ten was Kevin Williams, who went on to earn six Pro Bowl appearances and five All-Pro appearances.
The overall pool of players in Williams’ boat, in terms of draft position, is less promising. The likelihood of these players becoming elite is certainly strong, but far from guaranteed.
From 2000-2014, 16 defensive linemen were picked in the top five. Half of them made at least one Pro Bowl, and six have made at least three. Six have been named a first-team All-Pro at least once, and only two have been named a first-team All-Pro at least three times.
As you’ll learn throughout the rest of this post, those are actually staggeringly high odds of reaching stardom.
JACHAI POLITE, ROUND 3, #68 OVERALL
On Day 2, most teams are still looking for players with star upside. Let’s take a look at the rates that a third round linebacker has hit certain levels of longevity, and the rates at which they appeared in Pro Bowls. 74 linebackers were taken in the third round from 2000-2014.
- 44 have been a primary starter for at least one season (59%)
- 34 have been a primary starter for at least two seasons (46%)
- 29 have been a primary starter for at least three seasons (39%)
- 23 have been a primary starter for at least four seasons (31%)
- 16 have been a primary starter for at least five seasons (22%)
- 5 have made at least one Pro Bowl (7%)
- 3 have made multiple Pro Bowls (4%)
This data helps put into perspective just how safe a top five pick can be relative to a selection throughout the rest of the draft. Seven of the 16 defensive linemen picked top five from 2000-14 made multiple Pro Bowls, or about 43.8%. That’s nearly eleven times higher than the amount of players to make multiple Pro Bowls out of the third round linebacker crop seen above.
The Pro Bowl can be a popularity contest, but when it comes to longevity, the top five still looks impressive. 14 of the 16 top five defensive linemen have provided at least four seasons as a primary starter, or about 87.5%. While still not a guarantee, it’s a rate of success that appears tremendous when compared to the rest of the draft, as seen above.
Back to Polite, there’s a nice history of elite third round pass rushers. Justin Houston, Cliff Avril, Charles Johnson, Justin Tuck, and Olivier Vernon were all third round selections.
CHUMA EDOGA, ROUND 3, #92 OVERALL
79 offensive linemen were taken in the third round from 2000-2014.
- 64 have been a primary starter for at least one season (81%)
- 51 have been a primary starter for at least two seasons (65%)
- 46 have been a primary starter for at least three seasons (58%)
- 39 have been a primary starter for at least four seasons (49%)
- 32 have been a primary starter for at least five seasons (41%)
- 11 have made at least one Pro Bowl (14%)
- 6 have made multiple Pro Bowls (8%)
It seems Edoga is part of a much more favorable pool than Polite. Third round offensive line selections have tended to have a much higher rate of success than third round linebacker selections.
Interestingly enough, the #92 slot where the Jets took Edoga has a history of producing solid offensive line selections. Four offensive linemen were taken in the slot from 2001-2014 — Casey Rabach (2001, BAL), Shawn Lauvao (2010, CLE), Joe Barksdale (2011, OAK), and Trai Turner (2014, CAR). All four have had enjoyed at least five seasons as a primary starter.
In 2018, the Steelers selected Chukwuma Okorafor at #92 overall. He spent most of the year as a backup, but found his way on to the field for a total of 155 snaps across 13 games. He even started a game at right tackle.
TREVON WESCO, ROUND 4, #121 OVERALL
As we move into the Day 3 Jets selections, let’s change up the angle a bit. These players are probably not going to be counted upon to become long-term starters. Because of that, instead of looking at the likelihood they become starters or stars, we’ll take a look at their chances of longevity.
30 tight ends were selected in the fourth round from 2000-2014. They’ve gone on to play an average of 69.2 games over 5.6 seasons in the league, an average of 12.3 per season. 12 of the 30 (40%) failed to play 40 games in the league. On the positive side, 9 of the 30 (30%) have played at least 80 games.
Wesco was taken by the Jets for his blocking ability. The team is hoping he can thrive in that niche role for a long time. Fortunately for Wesco and the Jets, there has been a history of successful blocking tight ends taken in the fourth round.
Seven fourth-round tight ends taken from 2000-2014 have been able to play at least 75 games in the league while averaging fewer than two touchdowns per season.
- Brandon Manumaleuna (selected 129th by the Rams in 2001. 158 career games, 10 seasons, 13 touchdowns)
- Justin Peelle (selected 103rd by the Chargers in 2002. 151 career games, 10 seasons, 12 touchdowns)
- Jacob Tamme (selected 127th by the Colts in 2008. 130 career games, nine seasons, 14 touchdowns)
- Luke Stocker (selected 104th by the Buccaneers in 2011. 99 career games, eight seasons, five touchdowns)
- Clay Harbor (selected 125th by the Eagles in 2010. 98 career games, seven seasons, eight touchdowns)
- Levine Toilolo (selected 133rd by the Falcons in 2013. 95 career games, six seasons, eight touchdowns)
- Dion Sims (selected 106th by the Dolphins in 2013. 78 career games, six seasons, nine touchdowns)
It seems the Jets were not exactly trail blazers with their idea of going for a block-first tight end in the fourth. There’s a solid track record of success with that position in the fourth round.
BLAKE CASHMAN, ROUND 5, #157 OVERALL
72 linebackers were selected in the fifth round from 2000-2014. They’ve gone on to play an average of 46.2 games over 4.1 seasons in the league, an average of 11.3 per season. 39 of the 72 (54%) failed to play 40 games in the league. 23 of them (32%) couldn’t even hit 16 games. Six never played in a single game.
However, an impressive 19 of the 72 (26%) have played at least 100 games.
Similar to Wesco, Cashman was probably not selected by the Jets with “future star upside” in mind. They most likely envision him as a core special teams contributor right out of the gate, and potentially a quality long-term backup.
There’s been a small dosage of fifth round linebackers to find long-term success as a special teams contributor. Tank Carder, Tim Shaw, Najee Goode, and Will Herring all played at least 75 games and five seasons in primarily special teams roles.
If circumstances ever throw Cashman into the mix as a starter, there is a path of round five successes for him to follow. One of the best examples is a man who will be a teammate of Cashman’s this year, Avery Williamson, the 151st pick of the 2014 draft. Williamson, Brandon Marshall, Tahir Whitehead, and Telvin Smith are all forging successful starting careers in the current NFL after falling to the fifth round. Clark Haggans, Scott Fujita, Andra Davis, Michael Boley, and Hunter Hillenmeyer are among the early-2000s fifth round success stories at linebacker.
BLESSUAN AUSTIN, ROUND 6, #196 OVERALL
109 defensive backs were selected in the sixth round from 2000-2014. They’ve gone on to play an average of 42.6 games over 3.7 seasons in the league, an average of 11.4 per season. 61 of the 109 (56%) failed to play 40 games in the league. 35 of them (32%) couldn’t hit 16 games. 16 never played in a single game.
Only 13 players of the bunch (12%) have been a primary starter for more than one season. Just four (4%) have started for at least five seasons.
By this point of the draft, success rates have dipped tremendously, but there are still success stories to be found.
Justin Bethel, the 177th pick in the 2012 draft, made three Pro Bowls with the Cardinals as a special teams contributor. Hank Milligan, the 188th pick in the 2003 draft, also made a Pro Bowl as a special teams contributor, with the Chargers in 2005.
Only two sixth round defensive backs have made a Pro Bowl at a starting defensive position. 2006 Colts draft pick Antoine Bethea, the 207th overall selection that year, is a three-time Pro Bowler as a safety. Yeremiah Bell, taken 213th by Miami in 2003, made a single Pro Bowl as a safety. He would start all 16 games in his lone season as a Jet in 2012.
Which of these picks will last the longest with the Jets?
This poll is closed