Jets’ Former 1st-Round Pick Named Team’s ‘Biggest Draft Mistake’

New York Jets

Getty A group of New York Jets players competing in the middle of an NFL game.

We are firmly in the midst of NFL draft season and that normally brings up some bad memories for New York Jets fans.

The 33rd Team stoked the flames on Twitter by revealing “every team’s biggest draft mistake.”

For Gang Green, they selected wide receiver Johnny ‘Lam’ Jones. He was the No. 2 overall pick in the first round of the 1980 NFL draft.

Tale of the Tape: Jets WR Johnny Jones

Jones earned the nickname “Lam” when he committed to play college football at Texas. There were two players named Johnny Jones on the team so then Longhorns head coach Darrell Royal decided to give them nicknames to differentiate the two.

Johnny “Lam” Jones and Johnny “Ham” Jones were given their nicknames based on their own hometowns.

Jones started at Texas as a running back and eventually transitioned in the middle of his collegiate career to wide receiver.

In 1976 he rushed for 624 yards, scored five touchdowns, and averaged 5.3 yards per clip.

Then over the next three seasons from 1977 through 1979 delivered as a wide receiver in a run-oriented offense:

  • 85 receptions
  • 1,603 receiving yards
  • 14 touchdowns
  • 18.9 yards per reception

That production was good enough to warrant being one of the top picks in the 1980 NFL draft.

At the NFL level with the Jets, he only played five professional seasons.

Jones had injury issues and went from starting to the bench. He caught 138 receptions for 2,322 receiving yards, and caught 13 touchdowns.

The thing that makes him one of the bigger busts in Jets history isn’t only because of his marginal production. It was also who the Jets passed on to take him instead.

Gang Green traded up to the No. 2 pick and planned on taking offensive tackle Anthony Munoz. However, the Jets’ medical team recommended against it because of his reconstructive knee surgery.

Munoz went one pick later at No. 3 to the Cincinnati Bengals. Munoz would go on to have a 13-year NFL career and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998.

Ouch, that stings.

Plenty of Other Candidates for ‘Worst’ Jets Draft Pick Ever

There is a compelling case to be made that “Lam” is the worst, but there are plenty of candidates in Jets history.

Vernon Gholston was taken with the No. 6 overall pick in the first round of the 2008 NFL draft. VG and I ended up with the same amount of sacks in our NFL career, zero.

The former Ohio State product lasted three seasons with the Jets. He appeared in 45 games and made five starts.

Gholston made 42 tackles, three tackles for loss, and had one quarterback hit.

The Jets made back-to-back AFC Championship games in 2009 and 2010 in spite of Gholston’s impact.

Imagine if Gholston was even a halfway decent pass rusher in those games or during those runs. Perhaps that could’ve been the difference in making a Super Bowl one of those seasons.

So when you consider the pick that was used, the production (or lack thereof), and what the impact could’ve meant Gholston should be the true king of Jets draft busts all-time.

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