Memo to Jets: Beware of the 18th pick

May, 6, 2014
May 6
10:00
AM ET
Warning to New York Jets fans: If you want to avoid a sobering slice of reality before Thursday's draft, click away from this page.

If the Jets stay put in the first round, they won't be picking from a sweet spot in the draft, that's for sure. You might say the 18th pick is a virtual wasteland for star players. According to Pro-Football-Reference.com, only one player over the past 33 drafts has reached multiple Pro Bowls -- Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey, the 18th pick in 2010. You have to go all the way back to 1980 to find the next one -- Washington Redskins Hall of Fame wide receiver Art Monk.

That's a pretty large gap, 1980 to 2010. As a matter of fact, only two other players in that span made a single Pro Bowl -- defensive end Will Smith (New Orleans Saints, drafted in 2004) and defensive end Alfred Williams (Cincinnati Bengals, 1991). San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid, drafted last year at No. 18, is credited with a Pro Bowl, but he made it as an alternate, so that doesn't count in our book.

Obviously, the Pro Bowl isn't everything. The Baltimore Ravens drafted quarterback Joe Flacco with the 18th pick in 2008, and he led them to a Super Bowl title. Can't argue with that. There have been other good players at 18, namely cornerback Leon Hall (Bengals, 2007), offensive tackle Jeff Backus (Detroit Lions, 2001) and quarterback Chad Pennington (Jets, 2000). But for the most part, it hasn't been a good spot in the first round.

Bobby Carpenter. Erasmus James. Matt Stinchcomb. Butch Woolfolk. And so on.

Since Monk, only three wide receivers have gone at 18 -- Eddie Kennison (St. Louis Rams, 1996), Mike Sherrard (Dallas Cowboys, 1986) and Willie Gault (Chicago Bears, 1983). The Jets could end up picking a receiver. If they believe in karma, they might want to consider trading out.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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