The New York Jets probably didn’t spend the off-season in complete anguish, since they’re used to not winning Super Bowls and playoffs. While the team occasionally wins divisional titles (most recently in 2002) you have to go way back to 1968 to find their last championship win. Actually, the team’s first and only championship victory was record setting, as they became the first AFL team to defeat an NFL team as they triumphed over the Baltimore Colts. The 2007 season was less impressive as they sunk even lower than 2006, with a 4-12 record. The 49th season is upcoming…have the Jets prepared to make this season the beginning of change?
One way to find out is to examine the NFL draft record and any other signings that took place in the off-season. The team got off to a nice start by signing high profile players like offensive lineman Alan Faneca, linebacker Calvin Pace and right tackle Damien Woody. This large amount of money no doubt influenced some of the team’s draft picks. During the 2008 NFL Draft the team concentrated on filling in the missing spots and strengthening key positions. Some of the most memorable signings included Vernon Gholston as a defensive end for Ohio State, Purdue’s Dustin Keller as a tight end, Dwight Lowery as a cornerback from San José State and quarterback Erik Ainge from Tennessee. The team also acquired the talents of wide receiver Marcus Henry from Kansas and offensive tackle Nate Garner from Arkansas.
How have the draft choices for the New York Jets fared with die-hard New Yorker fans? Fans seem split on whether to blame management of the team or merely a lack of strong players. Some fans believe it’s not necessary that the Jets are doing anything wrong, but that most top name players are opposed to the idea of coming to the notorious New York team. As far as the draft, most fans were waiting for a powerhouse wide receiver pick, but were disappointed.
Vernon Gholston was a popular choice with most loyalists as he is a fast and aggressive player and is predicted to be great early in his career. Dustin Keller received a mixed reaction, positive on his abilities but questioned on why he was moved up for a draft choice. Dwight Lowery and Eric Ainge had generally good reviews, particularly Ainge, as another quarterback was overdue. Marcus Henry was named as part as one of the best team offenses in the sport in 2007 and is addressing the “wide out” position in this draft pick. Tight end Nate Garner also piqued some interest though he seemed to instill less confidence as a starter, and more as a filler for injuries later in the season.
Experts are predicting the New York Jets will continue to restructure until 2009 while New England easily takes the AFC East division. Will the Jets improve upon their previous season with these draft picks? Along with powerhouses Alan Faneca and Calvin Pace you may be surprised at the team’s momentum this season.