It’s no secret that the Jets have had their fair share of high-profile draft busts recently. After a decade of disappointing drafts with GMs Mike Tannenbaum and Mike Maccagnan at the helm, the Jets hope to turn a new leaf with new GM Joe Douglas. Here, we take a look at the 5 biggest Jets draft busts in the 2010s.
5. Quinton Coples, EDGE, 16th overall in 2012
The Jets made Quinton Coples their first round selection in 2012, hoping that the former North Carolina Tar Heel could beef up their pass rush after finishing 17th in sacks the year prior. Although Coples did give solid production for most of his rookie contract, he only lasted 4 seasons with the Jets, and never had more than 7 sacks in a season. Coples was removed from the starting defense during the 2015 season, and never had another sack in an NFL game again. After he was cut by the Jets, he bounced around the league with the Dolphins and Rams, and has been out of the NFL since 2016.
4. Devin Smith, WR 37th overall in 2015
The Jets went into the 2015 Draft with a need at WR3. With Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall already on roster, they opted for the speedy Ohio State product in the 2nd round. Smith looked like a great complement to Marshall and Decker on paper, as a lack of speed was the main weakness of the Jets’ WR room at the time. However, Smith never found success in New York, and failed to catch 10 or more passes in a season. After 2 lackluster campaigns, he was cut in 2016. Smith attempted an NFL comeback this past season with the Cowboys, and even scored a 51 yard touchdown. It’s too early to tell if he can stick in the NFL, but it’s clear he was the wrong choice at #37.
3. Jachai Polite, EDGE, 68th overall in 2019
Although Polite was picked the lowest out of all the players on this list, his flameout was undoubtedly the ugliest. After being selected 68th overall by the Jets, Polite was cut in preseason for being late to meetings, and an overall lack of responsibility. Throughout training camp and preseason, Polite accrued over $100,000 in fines before Joe Douglas finally decided to cut ties with the young pass rusher. Polite never played a down for New York, and bounced around a few practice squads last season. He currently is under a reserve/future contract with the Rams.
2. Christian Hackenberg, QB, 51st overall in 2016
Christian Hackenberg was one of the most polarizing prospects in the 2016 Draft. He burst onto the scene as a freshman, throwing for 20 TDs and only 10 INTs, and setting the single-game passing yards record for a Penn State freshman. He then struggled mightily in his sophomore and junior campaigns, letting him fall to the Jets in the 2nd round. Hackenberg had all the arm talent in the world, and was a strong pre-snap processor, but he never developed NFL-level accuracy. The Jets never even let Hackenberg play a regular season snap, and after 2 seasons in New York, he was shipped to Oakland for a conditional 6th round pick. After not making the Raiders roster, he had stints with the Eagles, Bengals, and even the Memphis Express of the AAF. He still has yet to play a down in a regular season NFL game.
1. Dee Milliner, CB, 9th overall in 2013
After a successful college career at Alabama, Dee Milliner entered the 2013 NFL Draft as a top prospect. Millner excelled in zone coverage, with top-flight instincts and a blazing 4.37 40 time. Millner earned a starting outside CB role immediately as a rookie, but was benched on 3 separate occasions due to poor performance. Milliner finished his rookie season with 3 picks in the final 2 weeks, giving the Jets optimism in the young corner. But over the next few seasons, injuries and poor play derailed Milliner’s career. After suffering an ankle sprain, wrist surgery, and an achilles tendon injury, he was cut in 2016, and never signed another NFL contract.
Although there were many more busts this decade for the Jets, we couldn’t fit them all into one piece. Between Geno Smith, Darron Lee and Calvin Pryor, we have plenty of material for a part 2 to this article. After a decade full of draft miscues, let’s hope Joe Douglas doesn’t make the same mistakes as his predecessors.