Defensive stars and rushing talents have been chosen with the 154th overall pick of the NFL draft, the New York Jets’ penultimate pick.
The only NFL draft tradition more enduring than mocks is looking back at the selection gatherings of the past.
Jet X looks back on the nine spots where the New York Jets are slated to select the coming draft and highlights the best players chosen in each role.
The countdown continues with the 154th overall choice, obtained from the New York Giants in the trade for Leonard Williams…
1977: RB Wilbert Montgomery, Philadelphia
The Abilene Christian alum made a name for himself as the NAIA’s all-time leader in rushing touchdowns (76). His propensity for breaking record carried over to the Eagles, as he departed as the team’s all-time leader in rushing (6,538) until he was passed by LeSean McCoy.
Montgomery’s finest came in the 1980-81 NFC title game when he torched the Cowboys for 194 yards in a 20-7 victory, allowing the Eagles to advance to their first Super Bowl.
In the year prior, Montgomery led the NFL in yards from scrimmage (2,006).
1996: LB Zach Thomas, Miami
Despite a plethora of college football honors at Texas Tech, a tough day at the combine relegated him to the fifth-round. The Dolphins took a chance on him after special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff scouted him personally.
Originally called upon to serve as a special teams defender, Thomas impressed head coach Jimmy Johnson and wound up earning a starting role in his rookie season. He won the AFC’s Defensive Rookie of the Year award in a class that included Ray Lewis and Lawyer Milloy.
It kicked off a career that featured five All-Pro nominations and seven Pro Bowl invites.
2002: OL Jonathan Goodwin, Jets
The Jets welcomed Goodwin into the league out of Michigan. Finally granted a spot in the starting lineup in 2005, Goodwin played it into a new contract from the New Orleans Saints the following year. He would spend the next decade between New Orleans and San Francisco, starting two Super Bowls and triumphing in the 44th edition.
During his NFC days, Goodwin was part of two teams that won the short-lived Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award bestowed to the best offensive line in football. He was one of only four linemen to be on two such teams.
2004: RB Michael Turner, San Diego
It was easy for Turner to get lost in the mix with the Chargers boasting all kinds of offensive talents, including showstopping fellow rusher LaDainian Tomlinson. But Turner would up making a name for himself, starting with an 83-yard rushing score that helped seal San Diego’s December 2005 win over an undefeated Colts squad.
After four seasons as a Tomlinson spell option, Turner inked a $34.5 million deal with the Atlanta Falcons. He set an Atlanta single-game rushing record in his debut, en route to a 1,699-yard season to go with 17 scores.
Turner still holds the franchise-best mark of 60 rushing touchdowns and is behind only Gerald Riggs in Falcon yardage.
2011: CB Richard Sherman, Seattle
It didn’t take long for Sherman to go from fifth-round afterthought to one of the most renowned defenders of the 2010s. Alongside Robert Saleh, then a defensive quality control coach, Sherman was part of the infamous “Legion of Boom” that took the NFL by storm and won a championship in an era where offensive antics were taking over.
When the band broke up, Sherman turned to one of the teams he most famously victimized: San Francisco. Reunited with Saleh, Sherman got his groove back and wound up being one of the biggest supporters of his move to New York, leading many to speculate that he could be targeted once the free agency process begins.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags