Jerome Bettis, Best 10th Picks Ever, NY Jets
Jerome Bettis, Pittsburgh Steelers, Getty Images

Six Hall of Famers appear in the 10th overall slot, including a New York legend

The New York Jets are set to come to Las Vegas’ NFL Draft podium nine times between April 28 and 30. In celebration and anticipation, Jets X-Factor looks back at the finest names chosen in their respective current slots.

With draft day finally upon us, we conclude our countdown with the Jets’ opening Thursday picks, which come in at No. 4 and No. 10. Such high-profile picks have produced many legends of the game, so, for brevity’s sake, we treat you to the list of confirmed Hall-of-Famers the Jets hope to contribute towards on Thursday night.

1958: DT Alex Karras, Detroit

As one of the most fearsome defensive linemen in the NFL, some could argue that Karras was literally larger than life. In addition to his active social life, Karras doubled as a professional wrestler and nearly turned down the NFL to take on such duties full-time after his time at Iowa.

Karras instead ventured to the Motor City, where he spent a dozen seasons with the Lions and became equally renowned for his off-the-field exploits. Though Karras was the first player in the NFL history to be suspended for gambling in 1963, he nonetheless left a sizable mark on game day, as he is unofficially credited with 100 sacks in his career.

After football and prior to a posthumous Hall of Famer election in 2020, Karras developed a sizable acting reel, his most famous role arguably being that of redeemed villain Mongo in Mel Brooks’ renowned satire “Blazing Saddles”.

1960: T Ron Mix, Baltimore

Plenty of the names on our draft countdown are here because they spurned the AFL to play in the NFL, but Mix switched things up in 1960, denying the Colts for a chance to instead play for the Los Angeles Chargers. He played a role in the Chargers’ early success, which included an AFL title in 1963.

According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which welcomed in the USC alum in 1979, only two holding penalties were called against Mix, who was also the second-ever AFL representative in Canton following fellow former Bolt Lance Alworth.

1961: CB Herb Adderley, NY Titans

Chosen by the Jets’ ancestors as a running back, Adderley was the last of three consecutive Hall of Famers chosen in the early stages of the 1961 AFL Draft after Mike Ditka and Billy Shaw. Only Buffalo’s Shaw actually played in the league, with Adderley instead joining the NFL’s Green Bay Packers.

The late Michigan State alum was converted into a defender, where he went on to amass 39 interceptions, which doesn’t include the first returned for a touchdown in Super Bowl history, doing so in the second edition against the Oakland Raiders.

Though he was disillusioned by his later NFL seasons in Dallas, Adderley nonetheless played a major in the formation of the Cowboys’ famed Doomsday Defense. To date, the 1980 Canton inductee is one of four players (alongside) Tom Brady, Forrest Gregg, and Fuzzy Thurston) to own six NFL championship rings, including three Super Bowl titles.

1982: RB Marcus Allen, LA Raiders

Raiders and Chiefs fans can’t agree on much, but they can both appreciate the efforts of Allen, who spent his 16-year NFL career between the AFC West rivals. The USC alum became one of the first well-known dual-threat running backs, amassing 8,454 yards from scrimmage and 144 end zone visits.

Of note, Allen is one of four Heisman Trophy winners to also win the Super Bowl’s MVP Award, earning the latter through a historic performance in the 18th edition’s 38-9 win over Washington. Allen not only set a single-game yardage record (191, since broken by Timmy Smith) but earned most of that tally through a 74-yard rush to glory that was the longest such play in the contest’s history (since broken by Willie Parker).

Allen still holds multiple NFL records, including the most consecutive seasons with multiple rushing scores (16). His league-best 12 touchdowns in his first year in Kansas City allowed him to become the oldest rusher in NFL history to reach double-digits (37).

1987: DB Rod Woodson, Pittsburgh

Had the course of sports history been skewed just an inch, Woodson might’ve been representing the United States at the Olympics after a stellar track and field career at Purdue yielded All-American honors.

He instead went on to play more NFL games than any other defensive back (238, while also working with a secondary-record 11 Pro Bowls) and his 71 interceptions are third-most all-time.

Woodson, whose NFL journey was spent between Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Baltimore (where he won Super Bowl XXXV), and Oakland, also wound up visiting the end zone more than several receivers, leading all defensive scorers with 12.

1993: RB Jerome Bettis, LA Rams

Before he was “The Bus”, Bettis was the literal “Battering Ram”, bruising his way to four-digit yardage seasons in each of his first two years out of Notre Dame.

The team’s move to St. Louis and desire to turn him into a fullback partly led to his shift to Pittsburgh, where Bettis became one of the most recognizable and reliable faces in football, taking his motorized nickname down the path of 10,571 yards in black and yellow.

Bettis went out in style during his final campaign, as the Steelers took home Super Bowl XL in his hometown of Detroit after the 2005 season. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame a decade later.

Other notable 10th picks

  • 1962: QB John Hadl, Detroit
  • 1971: LB Isiah Robertson, LA Rams
  • 1985: WR Al Toon, Jets
  • 1991: WR Herman Moore, Detroit
  • 1996: T Willie Anderson, Cincinnati
  • 1999: CB Chris McAllister, Baltimore
  • 2003: LB Terrell Suggs, Baltimore
  • 2012: CB Stephon Gilmore, Buffalo
  • 2015: RB Todd Gurley, St. Louis
  • 2017: QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City
  • 2019: LB Devin Bush, Pittsburgh
  • 2021: WR DeVonta Smith, Philadelphia

Draft Countdown Series

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

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Geoff Magliocchetti is a veteran football writer with years of credentialed experience with the Jets and Giants. Email:
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