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Jets Lately Have Been Ten-acious in Pairing Up 10th Overall Draft Pick with a Top WR

In 1985 Green & White Took Future Ring of Honor Member Al Toon; in 2022 the Choice Was Garrett Wilson

Ohio State wide receiver Garrett Wilson poses for a photo after being selected by the New York Jets tenth overall during the 2022 NFL Draft on Thursday, April 28, 2022 in Las Vegas. (Ben Liebenberg/NFL)

It would be a draft dream come true if the Jets were to spend their 10th overall pick in Thursday's first round of the 2024 NFL Draft on the best, let's say, receiver available.

The Green & White, after all, have had some experience taking "perfect 10" pass-catchers over the years.

In 1985, the Jets used their own Round 1 selection to grab a Wisconsin wideout named Al Toon. All Toon did in his eight NFL seasons, all with the Jets, was catch 517 passes for 6,605 yards and 31 touchdowns. He posted two 1,000-yard seasons, set the team single-season receptions record at 85 in 1986, then reset it two seasons later at 93, where it stood for 27 more seasons. He made three Pro Bowls, was named first-team All-Pro once and team MVP three times, and in 2011 he was a member of the second class of Jets Legends to enter the newly formed Ring of Honor.

But of course fans don't have to go back almost four decades for a feeling of draft con-ten-tment. Just two years ago, the Jets, after drafting CB Sauce Gardner fourth, used the top pick they received in the trade of S Jamal Adams to Seattle — No. 10 — to bring in Ohio State WR Garrett Wilson, whom some have called "Gumby" for his ability to contort his body while coming up with crazy catches. All Wilson has done in his two seasons as a Jet is record 178 receptions (including 95 last season, second-most by a Jet all-time) for 2,145 yards and seven TDs, and catch at least one pass in all 34 games he's played in

For those of not only a numerological but a superstitious mind, this bodes well for a wideout at the Jets' 10th overall pick. The consensus top three WRs in the draft are Marvin Harrison Jr. of Ohio State, Malik Nabers of LSU and Rome Odunze of Washington. Odunze is likely to be the receiver sitting there at 10 for the Jets. Or all three will be gone.

See's Daniel Jeremiah's top 50 prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Yet there will be a whole draft of other top players, a handful of whom could be at the top of the Green & White value board at that spot. TE Brock Bowers of Georgia is another favorite choice by many for the Jets. If tackle is their preference, Taliese Fuaga of Oregon State, Olu Fashanu of Penn State and Amarius Mims of Georgia could all be there. Edge? As HC Robert Saleh has said, "The more pass rushers, the merrier." If Alabama's Dallas Turner or Florida State's Jared Verse slips just a little, one could be there when the Jets go on the clock.

One historical angle suggests that whoever the Jets take, that player will probably develop into an outstanding pro. The sample size is limited. but in the Jets' second American Football League draft in 1961, they held the 10th overall pick and picked Herb Adderley, the RB/DB from Michigan State. Right pick, although Adderley never played for the Jets. He went with Green Bay, moved to Dallas in 1970, played in four of the first six Super Bowls and was a Pro Football of Fame inductee in 1980.

In 1984, the year before they took Toon, the Jets went with another top secondary name, Russell Carter out of SMU. Carter didn't attain the franchise status of Toon but at least started 35 games at both CB and S from 1984-87 before moving on to the L.A. Raiders for his final two NFL seasons.

As for other teams' No. 10 picks, there have been many great players and many more that didn't achieve that lofty adjective. Two of the more recent "tens" have some history going against the Jets — bruising Steelers RB Jerome "The Bus" Bettis, drafted in 1993 and selected for the Hall of Fame in 2015, and QB Patrick "Showtime" Mahomes, secured by the Chiefs in 2017.

The tension and drama will build this week as the Jets' first-round pick draws nearer. And there's nothing to say that general manager Joe Douglas won't try to move up from 10 for the team's top player or move down to acquire another pick or two before submitting his Round 1 card.

But two things are pretty good bets for the Jets if they stay where they are: The player they take may well be nickname-worthy. And he may well be a perfect 10.

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