As draft day approaches, ESM looks back on the best players chosen in the New York Jetsâ€™ current draft slots.
The New York Jets currently own eight draft picks in the 2020 NFL Draft, which begins on Thursday night in a virtual setting (8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN/ABC/NFL Network).
To commemorate the path to the draft, ESM counts down the greatest picks chosen in their respective positions. We continue with 158th pick, which is currently slated as the Jetsâ€™ first day three pick…
1939: G Clyde Shugart, Washington
Shugart first made a name for himself as one of the best linemen in his native Iowa. He was one of the NFL’s first “iron men”, never missing a game over five seasons of action. The former Iowa State Cyclone partook in three NFL Championship Games (winning one in 1942) and two Pro Bowls.
1985: TE Jay Novacek, St. Louis
After setting an NCAA record for the best average gain per reception by a tight end at Wyoming, Novacek was chosen by both the NFL’s Cardinals and the Houston Gamblers of the USFL. Injuries prevented him from making a major impact after the team moved to Phoenix, but he soon became a vital part of the Dallas Cowboys’ 1990s championship squads. He’d go on to reach five consecutive Pro Bowls and won three Super Bowls. Dallas was 6-0 in postseason games that featured a Novacek touchdown reception.
1989: TE Howard Cross, NY Giants
An Alabama alum, Cross not only played 13 seasons with the Giants but partook in all but one of the 208 regular season games played in that span. That sheer number in a Giants jersey (207 games) trails only Michael Strahan. Cross would partake in two blue Super Bowls, winning the 25th edition in 1991. He now serves as a sideline reporter for the Giants’ radio broadcasts on WFAN.
1995: DT Norman Hand, Miami
After four years between Miami and San Diego, Hand made a bit of a name for himself on the New Orleans Saints’ defensive line for three seasons. Part of a group known as the “Heavy Lunch Bunch”, Hand helped guide the Saints to their first postseason win over the Rams in 2000. A known enactor of a celebration dance known as the “Big Wiggle”, Hand spent nine seasons in the NFL, his last with the Giants in 2004. Tragically, the Queens native passed away in 2010 at the age of 37.
2013: TE Luke Willson, Seattle
A Canadian import, the Ontario-born Willson was not only chosen in both the NFL and CFL drafts, but he was also signed to the Toronto Blue Jays’ system. He opted for a future in Seattle and went on to become a staple in the Seahawks’ offense during their mid-decade heyday. His most notable Seattle highlight to date is his role as the recipient of Russell Wilson’s miracle two-point conversion lob in the 2015 NFC Championship Game win over Green Bay. Willson would go on to spend brief periods in Detroit and Oakland before returning to Seattle in 2019.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMagsÂ