Former New York Jets general manager John Idizk Edit by Liam McGuire, Comeback Media

It’s nearly been a decade since disgraced New York Daily News writer Manish Mehta said he would “hitchhike” home if the New York Jets used all 12 picks.

And perhaps trying to prove a point in his second draft as the team’s general manager, John Idzik used all 12. And it might have just been the worst draft class in franchise history. Perhaps that’s a stretch, but the talent they missed out on is quite notable. And it’s why Idzik didn’t last very long as the team’s head honcho. But it’s also insane to believe that the seventh choice, a career number’s cruncher with limited player evaluation experience alongside a lame-duck head coach, was ever going to work.

And judging by the ‘Idzik 12,’ it did not.

1st round: Calvin Pryor

The Jets’ draft strategy under Rex Ryan seemed to continue with the selection of Louisville’s Calvin Pryor, a hard-hitting safety. However, Pryor’s nickname, “Louisville Slugger,” clashed with the league’s growing focus on protecting players from big hits.

Pryor’s coverage lapses proved costly for the Jets, leading them to trade him for Demario Davis, which is quite ironic because Davis turned into an All-Pro linebacker, but not with the Jets. Not thinking he could replicate the success, the Jets allowed Davis to walk in free agency, and he’s been with the New Orleans Saints since 2018.

Here were the players the Jets could’ve drafted instead: Brandin Cooks, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Dee Ford, Jimmie Ward, Teddy Bridgewater, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Joel Bitonio.

2nd round: Jace Amaro

Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro’s NFL career fizzled after a disappointing rookie year with the Jets.

The tight end, touted as a potential dual threat, struggled with drops and injuries. A torn labrum sidelined him for the entire 2015 season, ultimately leading to his release in 2016. Despite brief stints with the Titans and Chiefs, Amaro never found a foothold in the NFL. Most recently, he was drafted by the XFL’s Seattle Dragons in 2020 but remains out of football.

Other options available with the the No. 49 overall pick include Davante Adams, Jeremy Hill, Carlos Hyde, Allen Robinson, Jimmy Garoppolo, Jarvis Landry, and Morgan Moses.

3rd round: Dexter McDougle

Dexter McDougle’s NFL career mirrored his injury-plagued college days at Maryland. After being drafted by the Jets, he tore his ACL in his first training camp, completely wiping out his rookie season.

A cycle of practice squad stints, injuries, and brief appearances on the active roster followed. In 2017, the Jets traded McDougle to the Eagles for Terrence Brooks. Before being waived, he saw limited action as a backup cornerback and special teams player in Philadelphia.

Other options available with the No. 80 overall pick include Gabe Jackson, Trai Turner, Devonta Freeman, and Jerick McKinnon.

4th round: Jalen Saunders

Despite a draft brimming with wide receiver talent, the New York Jets’ first pick was Oklahoma wide receiver Jalen Saunders, who was cut just three games into his rookie year.

Saunders bounced around, signing with six different practice squads before a suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy ended his attempt to latch on.

Saunders played wide receiver and returned punts for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (CFL) before being released in 2019. Drafted by the Houston Roughnecks (XFL) in 2020, his season ended on injured reserve. The league’s bankruptcy terminated his contract. He joined the Ottawa Redblacks (CFL) but retired after a car accident. A comeback attempt with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers ended after an alleged sexual assault.

4th round: Shaq Ellis

A shoulder injury landed UCLA wide receiver Shaq Evans on injured reserve before his NFL debut, leading to his release by the Jets the following year. Evans bounced around practice squads before a four-game drug suspension ended his stint with the Cowboys.

Since 2018, he’s found success in the CFL.

Anthony Hitchens, Logan Thomas, Pierre Desir, and James White were other options available with the No. 115 overall pick.

4th round: Dakota Dozier

While Dakota Dozier saw some starting action for the Jets in 2017, filling in for the injured Brian Winters, his main value came as a reliable backup throughout his tenure in New York.

In 2019, he landed with the Minnesota Vikings, reuniting with his former offensive line coach, Rick Dennison. He continued providing solid depth on the offensive line. In 2022, he took his talents to the Chicago Bears, but a leg injury ended his season and likely his NFL career. Dozier hung up his cleats in March.

Cameron Fleming, Telvin Smith, Ricardo Allen, Aaron Lynch, and Avery Williamson were other options available with the No. 137 overall pick.

5th round: Jeremiah George

Jeremiah George bounced around practice squads and active rosters before finding a two-year stint as a backup linebacker and special teamer with the Colts. An injury in 2018 ended his time there, and he hasn’t played in the NFL since.

Corey Linsley was on the board when the Jets chose George at No. 154 overall.

6th round: Brandon Dixon

Dixon couldn’t crack the Jets’ final roster in 2014. He bounced around six teams in two years before a brief stint with the Giants in 2017. After that, his NFL journey ended with the Orlando Apollos in the Alliance of American Football, which went out of business in 2019.

6th round: Quincy Enunwa

Despite emerging as the best pick from a failed draft class, Quincy Enunwa’s promising career ended abruptly at just 27 because of multiple neck injuries.

A first neck injury in 2017 sidelined him for a season. He battled back, even earning a significant contract extension. However, a second neck injury in 2019, just one game into the new contract, forced him onto the PUP list for 2020 and ended his Jets and NFL career – marking the final departure from the team’s “Idzik 12” draft class.

6th round: IK Enemkpali

Enemkpali’s Jets career went up in flames after a locker room altercation with Geno Smith left the quarterback with a broken jaw.

Cut by the Jets, Enemkpali landed briefly with the Bills under his former coach, Rex Ryan, but a suspension and a torn ACL ended his time in Buffalo. A short stint with the Raiders in 2017 marked the final stop in his NFL career.

6th round: Tajh Boyd

Rex Ryan’s connection to Tajh Boyd, stemming from his son Seth’s time as a walk-on at Clemson, likely influenced the Jets to draft the quarterback.

Unfortunately, the selection proved to be a wasted draft pick for New York. Boyd’s NFL career was brief, with a short stint with the Steelers before ending in the CFL with the Montreal Alouettes in 2016.

He’s currently an offensive assistant coach at Clemson.

7th round: Trevor Reilly

Trevor Reilly carved out a niche on special teams for the Jets while seeing occasional snaps at inside linebacker.

After an injury-related release, he found a new home with the Miami Dolphins in 2016. Reilly continued his tour of the AFC East with a practice squad stint and eventual call-up to the active roster with the New England Patriots in 2017. Released again, he briefly played for the AAF’s Salt Lake Stallions before his NFL career ended.

Reilly transitioned to coaching, starting as a graduate assistant at Jackson State and following Deion Sanders to the University of Colorado, where he serves as a special teams analyst.

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.