Friday, April 15, 2016

Heads up Quad #24 - Jets from COMC

Now we finally get around to all of the COMC posts.  They'll be broken up into a ton of different chunks due to the kinds of things I got, but I always make these quad posts individual so I figured I'd start with these.  I grabbed a Jets quad and a Cardinals quad, bringing me down to just 13 cards left for a master set.  Today's post features the Jets quad, which is a pretty solid bunch of players.

The front:
Laveranues Coles was a third round pick in the 2000 draft.  There were a lot of WRs picked ahead of him, including first round busts like Peter Warrick, Sylvester Morris, R. Jay Soward, and Travis Taylor.  By my count, Coles was the 13th WR off the board, which makes it all the more impressive that he finished first in that WR class in career receptions by a considerable amount (he has over 100 more receptions than 2nd place Plaxico Burress).  He also leads the class in receiving yards (by a few hundred over Burress) and was third in receiving touchdowns behind Burress and Darrell Jackson, who was picked two picks after Coles.

Needless to say, Coles really made a mark despite being a later pick.  His first three seasons were with the Jets, and in 2002 he caught a crazy 89 catches for 1,264 yards.  This got him a contract with the Redskins, and in two seasons there he had similarly awesome stats over two seasons and made the 2003 Pro Bowl.  The Redskins then traded him back to the Jets for Santana Moss, and Coles had a very productive four more years before signing another free agent contract, this time with the Cincinnati Bengals.  Coles was decent in that 2009 season, but that'd be the last NFL action he saw, as his brief tenure with the Jets for two stints in 2010 did not amount to any playing time.

2000 was the Keyshawn Johnson draft for the Jets, with the team gaining two first round picks from the Buccaneers for Keyshawn, giving them four overall.  The fourth was spent on Anthony Becht, and from the get go the team had pretty high expectations for the tight end.  I'm not sure he ever really lived up to those expectations in New York, with five year highs of 40 receptions, 356 receiving yards, and five touchdowns (twice).  He signed on for three years in Tampa Bay from 2005-2007, and then finished his career with one year stops in St. Louis, Arizona, and Kansas City.  Overall Becht has 21 career touchdown receptions on 188 catches.

The back:
Curtis Martin is the only guy here who wasn't a 2000 draft pick, but his career in New York was still pretty amazing.  The Patriots drafted Martin with a third round pick in the 1995 draft, a pick they got as a result of the Eagles signing restricted free agent Kevin Turner.  Martin was epic in three seasons in New England, winning rookie of the year, making two Pro Bowls, and playing well during the Patriots Super Bowl run in 1996.  After the 1997 season, Martin's agent quickly gauged interest from the Jets for Martin's services, and the Jets signed him to a "Poison Pill" contract that basically made it impossible for the Patriots to match without destroying their salary cap.  The contract was a little iffy, and because of that the Patriots got draft pick compensation, including a first rounder that they spent on Robert Edwards.

The Jets, however, probably couldn't care less because Martin ended up making three Pro Bowls in eight years with the team.  He missed only five games during his time in New York, with the last four being in his final season after a career ending knee injury.  For his career, Martin never rushed for less than 1,094 yards in a full season, and finished his career in 4th place on the all time rushing yards list.  He made the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his 2nd year of eligibility, and is now fondly remembered as one of the best Jets players of recent memory.

Chad Pennington was the first player drafted by the Jets in 2000, and the first QB overall.  It was a pretty weak QB draft, with the only other really solid QBs being 6th rounder Marc Bulger and 7th rounder Tom Brady.  So Pennington ranks a solid 3rd in that draft class, with the four other QBs of note being Chris Redman, Tim Rattay, Spergon Wynn, and Jarious Jacson.

Pennington sat behind ageless wonder Vinny Testeverde for a few seasons, but by 2002 he was starting games and completing passes with superb accuracy, which was always a strength of his.  In eight years in New York, Pennington went 32-29 with 65.6% accuracy and 82 touchdowns to 55 interceptions.  After a 1-7 record in 2007, the Jets signed Brett Favre and released Pennington, resulting in him signing off with the Dolphins for a few years.  A league leading 67.4% completion percentage and 19:7 TD:INT ration in year one seemed nice, but Pennington spent the next two years backing up Chad Henne before falling out of the NFL.

Who wins the card?  No question it's Curtis Martin, who was a true ironman and NFL legend.  But Laveranues Coles makes it closer than you'd think, topping his draft class despite being picked after so many other WR (including college teammate Peter Warrick).  Both guys showed that third round picks can contribute in a BIG way on the NFL stage.

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