18. Mel Kiper, Jr.
Somewhat of an enigma at the time, Mel Kiper broke on the scene as ESPN’s draft expert in 1984. He had no experience with any NFL team and started his putting his NFL Draft guides together five years earlier from his parent’s basement. The Mothership paid Kiper $400 for his first assignment. It worked, today he pulls in millions and millions of dollars for both himself and the network.
Kiper was a lightning rod for criticism. Like the time Colts G.M. Bill Tobin ranted in an interview, “who in the hell is Mel Kiper” after the analyst dissed Indianapolis’ first-round selection of Trev Alberts in 1994. So calling out the Jets in 1989 wasn’t Kiper’s first rodeo in that regard.
That year, the Jets selected Virginia linebacker Jeff Lageman with the 14th overall pick. Kiper responded with the quip that made his career. “It’s obvious to me that the Jets just don’t know what the draft is all about.” The remark blew up. If social media existed back then, Kiper would have broken Twitter.
What got lost in the shuffle is that after the draft, Kiper said he liked Lageman as a player but had him pegged as a second-round selection. Kiper thought (correctly) 14th overall was way too high for him to be selected.
17. Mark Sanchez
Looking back at the numbers, Mark Sanchez didn’t have an awful run as the New York Jets quarterback. In four seasons (2009-12), he had a winning record of 33-29, played in two conference championship games, and threw for 12,092 yards with 68 touchdowns. Then again, he also threw 69 interceptions. If the Jets had drafted him 20th overall instead of fifth, things might have been much different for him.
Aside from unfulfilled expectations, there is one huge reason why “The Sanchize” made this list. The infamous Butt Fumble, which happened on Thanksgiving Day, 2012, against New England.
In 2017 Fox Sports ranked that play as the second-worst in NFL history behind Jim Marshall‘s wrong-way run. Every NFL blooper reel has the Butt Fumble. It stands as a franchise salute to ineptitude.