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Jets GM looks back, takes fall for Vernon Gholston pick

When Rex Ryan landed in New York in 2009, he inherited a Jets team that included a decent pile of young talent:

• D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Nick Mangold, Brad Smith, Eric Smith and Leon Washington were drafted in 2006.

• Darrelle Revis and David Harris were selected in 2007.

• Dustin Keller came on board in 2008.

One name missing from the hit parade? Linebacker Vernon Gholston. The sixth overall pick in 2008 is long gone, but he's not forgotten by Jets fans as one of the biggest draft busts in team history.

Gholston started a mere five games in New York over three seasons, generating zero sacks and only a few more tackles. That was a tough pill for the Jets to swallow, considering some of the players picked after Gholston included linebacker Jarod Mayo, offensive tackle Ryan Clady and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie -- not to mention the running backs: Chris Johnson, Rashard Mendenhall and Jonathan Stewart.

"Ultimately, that was my decision," Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum told The Associated Press last week. "There were a lot of things we liked about Vernon: his measurables, production, and obviously it didn't work out. Why it didn't, we've looked at that quite a bit. ...

"From where I stand in the world, it's most important that we learn from it and do everything we can to make sure it doesn't happen again."

This is worst-case-scenario material for GMs.

Tannenbaum survived with his job intact, but a handful of front-office soldiers are about to walk into a similar trap. It happens every draft, and when "can't-miss," top-10 draft picks are working at Wendy's three seasons out, the trickle-down can be fierce.

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