5 under-the-radar Jets who will breakout in 2012- #3 and #2


Leading into training camp, lets take a look at under-the-radar Jets players that will have a breakout year in 2012. At #5, Aaron Maybin proves he is ready tp step into the next phase of his career, and at #4, Joe McKnight looks to increase his role by making an impact on offense to go along with his specialty of returning kickoffs. For anyone who missed it, check out my post on #5 and #4 by clicking here. Now let’s check out who came in at #3 and #2:

#3- Kenrick Ellis

Coming out in the draft, Ellis was regarded as a massive defensive tackle that could go as high as the first round. But after an off-field incident, the big defensive lineman slipped to the third round right in the hands of the New York Jets . When we got this 300 (plus) pound beast, I thought it was a steal. I had similar feelings about the NC DT Marvin Austin who the Giants got in the same draft. However, I believe Ellis will be the better player.

Kenrick Ellis is now trying to lose some weight. He has been training and working out with Bart Scott–who also lost some weight himself. Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine and Rex Ryan are trying to get the defensive unit just a little bit faster. If they can achieve that goal of having an improved, yet quick defense that can get after the Quarterback, the pass rush will improve greatly.

Ellis needs to improve a bunch to become a full time starter, considering the amount of depth we have on the D line. But this guy can contribute without a doubt. If he can bat the ball down at the line of scrimmage (similar to the way he did against Houston in last year’s preseason game), he will bring just as much value to the defense as he would if he disrupts the passer in any fashion.

Ideally, we would like Ellis to become the full time starter that Mike Tannenbaum had in mind when we drafted him. But contributing on an already strong defense needs to be priority number one. If he can show the coaches in camp that he can move along the line and be a versatile D lineman, he will definitely earn some playing time. He needs to take advantage of each opportunity he gets when he sees the field come this training camp. If the word is true, that Kenrick is moving around like Bart Scott out there in practice, then we are going to have a stud at defensive tackle this season (after he serves his time of course).

Expect #93 to clog run gaps on short distance on run downs, and collapse the pocket from the inside on passing downs. In order to see playing time, he will have to be playing at a high level, and I think Rex is just the guy to get him to that level.

#2- Antonio Cromartie Cromartie, at age 28 (yeah only 28), should have a big year defensively for the Jets in 2012. Cro has been known to be inconsistent at times, but thatʼs not really a rare trait for the position. Cornerback is argueably the hardest position to play on defense, with the NFL favoring the passing game nowadays. Unless your name is Darrelle Revis. But if you remove Revis from the picture, you can say that Cro is a pretty darn good #1 corner. Kyle Wilson may be able to hold his own on the other side, but depth would be a huge issue in this scenario. However, the point is, that if Cromartie were on another team, heʼd likely be a #1 cornerback on the depth chart. To have that compliment on the other side of Revis on game day is a great advantage for the Jets. Jets fans get sick and tired of Cromartie, with his inconsistent play (and # of kids), but when you sit back at look at the statistics, you’ve got to be pumped for Cro to make a difference this year. Thejetsblog.com analysis of Pro Football Focusʼs info on Cro nails it:

He held opposing QB’s, in fact, to a completion percentage of only 46%, which placed him in the top 10 of the 109 qualifying CB’s, and his QB rating against of only 72.8 was better than the likes of Champ Bailey and Cortland Finnegan, who earned a large free agent deal this offseason. The low completion percentage must be taken with a grain of salt, since Cromartie plays almost exclusively on the outside, but it’s safe to say that the guy can cover. In 2010, Cromartie was 36th out of 100 qualifiers for coverage, but a negative penalty mark again pulled down his overall grade.”

Do you agree with the rankings so far?

Check back tomorrow, to see who the #1 under-the-radar Jets player is- that will have a breakout year!