The special teams unit of the New York Jets this offseason needed a complete overhaul and will be key for a playoff run in 2016.
Last year, special teams for the New York Jets was pretty abysmal. In the kicking game, the Jets converted on 81.28% of their field goals (24th in the league) and had touchbacks on only 39.53% of their kickoffs (31st in the league).
Their punting game was worse. They had a net punting (distance minus yards returned) average of 37.2 yards which was last in the NFL, forced only 14 fair catches (tied for 27th in the league, only one team worse) and allowed the third highest return average (12.7). The only good thing is they had 27 of 79 punt land inside the 20 yard line, which was tied for 14th in the league.
The Jets drafted Lachlan Edwards out of Sam Houston State in the seventh round of the 2016 NFL Draft. During his final season in college, Edwards forced 19 fair catches and landed 31 punts inside the 20. He also had a total average of 41.5 yards per punt.
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After the draft, the Jets signed Duke kicker Ross Martin.
He converted 86.7% of all of his field goals in 2015, and he was 9-10 from 40+ yards out and of those he was 4-4 from 50+.
The only flaw in his game is, as his NFL.com draft profile tell us, is kickoffs.
"Might not have a leg big enough for NFL kickoff duties. Averaged just 59.9 yards per kickoff with a hang- time that has never ended up higher than 3.72 for any single season. Had two kickoffs returned for touchdowns this season. Missed twice in a game against Virginia Tech including potential game-winner with 1:04 left in regulation."
Even with this glaring hole in his game, he was a must sign. Also, the Jets can end up doing something rarely seen in the NFL, and that’s use their punter as a kickoff specialist, because Lachlan Edwards has a huge leg.
The Jets were 10-6 last year despite having awful play from their special teams. If they can get great improvement, they will be contenders again in 2016.