Top 5 Jets that excelled throughout 2017
By Michael Henken
The New York Jets may have had a rough, up-and-down year in 2017, but there were certainly some positives to be taken away from a somewhat forgettable season.
Despite the fact that the New York Jets didn’t perform particularly well as a team this past season, there were indeed multiple players who, individually, had strong seasons.
In this list, we’ll highlight five different Jets players from both sides of the ball that had an impact throughout 2017, and that includes both young players who performed well straight out of the gate, veterans who had breakout seasons, and players who performed better than most expected.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at five players who excelled for the Green and White this past season listed in no particular order.
Next: 5. Demario Davis
5. Demario Davis
Linebacker Demario Davis was drafted by the Jets in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft, but he signed a two-year deal with the Cleveland Browns in March of 2016. Prior to the start of the 2017 season, however, Davis was traded back to the Jets, and it’s safe to say that he’s had the best season of his career thus far.
The 28-year-old led the team with 97 solo tackles in addition to 135 combined tackles, while also leading the team with 5.0 sacks.
According to NFL.com, Davis is also ranked as the sixth-best linebacker in the NFL.
While he has played well in the past, 2017 was certainly a breakout year for Davis. Not only did he prove to be an elite level talent and the centerpiece of the Jets’ defense, but he also emerged as a leader in New York.
Heading into the offseason, Davis will become a free agent and given his performance in 2017, the Jets should be focused on re-signing him.
Next: 4. Darron Lee
4. Darron Lee
Analyzing Darron Lee’s 2017 season can be a bit difficult.
At first glance, an observer may be drawn to the large number of penalties called against him and the multiple fines issued to him throughout the season. He was also benched last month for violating team rules.
When looking passed those fixable issues, however, Lee had a strong season.
He finished second on the team in tackles with 67 solo tackles and 94 combined tackles, while also totaling 3.0 sacks. While these are solid numbers regardless, it’s important to note the improvements Lee made from his rookie season in 2016 when he racked up 45 solo tackles, 73 combined tackles, and 1.0 sack.
An organization likes to see improvement from young players, and in 2017, the 23-year-old Lee displayed just that. He proved to be a talented linebacker and once again pairing him up with Davis will be critical to the Jets’ success moving forward.
Next: 3. Jamal Adams
3. Jamal Adams
2017 marked the rookie season for safety Jamal Adams, who was drafted by the Jets with the sixth overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, and it turned out to be quite a successful one for the 22-year-old LSU alum.
From a statistics standpoint, Adams finished the 2017 campaign with 63 solo tackles, 83 combined tackles, and 2.0 sacks.
Like any young player, Adams, of course, has improvements to make, but that comes with time and gaining experience. He’s physically gifted, athletic, and has great instincts, which will serve him well in the future.
Perhaps more importantly, however, Adams, at such a young age, emerged as a leader on the field. He’s ultra-competitive and plays with a fire in his heart, which has caught the attention of his teammates.
While his impact was certainly felt in 2017, Jets fans should be excited about the presence of Adams moving forward.
Next: 2. Jermaine Kearse
2. Jermaine Kearse
Overall, the Jets struggled on the offensive side of the ball in 2017, but that isn’t true when discussing the wide receiving core.
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We’ll start off with 27-year-old Jermaine Kearse, who entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2012 and was signed by the Seattle Seahawks.
Prior to the start of the 2017 season, Kearse was involved in a trade that sent him to the Jets in exchange for Sheldon Richardson, and the move certainly paid off for Gang Green.
At the end of the season, Kearse led the Jets with 65 receptions. He totaled 810 receiving yards and scored five touchdowns. The former Washington Husky also had 100 or more receiving yards in multiple games.
He proved to be a dynamic threat for a team in desperate need of talented wide receivers, and if the Jets can land their quarterback of the future soon, Kearse will be a valuable asset to have.
Next: 1. Robby Anderson
1. Robby Anderson
Like Kearse, Anderson entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Jets in 2016. He finished his rookie campaign with 42 receptions for a total of 587 yards and two touchdowns.
He played well that season, but he was a bit overshadowed. 2017, however, proved to be a breakout year for the Temple Alum.
In addition to Kearse, Anderson was forced to step up when Quincy Enunwa suffered a season-ending injury, and he did so in a big way.
He ended 2017 with 63 receptions while leading the team in receiving yards with 941. He also led the team in receiving touchdowns with seven.
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Anderson finished multiple games with 100 or more receiving yards as well, and he proved to be a dangerous threat throughout the season. Together, him and Kearse shined throughout the season, and the Jets should look to keep a tight hold on both of them moving forward.