With the 2018 NFL Draft officially in the books, here’s a very early evaluation of the current New York Jets roster with this year’s draft class added in.
With the conclusion of the 2018 NFL Draft, the New York Jets roster is basically set for the upcoming season. Now is a good time to evaluate each position group. What are the strengths? What are the weaknesses? Let’s jump right into it.
The Jets currently have five quarterbacks on their current roster: Josh McCown, Teddy Bridgewater, Christian Hackenberg, Bryce Petty, and of course: Sam Darnold, the 3rd overall pick in this year’s draft.
There’s no way the Jets will enter the season with all five of these guys. Who will start Week 1? It could be last year’s starter, McCown. It could be Bridgewater. Or, if the Jets feel he’s ready we could be seeing Darnold as the Week 1 starter. If Darnold struggles early on, everyone needs to be patient. There are numerous examples of QBs struggling their rookie seasons but improving after that. Look no further than what Jared Goff and Carson Wentz did last year.
The three running backs that get my attention are Bilal Powell, Isaiah Crowell, and Thomas Rawls. You obviously wouldn’t feel great with any of them as the clear-cut lead running back. However, the three of them can form a nice trio.
All Jets fans know Powell has had his moments. In the offseason, the Jets signed Crowell and Rawls. Over the past two seasons, Crowell has averaged 902 yards on 4.5 yards per carry while rushing for nine touchdowns in that time. Rawls has struggled to stay healthy. However, in the 2015-2016 season, Rawls ran for 830 yards on an amazing 5.6 yards per carry. It would be a huge bargain if the Jets can get that version of Rawls.
The bottom line is the Jets don’t have any RBs that can carry a team, but this overall unit can be more than good enough if the other parts of the offense are effective.
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I like this group a lot. During this year’s draft, I would often see “WR” listed as a “team need” for the Jets, which was a real head-scratcher.
The Jets will be getting Quincy Enunwa back this season, who led the team in receiving yards in 2016-2017. Last years leading receiver, Robby Anderson, totaled 941 yards and seven touchdowns in his second season, we should expect him to improve.
Jermaine Kearse was another pleasant surprise for the Jets last season, totaling 810 yards and five touchdowns. In free agency, the Jets signed Terrelle Pryor. Pyror wasn’t much of a factor this past season, but in 2016-2017 with the Browns, Pryor had over 1,000 receiving yards with bad QB play. If the Jets are getting that version of Pryor, look out.
With Austin Seferian-Jenkins gone, we should expect last year’s rookie, Jordan Leggett, and current rookie Chris Herndon, to compete for the starting job. Clearly not the most intriguing options, but given all the weapons the Jets have at receiver, the expected lack of tight end production isn’t the end of the world.
This is a problem. Pro Football Focus ranked the Jets offensive line as 30th in the league last season. Most of the offensive line will be back again next season and could be problematic early on. Unless players coming back step up or some late additions happen, this could be an area of opportunity for the Jets yet again in 2018.
Leonard Williams was a disappointment last season. He didn’t improve like he did in his first two seasons. The Jets will hope that he can have a bounce-back season. Kony Ealy was solid this past year and he will be missed as he bolted via free agency. Last season, the Jets were 28th in the league in sacks, we should expect them to be near that mark again due to not having better talent this time around on the defensive line.
Losing Demario Davis hurts, but I like the addition of Avery Williamson. He and Darron Lee can be a very good duo if they can work well off each other and continue bringing consistent play from the positional group.
I don’t see how anyone could dislike this group. I like the starting cornerback duo of Trumaine Johnson and Morris Claiborne. You know what else I like? Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye. They were both good as rookies, they should be expected to improve and continue making a name for themselves.