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New York Jets: Three players with the most untapped potential

MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 04: Sam Darnold #14 of the New York Jets reacts in the fourth quarter of their game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on November 4, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 04: Sam Darnold #14 of the New York Jets reacts in the fourth quarter of their game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on November 4, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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MIAMI, FL – NOVEMBER 04: Sam Darnold #14 of the New York Jets reacts in the fourth quarter of their game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on November 4, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL – NOVEMBER 04: Sam Darnold #14 of the New York Jets reacts in the fourth quarter of their game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on November 4, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

With the current state of the New York Jets roster, the team is looking for potential in any way that they could find it. Here are three players currently on the roster with the most untapped potential.

It takes a special talent to ever reach the ranks of the NFL. With the overwhelming odds stacked against them, only the best of the best ever even make it on an NFL roster making this a rare feat to be accomplished.

It’s even rarer for a player to reach his full potential once he makes it.

Each player is obviously incredibly skilled to have made it this far, but it takes a truly exceptional individual to harness their skills and become the best version of themselves. It’s a process that doesn’t happen overnight and tends to take years to accomplish. Every NFL roster has a few players with loads of potential who just haven’t yet reached their ceiling.

The New York Jets are no exception to this rule.

The Jets are currently in the midst of a major rebuild meaning that they are looking for any player to step up and prove that they should be a part of the future. Opportunities will be handed out, it’s just a matter of who will capitalize on said opportunity.

The following three players aren’t necessarily the three individuals who have the potential to be the best on the team. They may never even be superstars. Simply put, these players have the most room to grow as players before they could fulfill their true potential.

Players such as Marcus Maye, Chris Herndon, and Jordan Jenkins have been left off this list not because they are worse players or have lower ceilings. Essentially, there’s less room to grow and develop with them for whatever reason. They are closer to their ceiling than the following players and as such have less untapped potential.

With that being said, let’s take a look at three Jets players with the most potential still left unfulfilled.

CHICAGO, IL – OCTOBER 28: Deontay Burnett #18 of the New York Jets catches the pass against Kyle Fuller #23 of the Chicago Bears in the fourth quarter at Soldier Field on October 28, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL – OCTOBER 28: Deontay Burnett #18 of the New York Jets catches the pass against Kyle Fuller #23 of the Chicago Bears in the fourth quarter at Soldier Field on October 28, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

3. Deontay Burnett, WR

We start off this list with a player who went undrafted in the 2018 NFL Draft before eventually finding his way on to the Jets practice squad and later the active roster.

After spending the preseason with the Tennessee Titans, Deontay Burnett finally got an opportunity to shine when he was promoted to the Jets 53-man roster in October. The former USC standout only saw in-game action in five contests but managed to impress with his limited snaps.

Burnett hauled in 10 catches for 143 yards rekindling the chemistry he had developed with former college teammate Sam Darnold during their time together at USC.

At just 21-years-old, Burnett has far from reached his peak potential with the prospective future of being a very reliable NFL slot receiver down the line. His quick feet and ability to make contested catches over the middle of the field overshadow his lack of size and top-flight speed.

In fact, Pro Football Focus named Burnett one of their 10 “Players we’d like to see more of in 2019” as the shifty receiver was able to make a lasting impression in his limited opportunities.

With an obvious hole at receiver, the Jets will likely make a few additions to the receiver room as the team moves towards 2019. But if Burnett is able to earn his way on to the field and see more snaps, the Jets could very well have a future gritty, nimble slot receiver on their hands.

The potential is there, Burnett just needs to be given the opportunity to refine his game.

Next: 2. Derrick Jones

PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 30: Markus Wheaton #80 of the Philadelphia Eagles cannot catch a pass against Derrick Jones #31 of the New York Jets in the first quarter during the preseason game at Lincoln Financial Field on August 30, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 30: Markus Wheaton #80 of the Philadelphia Eagles cannot catch a pass against Derrick Jones #31 of the New York Jets in the first quarter during the preseason game at Lincoln Financial Field on August 30, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

2. Derrick Jones, CB

For whatever reason, cornerback Derrick Jones has been unable to see the field for any meaningful snaps thus far in his NFL career. Despite impressing when given the chance, Jones has been limited to almost exclusively preseason and practice squad reps over his two years with the Jets.

Originally drafted in the sixth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, Jones split time at Ole Miss playing both cornerback and wide receiver. It wasn’t until his senior season that Jones finally transitioned to a full-time defensive back role.

At 6-foot-2 and 188 lbs., Jones is a physical, bump-and-run type corner who has the look of a No. 1 boundary cornerback. He is strong in press coverage and his ball skills remain one of the major strengths of his game, dating back to his time as a wide receiver.

But his game is still relatively raw. Jones has shown the ability to perform well when given the opportunity but it’s clear that his overall defensive back instincts and lack of refinement have kept him off the field to this point.

However, that is something that must change going forward. The Jets would be wise to give him extended looks, especially given the lack of young depth at the position. Jones could be the outside corner opposite Trumaine Johnson they’ve been searching for.

They just need to allow him the opportunity to reach his full potential.

Next: 1. Sam Darnold

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – DECEMBER 15: Quarterback Sam Darnold #14 of the New York Jets looks to pass against the Houston Texans in the first quarter at MetLife Stadium on December 15, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – DECEMBER 15: Quarterback Sam Darnold #14 of the New York Jets looks to pass against the Houston Texans in the first quarter at MetLife Stadium on December 15, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

1. Sam Darnold, QB

There is only one feasible option for the top spot on this list.

The Jets selected Sam Darnold with the No. 3 overall pick in this past draft class to be their franchise savior. He was chosen to be the guy to lead the organization out of the depths of obscurity that they have resided in for far too long.

We saw glimpses of Darnold’s greatness in 2018, but there is still so much more to be seen.

More from The Jet Press

Darnold predictably struggled early in the season with 14 interceptions through his first nine games as the rookie went through his fair share of growing pains. But late in the year, the Jets were able to witness the true potential of their hopeful franchise savior.

The USC product lit it up over the final four games of the season finishing the year with the highest QB rating over those four weeks and ranking as Pro Football Focus‘ top-rated quarterback over that same timespan. Darnold showed poise and leadership all while captaining a skill position group highlighted by the likes of Charone Peake, Andre Roberts, and Trenton Cannon.

The young Darnold looks prime to breakout in 2019 with a hopefully improved supporting cast and offensive line giving him some much-needed help.

Next. Re-sign or decline EVERY 2019 Jets free agent

As a rookie, Darnold showed signs of greatness. In 2019 and beyond, those signs will manifest into reality.

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