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New York Jets: Top 3 most underrated players on the roster

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 28: Anthony Miller #17 of the Chicago Bears is held by Marcus Maye #26 of the New York Jets in the first quarter at Soldier Field on October 28, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 28: Anthony Miller #17 of the Chicago Bears is held by Marcus Maye #26 of the New York Jets in the first quarter at Soldier Field on October 28, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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CHICAGO, IL – OCTOBER 28: Anthony Miller #17 of the Chicago Bears is held by Marcus Maye #26 of the New York Jets in the first quarter at Soldier Field on October 28, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. Brandon Shell Jordan Jenkins (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL – OCTOBER 28: Anthony Miller #17 of the Chicago Bears is held by Marcus Maye #26 of the New York Jets in the first quarter at Soldier Field on October 28, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. Brandon Shell Jordan Jenkins (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

With the New York Jets 2019 roster beginning to take shape, here’s a quick look at the top three most underrated players currently on the team.

Everyone knows how good Jamal Adams is. You don’t need someone to come and tell you how incredible Le’Veon Bell is as a player. And Sam Darnold, he doesn’t exactly need an introduction to New York Jets fans.

But the following three players, they haven’t exactly received the same level of hype as their Jets teammates.

For whatever reason, some players just tend to fly under-the-radar sometimes. Whether it’s because they play unheralded positions or simply get overlooked, there will always be athletes in any sport that simply don’t receive the credit that they deserve for their contributions.

The Jets are no different as they have a handful of players currently on their roster who fall under the category of “underrated.” Perhaps 2019 could be the year that they shed that label and begin to get the recognition that they deserve. That, of course, remains to be seen.

But for now, let’s take a look at the three most underrated players on the Jets right now.

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – DECEMBER 30: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots is tackled by Jordan Jenkins #48 of the New York Jets during the second quarter of a game at Gillette Stadium on December 30, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Marcus Maye Brandon Shell (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – DECEMBER 30: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots is tackled by Jordan Jenkins #48 of the New York Jets during the second quarter of a game at Gillette Stadium on December 30, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Marcus Maye Brandon Shell (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

3. Jordan Jenkins, OLB

The Jets evidently have a major hole at the edge rusher position, as they have for years now. But in 2018, they saw production from one of their edges that they hadn’t seen in a couple of seasons.

Third-year outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins didn’t do much to stand out through his first two seasons in the NFL. Jenkins had only 5.5 sacks to his name through his first 30 games played showing little promise as a pass rusher.

But in 2018, the stigma around him changed a bit.

Jenkins recorded a career-high seven sacks which also tied for the team lead as he was finally able to break out a bit as a pass rusher. The Georgia product focused on improving his pass rush game in the offseason emphasizing a need to “eliminate hesitation” as a key area of concern.

Whatever he did, it worked as Jenkins was able to put together a career year and establish himself as more of a well-rounded player. While Jenkins still works best as a reliable edge defender and run stopper, it was encouraging to see more production out of him in the pass rush department.

Jenkins will never be the most nimble athlete nor the most talented edge rusher, but he remains a solid well-rounded defender who is good, but not great at everything. Considering the barren state of the Jets edge rusher depth chart, Jenkins is far and away the best option even if he doesn’t possess the highest upside.

With the Jets likely to add a starting pass rusher in this year’s NFL Draft, look for Jenkins to hopefully improve upon his breakout 2018 campaign with an even better 2019 season.

Next: 2. Marcus Maye

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – OCTOBER 14: Wide receiver Zach Pascal #14 of the Indianapolis Colts runs with the ball against free safety Marcus Maye #26 of the New York Jets during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium on October 14, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Jordan Jenkins Brandon Shell (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – OCTOBER 14: Wide receiver Zach Pascal #14 of the Indianapolis Colts runs with the ball against free safety Marcus Maye #26 of the New York Jets during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium on October 14, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Jordan Jenkins Brandon Shell (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

2. Marcus Maye, S

It’s easy to get overshadowed playing next to Jamal Adams, both from an on-field and off-the-field perspective. With his bombastic off-field demeanor and loud-mouth persona, Adams tends to outshine any and everyone else on the team.

As a result, Marcus Maye is yet to receive the appropriate amount of recognition for his game.

That combined with the fact that he missed most of last season with a pair of injuries makes it very easy to forget just how good Maye is. But make no mistake about it, Maye has been one of the better safeties in the league when healthy.

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The Florida product put together a solid rookie year in 2017 picking up 78 tackles and two interceptions in his inaugural professional season. His sophomore season looked to be going even better before he suffered a broken thumb in Week 6 against the Indianapolis Colts and then a shoulder injury in Week 10 against the Buffalo Bills costing him the rest of his season.

Though he only played six games, Maye scored an excellent 81.7 grade with Pro Football Focus ranking him as the No. 9 safety in the entire league. While it was a small sample size, Maye was well on his way to a breakout campaign before the injury bug struck.

Maye and Adams could couple as one of the best safety tandems in the league for quite some time if the former could stay healthy. Look for Maye to continue to build on his excellent showing in 2018 with a hopefully healthy and equally as productive 2019.

Next: 1. Brandon Shell

CHICAGO, IL – OCTOBER 28: Leonard Floyd #94 of the Chicago Bears rushes against Brandon Shell #72 of the New York Jets at Soldier Field on October 28, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Jets 24-10. Marcus Maye Jordan Jenkins (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL – OCTOBER 28: Leonard Floyd #94 of the Chicago Bears rushes against Brandon Shell #72 of the New York Jets at Soldier Field on October 28, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Jets 24-10. Marcus Maye Jordan Jenkins (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

1. Brandon Shell, OT

The New York Jets offensive line has been a major weakness on the team for a number of years now, but for the past couple of seasons, right tackle Brandon Shell has quietly emerged as a very solid starting tackle.

Unfortunately, offensive lines in football are typically seen as one cohesive unit and as a result, tend to get grouped together. But that isn’t necessarily fair as each of the five players has their own strengths and weaknesses that improve or impair the line as a whole.

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Shell has been perhaps the most reliable player on the Jets line — him or left tackle Kelvin Beachum — over the past two years and it’s been fun to watch his development from fifth-round project tackle to a legitimately dependable right tackle.

The South Carolina product entered the league in 2016 as a mid-to-late-round draft prospect who was seen as more of a run mauler than a true all-around starting tackle. But his pass protection has taken a big step up in recent years to the point where it’s no longer a weakness in his game.

Now, Shell is far from an elite starting tackle and he likely will never be an annual Pro Bowl candidate. But still, at just 27-years-old, Shell has some room to grow and should receive a sizable extension once his contract expires at the end of this upcoming season.

On an overall poor and aging Jets offensive line, Shell remains one of the few young, cheap, and promising options on the team. And for that reason, it’s time that people begin to appreciate the quality of Shell’s play and the value that he brings to the franchise.

Next. Top 5 trade back targets in the 2019 NFL Draft

Only then would he no longer be considered “underrated.”

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