Following a disappointing 2018 season, the New York Jets made it a point to be quite active throughout the offseason, but with the initial wave of free agency and the NFL Draft now in the rearview mirror, it’s clear that the Jets still have some holes to fill.
With the Jets once again having a losing record and once again missing the playoffs in 2018, it was evident that change was needed. These changes began with the hiring of an essentially new coaching staff headlined by new head coach Adam Gase and new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
Then came free agency where the Jets looked to address their primary goal of surrounding young quarterback Sam Darnold with more talent. And to give credit where credit is due, the team certainly added some key pieces.
In addition to trading for offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele, the Jets also signed star running back Le’Veon Bell, considered to be the top player on the market, and dangerous slot receiver Jamison Crowder.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Jets inked a blockbuster deal with linebacker C.J. Mosley, perhaps the most talented defender on the market. In addition, the team drafted Alabama defensive lineman Quinnen Williams, a player many had considered to be the best in the draft, and Florida edge rusher Jachai Polite.
Clearly, the Jets have made some noteworthy moves throughout the offseason thus far and the roster should be much improved in comparison to the team’s roster in 2018. But, there are still holes that need to be improved.
Next: Corner Back
Last season, the Jet’s defense, specifically the secondary, was supposed to be one of its strong points. That, however, didn’t always turn out to be the case.
It wasn’t all negative of course, as safety Jamal Adams continued to blossom into an elite level player while Avery Williamson and Henry Anderson turned out to be tremendous acquisitions made by now-former general manager Mike Maccagnan.
Looking ahead to the upcoming season, the Jets’ defense as a whole should be much improved due to the additions of players like Mosley and Williams. The secondary, and more specifically the cornerback position, still needs to be addressed, however.
Prior to the start of the 2018 season, the Jets signed cornerback Trumaine Johnson to a lucrative deal. It didn’t pan out as expected, however, as Johnson not only dealt with injuries but he struggled even when he was on the field.
It is expected, though, that he’ll perform better this year due to reuniting with Gregg Williams.
Aside from Johnson, however, the Jets are lacking in depth at the cornerback position. As of now, the team has not re-signed Morris Claiborne, who despite dealing with injuries, was likely the team’s most consistent cornerback last season.
The Jets did bring back Darryl Roberts and while the team is reportedly quite high on him, it’s unclear if he can truly handle the duties of a starting corner. In addition, the team signed former Atlanta Falcon Brian Poole to replace Buster Skrine in the slot, though there have been some concerns over whether or not he’ll be able to hold up in coverage.
After not addressing the position in the draft, the Jets still have holes to fill at corner.
In 2018, one of the Jets’ most glaring weaknesses was its offensive line.
Following the completion of the season, the team immediately addressed this need, trading for Osemele, a former two-time Pro Bowler. If healthy, he should provide a much-needed improvement.
With that in mind, however, the Jets still have a hole at the center position. Prior to the start of the 2018 season, Spencer Long was signed and it was hoped that he would have a line-wide impact. The move proved to be a disaster, however, as Long was wildly inconsistent, due in part to a lingering hand injury.
As the season neared its end, Jonotthan Harrison played in place of Long and performed relatively well, though few saw him as a long-term starting option. He re-signed with the Jets in March, but once again, most saw him as more of a depth signing.
At this point, however, he sits atop the Jets depth chart at the center position. The team missed out on both Mitch Morse and Matt Paradis in free agency and didn’t address the position in the draft. Moving forward, it looks like the team will roll with Harrison, but the position is certainly one that should look to be improved.
If the Jets don’t solidify things at center, both Darnold’s development and the development of the offense as a whole could be hindered.
Next: Wide Receiver
As previously mentioned, the goal heading into this offseason for the Jets was to surround Darnold with as many weapons as possible.
In regards to the wide receiver position, both Robby Anderson and Quincy Enunwa will be returning. Towards the end of last season, Anderson began to develop chemistry with Darnold and Enunwa, if he can remain healthy, has all the makings of a dynamic playmaker. In addition, it’s expected that both players will be used in a more intelligent way under Gase.
Aside from Anderson and Enunwa, the Jets also signed slot receiver Jamison Crowder to a deal this offseason. Considered to be the top slot WR on the market, Crowder brings a unique blend of explosive quickness and strong route running to the table.
When he’s healthy and in top form, Crowder has proven to be a valuable asset and should represent just that for Gase and Darnold.
Despite this current group of receivers, many would argue that the Jets are still lacking a true No. 1 wide receiver. In addition, a young quarterback like Darnold can never have enough weapons at his disposal, especially during his development.
With that being said, the Jets still have room to grow at the wide receiver position and it should continue to be a focal point moving forward.
Next: Edge Rusher
It’s been nearly 15 years since John Abraham was traded to the Atlanta Falcons. Or in other words, it’s been nearly 15 years since the Jets have had a high-level edge rusher who had the ability to consistently pressure the quarterback.
Because of that, some had hoped that the team would select Kentucky’s Josh Allen with the No. 3 overall pick in the draft. Ultimately, the team went with Williams and they can’t be faulted for that. The Alabama product has tremendous upside and is expected to be a force on the interior.
And in regards to the edge, the Jets did indeed address the need, drafting Florida’s Jachai Polite in the third round. Last season, Polite performed well for the Gators, totaling 45 tackles, 11 sacks and six forced fumbles.
If he can bring that same type of production to the Jets, he’ll have a bright future ahead of him. However, it’s also important to remember that he struggled a bit at the combine and experienced a bit of a difficult pre-draft process. With that being said, it’s simply unclear what type of player he’ll transform into.
Because of that, the edge rushing position is still a glaring need for the Jets. Until Polite proves that he can be the Jets’ savior, this position will remain an area of need for the team.