Jets Early Roster Preview: Safeties
The Jets safety tandem has turned into one of the best duos in football. And they’re only getting better.
The Jets safeties have become the team’s heart and soul since the Jets decided to draft two safeties in the first two rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft. At the time, the move was questioned, but now the duo has become a premier safety tandem in the NFL.
Jamal Adams has pretty much engraved himself as the heart and soul of the Jets’ organization since being drafted 6th overall in 2017. He talked about changing the culture in New York when he arrived, and at the time most just thought it was simply a confident player getting his talk in. But, just three years later, the culture has truly changed.
Adams has made the Jets a team that players want to play for. Star free agent Le’Veon Bell credited Adams for his efforts in recruiting Bell to come to New York. 2019 draftee Benny Snell said that he wanted to the Jets to draft him so he can play with Adams. Adams turned a boring, unattractive team into a top destination for free agents and players everywhere.
Adams’ work on the field is even more impressive than his work off the field. You can make a very strong argument that he’s the best safety in football. Since entering the league in 2017, he leads the NFL in a combined stat of TFL, PD, FF and FR, and by a decent margin too.
Leaders in TFL + PD + FF + FR among all safeties over 2017-2018:
1. Jamal Adams (43)2. Harrison Smith (37)3. Jordan Poyer (35)4. Malcolm Jenkins (33)5. Eddie Jackson (32) https://t.co/mcNFVuR7Z3
— Michael Nania (@Michael_Nania) June 25, 2019
Another stat on Adams: he’s only 23 years old. He’s already become a premier safety in the league, and he’s going into only his third year in the league. Adams legitimately has the potential to become one of the best safeties ever to step on a football field at the rate he’s playing. Jamal Adams has truly turned into a superstar, on and off the field.
Marcus Maye, the Jets’ second round pick in 2017, has shown flashes of being an elite safety as well. His PFF grade of 81.9 ranked 9th among safeties in 2018, and has 3 career interceptions and 4 passes defended in his first two years in the league.
The main issue for Maye throughout his career thus far has been injuries. He injured his ankle in week 17 of the 2017 season, and it came back to haunt him in 2018. He only played 6 games last season, eventually going to the IR in December.
If Maye can fully recover from his ankle woes this offseason, he and Adams can turn into the best safety tandem in football. It’s all about staying on the field for Maye, because when he’s out there, he can play. However, he’s already 26, so if he can’t stay on the field in the near future, he may miss part of the prime years of his career.
The Jets backup safeties are an interesting group to look at. Rontez Miles, the teams longest tenured defensive player, has been an elite special teamer for the Jets over the years. He may wind up getting reps at safety this offseason, considering Darryl Roberts is going to become a full-time corner and the Jets let Terrence Brooks walk this offseason.
Another backup to watch is Brandon Bryant. Bryant was an un-drafted player out of the supplemental draft last year, and put on a show during the offseason and preseason, nearly earning himself a roster spot. Instead, the Jets stashed him on the practice squad, and one year later he’s looking at a second string role if he continues to play well in training camp and the preseason in 2019.