New York Jets: Predicting 3 players who will make the Pro Bowl
By Justin Fried
The New York Jets may not be incredibly well-represented in the Pro Bowl this season, but the team still has at least three players who could be worthy of the honor.
The New York Jets have enjoyed a resurgence in recent weeks winning their previous two games as a once dreadful, miserable team has at least found something to smile about in the midst of a horrific season.
Things are still bad, but at least the Jets have begun to provide a reason to tune in every week. And as we saw this past Sunday, things are bad, but they could always be worse.
Despite a poor 3-7 record, the Jets roster is still home to some very talented players even if said roster has been poorly constructed. And if last season is anything to show for it, a team’s final record isn’t always indicative of how many players earn accolades for their success.
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The Jets finished last season with a measly 4-12 record but somehow managed to have the most representatives at the Pro Bowl in the AFC East. Sure, two of the three were special teamers in Jason Myers and Andre Roberts, but a representative is a representative.
And even though this season may be a lost cause, the Jets could still see a few of their players make a push for the Pro Bowl over the coming weeks.
Here are three Jets players who will be looking to make a trip to Hawaii this January.
Next: 3. Lachlan Edwards
3. Lachlan Edwards, P
The Jets managed to see their kicker and return man qualify for the Pro Bowl last season and they might just be sending their punter there this season to complete the special-teams trifecta.
In what has been a difficult offensive season, punter Lachlan Edwards has seen the field more often than Jets fans would probably like. No player has punted more times than Edwards who has booted the ball away a whopping 59 times this season.
Fortunately, the Aussie native just so happens to be having a career year in the process.
Edwards has managed 20 kicks inside the 20-yard-line which alone isn’t an incredibly awe-inspiring figure, but when paired with his infrequent touchback rate it looks much more impressive.
The 27-year-old has punted the ball into the end zone just once this season coming last week against the Redskins. That incredibly low touchback rate ranks first out of all players with at least 40 punts on the season.
On top of that, the Jets punt coverage team has been phenomenal as Gang Green’s punt team is currently ranked third in the NFL by Football Outsiders in adjusted DVOA, which calculates the overall value of a unit as compared to the average.
A low touchback rate, a great punt coverage team, and some impressive statistics as a result of a poor offense could lead Edwards to the first Pro Bowl appearance of his career.
It’s not exactly the player many fans would like to see in the Pro Bowl, but that doesn’t mean that Edwards doesn’t deserve it.
Next: 2. Folorunso Fatukasi
2. Folorunso Fatukasi, DL
In a year of perpetual darkness, defensive lineman Folorunso Fatukasi has emerged as one of the only bright spots. And his emergence really came out of nowhere too.
Fatukasi as a sixth-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft but spent pretty much the entirety of his rookie season inactive. He was activated for one game and failed to make much an impact in the only appearance of his rookie season.
And with an abundance of defensive line depth, there was no guarantee that Fatukasi would even make the roster going into this year. Now, he’s one of the Jets’ best players on defense.
While his stats won’t immediately jump out — 18 tackles in eight games — Fatukasi has consistently made his presence felt in the backfield whether pressuring opposing quarterbacks or penetrating into the backfield to blow up a run.
His stellar play hasn’t gone unnoticed either. His 89.0 Pro Football Focus grade is considered elite by their standards with only one player on the team earning a higher grade this season — we’ll get to him momentarily.
And since Week 6, only two defensive linemen in the entire league have earned higher grades — Aaron Donald and Calais Campbell. Just two of the very best players in all of the NFL is all, no big deal.
Fatukasi likely won’t have the stats or name recognition to qualify for the Pro Bowl barring a slew of sacks and splash plays over the final few games of the season. But based on performance alone, there are few players in the league more deserving of such an honor.
And there is likely no one more unexpected.
Next: 1. Jamal Adams
1. Jamal Adams, S
If we’re being honest here, it would be great to see Edwards and Fatukasi earn Pro Bowl invites as they are both certainly deserving of such. But there is only one Jets player who is a perennial lock for the game.
And that’s Jamal Adams.
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What is there to even say about Adams anymore? The 24-year-old has quickly become one of the very best players in the NFL and it’s incredibly hard to argue that he’s not the best safety in the league at this point.
Through 10 games, Adams leads the Jets in tackles, tackles for loss, sacks, forced fumbles, pass breakups, and defensive touchdowns. And up until this past week, he was also tied for the team lead in interceptions.
In his past two games, Adams has recorded five sacks, six QB hits, a pass deflection, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery for a touchdown courtesy of one of those forced fumbles (a strip-sack of New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones).
There are few more impactful players in the game of football today than Adams who has managed to somehow improve upon what was an incredible sophomore season.
And in case Pro Football Focus numbers are your thing, his 89.8 PFF grade currently ranks in the top-three among all safeties and is the best on the Jets. He’s the complete package with name recognition, star-power, and the stats to back it up.
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, consider Adams a lock to make his second consecutive Pro Bowl as he continues to make good on his promise from a couple of years ago.