NY Jets: Ranking the 53-man roster — No. 4 Marcus Maye

NY Jets (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /

After another lost NY Jets season, it’s time to evaluate this 53-man roster. This daily ranking continues with No. 4, safety Marcus Maye.

Former NY Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan’s finest move was drafting safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye back-to-back in the 2017 NFL Draft.

That decision bolstered this defense against the long ball — a personnel deficit that had plagued Gang Green for years.

Maye, a first-team All-American Florida Gator and 2018 Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame Inductee was Gang Green’s second-round selection (39th overall). He excelled in his rookie year, facilitating the departure of massive draft bust Calvin Pryor.

But then in 2018, Marcus struggled mightily with foot, thumb and shoulder injuries, playing in only six games.

Many insiders delved into Maye’s medical checklist — particularly his pre-training camp, post-shoulder surgery nerve issues related to shoulder surgery — and questioned the safety’s ability to perform on a long-term basis.

Diehard Jets fans may have noticed that Maye changed his uniform number from “26” to “20,” in order to accommodate the arrival of Le’Veon Bell.  Who was the better player of the two?

In 2019, Maye started all 16 games in green-and-white, playing a team-high 99 percent of the snaps. The defensive staple finished the season with 65 combined tackles and one INT, leading to a solid Pro Football Focus grade of 74.6.

Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams refers to Maye as the “angel in the outfield” for his ability to cover for the mistake of others. The safety has really thrived as a part of Williams’ defense.

“We know the feel of his game and he now has a feel of us. It was definitely difficult at first, but we managed and found a way to get through because everyone communicated and made sure everyone was on the same page. He knows he has the type of players that can do a lot of different things. Next year could be even better than this year, and I expect that.”

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If Maye can stay healthy and Adams gets re-signed — and Matthias FairleyDarryl Roberts or some developmental draftee can step up in reserve — the New York Jets will field one of the league’s premier safety units for the foreseeable future.