The NY Jets have a few position groups on the roster that are weaker than others.
The NY Jets have undergone an extensive amount of change over the past few seasons. Offseasons have been more about complete overhauls than simple re-tooling.
And the result is a vastly different roster than what we saw just a couple of seasons ago.
Change can be a good thing and oftentimes it’s necessary in order to advance as an organization. However, as Jets fans know very well, change doesn’t always equate to improvement.
The Jets may host a very different roster, but are they truly “better”? At some positions — absolutely. General manager Joe Douglas managed to improve a number of different position groups this past offseason.
And as we detailed in yesterday’s “biggest strengths” article, the Jets have a few positions that could be considered true strengths of the roster. But of course, this roster still needs a lot of work.
There are a few position groups that are still lacking despite the efforts from the front office. Others have simply been ignored for far too long and remain subpar at best.
The Jets are an unfinished product and these three positions are most in need of fixing. Let’s take a look at the three biggest weaknesses on the Jets’ roster today.
Next: 3. Offensive Line
3. The NY Jets have a weak offensive line
Douglas made it clear that his top priority going into the offseason was addressing the offensive line. And he followed through on his promise completely changing the state of the offensive trenches.
But as the old proverb goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
The Jets finished the 2019 season with a bottom-two offensive line with only the division rival Miami Dolphins ranking worse per advanced metrics. There was no strength of the unit — only stronger weaknesses.
In reality, the entire line needed to be replaced — a tall task for any general manager and a near-impossible task for one offseason. But Douglas gave it his best shot.
At the very least, there appears to be a plan for the position. Mekhi Becton is hopefully the future at left tackle. The Jets hope the same is true for Chuma Edoga at right tackle, but free-agent signing George Fant is there as added insurance.
Meanwhile, the interior line was bolstered with the addition of center Connor McGovern and right guard Greg Van Roten. Throw in 2019 holdovers Alex Lewis (the projected starting left guard) and veterans Jonotthan Harrison and Brian Winters and the unit looks improved on paper.
Establishing chemistry early could be a problem, but it will be difficult to play much worse than they did last year. But again, just because the unit is improved, doesn’t mean that it is “good,” per se.
Perhaps we’ll get a better indication of the state of the offensive line once we finally see them take the field. But for now, it still must be considered one of the weakest position groups on the team.
Next: 2. Wide Receiver
2. The NY Jets have a weak group of wide receivers
The offensive line was seemingly improved in the offseason, but the same can’t exactly be said for the wide receiver position. That isn’t to say that the group doesn’t look vastly different, but it remains perhaps the most volatile position on the team.
The Jets lost arguably their No. 1 wideout Robby Anderson in the offseason and replaced him with former draft bust turned late-season standout Breshad Perriman.
Perriman was considered an afterthought before an incredible stretch of games to close the 2019 season put him back on the NFL map. Once Mike Evans went down, Perriman stepped into his role in Tampa Bay and played the best football of his career.
The Jets will undoubtedly be looking for that version of Perriman rather than the version he’s shown for the first three-and-a-half years of his career. However, relying on him as a starter was never going to be a wise decision.
Perhaps the biggest X-factor for the entire offense will be second-round rookie Denzel Mims. Mims is an exciting prospect who has all the physical tools needed to be a superstar receiver, but he remains unpolished as a route-runner.
If Mims develops quicker than expected, we might not be talking about the Jets’ receivers in the same way by the end of the season. But that remains a major “if” at this point.
The ever-reliable Jamison Crowder is the only sure-thing at the position. Meanwhile, the likes of Josh Doctson, Vyncint Smith, Braxton Berrios, and others are underwhelming depth options competing for roster spots.
Sure, we can find optimistic viewpoints for all three players. But let’s not kid ourselves, the Jets will be in bad shape if any of the three see meaningful snaps in 2020 — barring any unforeseen developments.
The Jets have new faces at receiver but little is guaranteed. And until further notice, it’s definitely one of the weakest positions on the team.
Next: 1. Edge Rusher
1. The NY Jets have a weak group of edge rushers
The Jets have been searching for an answer at edge rusher for well over a decade now. And they will likely continue that search into next season because the answer doesn’t appear to be on the roster.
Simply put, there is likely no less-accomplished, less-talented group of edge rushers in the NFL. And for that reason, the positions easily takes the top spot on this list.
More from The Jet Press
- NY Jets should try to sign Kenny Golladay in free agency
- NY Jets: Jonnu Smith would be a smart free-agent target
- NY Jets: 3 non-quarterback trade targets on offense
- NY Jets expected to be ‘much more aggressive’ in free agency this year
- NY Jets: Patriots will not use the franchise tag on Joe Thuney
But at the same time, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has done such an excellent job of masking the team’s deficiencies that it isn’t exactly the team’s most pressing need. As a weakness, however, it has to be No. 1.
Jordan Jenkins was brought back on a dirt-cheap one-year, $5 million contract in the offseason, but he’s nothing more than an average/below-average starting option. An underwhelming pass-rusher and a subpar run-defender, Jenkins is best suited as a low-tier starter.
But he’s the best the Jets have.
Aside from him, the Jets drafted Florida’s Jabari Zuniga in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft, but he’s more of a hybrid defensive lineman/edge rusher than a true outside linebacker in a 3-4.
There’s also Tarell Basham who impressed in limited action last year and roster bubble players like Frankie Luvu, Harvey Langi, and undrafted rookie Bryce Huff.
There’s little to get excited about at this position and the Jets will be hoping for more of Williams’ magic in 2020 to counteract the team’s biggest positional weakness.