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NY Jets Optimistic Roster Breakdown: OLB Jordan Jenkins

NY Jets (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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The NY Jets are expecting Jordan Jenkins to lead an inexperienced edge rusher group in 2020.

The NY Jets have one of the least-accomplished edge rusher groups in the NFL entering the 2020 season. But one player they will be counting on to lead the inexperienced unit this year is Jordan Jenkins.

Jenkins went into the offseason searching for reportedly up to $10 million per season on a multi-year deal. But when his market didn’t develop the way he had hoped, the Jets came calling.

Ultimately, general manager Joe Douglas managed to convince Jenkins to return on a meager one-year, $3.75 million contract — a fraction of what he originally expected to make.

Perhaps that was a product of Douglas playing the long game and refusing to budge above his desired price range. Or perhaps you could call that the Gregg Williams effect.

Either way, Jenkins will return to New York for another year coming off a career-high eight sacks in 2019. With four years of starting experience and 15 sacks over the last two years, Jenkins is far and away the most accomplished edge rusher on the roster.

But there’s a reason the Jets were able to get him back for so cheap. He’s not exactly an All-Pro caliber player.

Which is fine, but how could Jenkins take the next step this season. How could Jenkins find success with the Jets this season?

Let’s take a look.

How Jordan Jenkins can find success with the NY Jets in 2020

While it may not have been obvious to the casual viewer, Jenkins made major strides from 2018 to 2019 and he played the best football of his career this past season.

Aside from the sack total, Jenkins finished with a 66.9 Pro Football Focus grade which was his highest overall grade since his rookie season. What was most impressive was the leap he made as a pass-rusher.

After posting a sub-61.0 pass-rush grade in each of the last two seasons, Jenkins jumped to a much more impressive 67.4 grade which ranked 43rd among all edge defenders.

His pass-rush productivity still ranked in the bottom quarter of the NFL as his 32 pressures on 318 pass-rush snaps resulted in just a 10 percent success rate. But still, the improvements were evident.

Jenkins is never going to be a double-digit sack player. He’s never going to beat tackles around the edge with his athleticism nor is he going to wow anyone with his pass-rush arsenal.

Instead, he prides himself on his work ethic and consistency.

In 2019, Jenkins ranked 15th out of all qualified edge defenders with a 12 percent missed-tackle rate. It’s that level of consistency that makes him such a valuable player in spite of his below-average physical traits.

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Going into 2020, Jenkins must continue to show that same level of consistency. In an edge-rusher unit that features virtually no one else with any kind of starting experience, Jenkins must be the beacon of reliability that Gregg Williams can count on.

That includes making tackles, setting the edge better than he has in the past, and continuing to rack up hustle sacks when the coverage is good downfield.

Jordan Jenkins is a prototypical “glue guy.” He’s not someone who’s ever going to be a star, but he holds a valuable place in the locker room due to his leadership, worth ethic, and on-field consistency.

And given the barren state of the Jets’ outside linebackers, the team could ill-afford to have him be anything less this season. Given that Jenkins will likely be looking for a more lucrative contract in the offseason, don’t expect that work ethic to tail off either.

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Ultimately, the Jets just need Jenkins to keep being himself. And any improvements along the way will be an added bonus.

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