NY Jets hoping for big things from Jabari Zuniga in his NFL debut

NY Jets, Jabari Zuniga (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
NY Jets, Jabari Zuniga (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /

The NY Jets should see the NFL debut of third-round pick Jabari Zuniga this Sunday.

It’s going to take an absolute miracle for the NY Jets‘ defense to stifle the speeding bullet that is the Kansas City Chiefs’ offense this Sunday afternoon.

With Jets’ third-round rookie Jabari Zuniga set to make his NFL debut at Arrowhead Stadium, could it be possible that the edge rusher out of Florida is, in fact, the miracle that the Jets need to beat the second highest-scoring offense in the league?

Probably not.

Despite coming off their best defensive performance of the season, the Jets are currently listed as 19.5-point underdogs against the 6-1 Chiefs.

Last week, the Jets defense managed to shut Josh Allen and the Bills out of the end zone completely as Gregg Williams’ defensive unit displayed remarkable resilience in the red zone.

Unfortunately, the defensive feat was overshadowed by yet another pathetic offensive showing as the Jets somehow only managed to net a total of four yards in the second half.

While the Jets’ anemic offense continues to embarrass themselves on a weekly basis, Jets fans should shift their focus towards the emergence of the 2020 NFL Draft class for the sake of their own sanity.

Of the nine players drafted by Jets’ general manager Joe Douglas, just five of them have seen the field in 2020.

So far, first-round left tackle Mekhi Becton has looked like perhaps the best rookie tackle in the league while fourth-round rookie running back La’Mical Perine has shown flashes when given opportunities.

Second-round wide receiver Denzel Mims had a strong debut last week, and sixth-round punter Braden Mann has an absolute cannon for a leg.

Third-round safety Ashtyn Davis has been buried behind Marcus Maye and Bradley McDougald on the depth chart, however, he will get the start on Sunday to fill in for an injured McDougald.

With Zuniga’s debut set for Sunday, Jets’ general manager Joe Douglas will have his eyes fixed on the former Gators’ pass-rusher.

After the Jets selected Davis with their first third-round pick, many expected them to go the offensive route with their second, as Houston tackle Josh Jones and South Carolina wide receiver Bryan Edwards were both still available.

Instead, Douglas decided to take a shot on Zuniga who was coming off a high-ankle sprain injury that sidelined him for most of his 2019 senior season.

The NY Jets will be hoping for big things from Jabari Zuniga in his NFL debut.

The pick may not have been the most popular one among Jets fans, however, Douglas addressed a glaring need at edge rusher, perhaps the most valuable position on the defensive side of the football.

Back in April, Douglas told Jets’ team reporter Ethan Greenberg that “[Zuniga] plays with really good hand strength. He can really disrupt gaps. He’s an edge presence.” Douglas also praised Zuniga’s “explosiveness” and said that his “suddenness jumps off tape”.

When you watch Zuniga’s college highlights, you will see what Douglas was talking about.

The 6-foot-3, 260-pounder brings an element of speed and strength that the Jets defense has been missing for quite some time now. His ability to finish people rather than just simply tackle them is something that this Jets defense desperately needs right now.

Zuniga’s stats never jumped off the page at Florida, as he failed to have ever posted more than 6.5 sacks in a season. However, it was his raw talent and hot start to the 2019 season before getting injured that had Douglas and the Jets convinced that he was worth a third-round pick.

Debuting against this Chiefs offense is no easy task as Patrick Mahomes has been sacked just 10 times this season, tied for the 18th most sacked quarterback in the league.

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Zuniga has his work cut out for him on Sunday, but we should expect to see him on the field early and often.