NY Jets: 10 players who will keep the rest of the 2020 season interesting

NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /
NY Jets (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

NY Jets fans should continue to tune in to watch these 10 players each week.

The NY Jets‘ season, for all intents and purposes, is over — and it’s been that way for quite a while. The Jets entered the 2020 season with low expectations and they’ve managed to fall short of all of them.

Realistically, the season has been over since Week 2. That was about the time when Jets fans realized what was in store this year. The following 10 or so weeks have been filled with most of the same — an unbridled disaster.

At 0-12, the Jets’ eyes are solely on Trevor Lawrence and the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. The results, apart from the race for the top pick, do not matter.

Knowing that, it’s been difficult to muster up the energy to tune in each week. After all, there are only so many blowouts and so much incompetence that people can take.

At a certain point, it almost feels as though Jets fans are rehashing the definition of insanity by doing the same thing over and over again.

But there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. And in this case, there are a select few lights hidden amongst the darkness that make it worthwhile to watch each week.

Which players on the roster serve as those hidden lights? Let’s take a look at 10 individuals who will make the remainder of the 2020 season interesting.

Next: 1. A wide receiver playing for his job and a developing young pass-rusher

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NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

10. Breshad Perriman, WR, NY Jets

Breshad Perriman isn’t a starting-caliber receiver — he’s proved that this year and throughout his career. His health is just too unreliable for any team to count on him as a starter going into a season.

But as a depth No. 4 receiver, you’d be hard-pressed to find any more talented in the league.

Perriman has flashed since returning from injury hauling in 11 catches for 234 yards over his last three games. His game-changing speed has been on full display and he’s demonstrated exactly what makes him such a special player.

Few players have the downfield speed that Perriman does and he has the ability to take it to the house on any given play. The 27-year-old is a free agent this offseason, but he’ll be playing for a new contract down the stretch.

Let’s see if he could convince the Jets to bring him back.

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9. Bryce Huff, EDGE, NY Jets

The Jets have long been searching for an answer at the edge-rush position. And while undrafted rookie Bryce Huff may not be a true “answer,” he can certainly be a part of the solution.

Huff impressed in training camp and was the only undrafted rookie to make the initial 53-man roster. It didn’t take long for him to crack the defensive rotation and now he’s a regular in the front seven.

While Huff hasn’t exactly packed the box score, he’s more than held his own as a valuable piece of the Jets’ edge-rush rotation. In fact, he’s arguably been one of the most productive pass-rushers on the team.

Huff is top-five among all rookie edge defenders in pressures and has been surprisingly effective when asked to drop back into coverage earning a Pro Football Focus coverage grade of 64.1 which is above average for his position.

Huff has the chance to establish himself as a starter going into 2021. And these last five games will be crucial for that.

Next: 2. Two overlooked members of the roster

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8. Braden Mann, P, NY Jets

It’s rare that a specialist manages to endear himself to a fanbase as quickly as Braden Mann has. The sixth-round rookie has been everything the Jets could have asked for and more since entering the league this season.

Not only is he the most used punter in the NFL booting the ball a league-high 56 times at the time of writing, but he’s been quite efficient as well. Mann has only punted the ball into the end zone three times despite nearly 60 kicks.

He leads all specialists in tackles and was leading all AFC punters in Pro Bowl votes until a few days ago. Now, his net average could certainly be better, but a lot of that is due to poor kick coverage as opposed to lackluster punts.

Mann is the real deal and it’s always a joy to watch him punt each week.

7. Folorunso Fatukasi, DL, NY Jets

The Jets have one of the best run-defenders in the NFL on their roster. Unfortunately, he’s a player that few people outside of Jets fans even know exists.

But make no mistake about it, Folorunso Fatukasi is a dominant player at his position.

After finishing as PFF’s No. 10 overall interior defensive lineman in 2019, he’s followed that up with an arguably better 2020 campaign. Fatukasi’s 85.4 grade currently ranks 10th at his position, but is a nearly 4.0-point improvement from last season.

On top of that, his 90.4 run-defense grade is the best in the NFL at his position, trailing just superstar linebacker Bobby Wagner for the top run-defense grade in the NFL.

Fatukasi is a budding star and while he may fly a bit under the radar from to time, he’s someone the Jets will undoubtedly continue to build around on defense.

Next: 3. A talented safety duo

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NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

6. Ashtyn Davis, S, NY Jets

Since taking over as the starting strong safety in Week 8, Ashtyn Davis has experienced his fair share of ups and downs. But for the most part, he’s held his own as a starter.

Davis took over for the injured Bradley McDougald and was immediately welcomed to the NFL with a difficult outing against the Kansas City Chiefs. But since that game, he’s slowly improved each week.

The third-round rookie finished with a career-high 12 tackles two weeks ago and has seen his PFF grade rise to a respectable 56.1. It’s not great, but it’s better than it was a few weeks ago.

Davis is still learning to harness his incredible athleticism and must become more aware in coverage, but he’s been particularly impressive in run defense scoring an excellent 74.1 PFF run-defense grade which ranks top-15 at his position.

He’s learning the ropes, but at the very least, Davis has been a significant improvement over McDougald and looks well on his way to being a long-term starter on defense.

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5. Marcus Maye, S, NY Jets

Marcus Maye has long been an underappreciated player in this league, but in 2020 he’s taken his game to a whole new level.

Maye is currently on pace for a career-high in tackles and has already notched new career-highs in pass deflections, forced fumbles, tackles for loss, and QB hits. But his production doesn’t end on the stat sheet.

The 27-year-old is currently PFF’s No. 4 ranked safety in the entire NFL — his fourth-best coverage grade a large reason for that. Comparatively, his former teammate Jamal Adams, is PFF’s 49th-best safety with the 71st-ranked coverage grade.

Maye has broken out in 2020 and is playing like one of the best safeties in the league. It couldn’t have come at a better time too with the former second-round pick set to hit free agency.

Will the Jets decide to bring him back? Perhaps he could convince them with his play over the final five games of the season.

Next: 4. Two budding defensive stars

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4. Bryce Hall, CB, NY Jets

It’s too early to make any declarations about Bryce Hall‘s future, but the early returns have certainly been promising.

Drafted in the fifth round of the 2020 NFL Draft, the Jets had high hopes that Hall could outplay his draft range given that the former Virginia star was considered an early-Day-2 prospect prior to a serious ankle injury he suffered in his senior season.

Hall missed all of training camp and the first eight weeks of his rookie campaign, but as soon as he was deemed healthy enough to return, he was immediately thrust into action.

The 23-year-old played nearly 50 percent of snaps in his NFL debut and has played all but one defensive snap since that game. Now, with Pierre Desir gone and Brian Poole and Blessuan Austin on IR, the fifth-round rookie is suddenly the Jets’ No. 1 cornerback.

Hall will have the next five weeks to prove to the Jets that he’s a starting-caliber player. And given how well he’s played so far, the arrow is most definitely pointing up on his future.

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3. Quinnen Williams, DL, NY Jets

In an abysmal season, the play of budding star Quinnen Williams has been one of the only causes for optimism. After a somewhat underwhelming rookie season, expectations were high for Williams in 2020 as he looked to live up to his draft status.

Needless to say, he’s done his absolute best to make everyone forget about his disappointing rookie campaign.

Williams has broken out and is currently top-five in the NFL at his position in both pass-rush win rate and run-stop rate. He’s played like a top-five player at his position and it’s hard to argue otherwise.

He has five sacks in 10 games and leads the NFL in stops by a wide margin. And at just 22-years-old, the sky is the limit for how good Williams could be.

There aren’t many reasons to watch the Jets each week, but Quinnen Williams remains chief among those reasons.

Next: 5. A pair of offensive building blocks

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NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

2. Denzel Mims, WR, NY Jets

Much like Bryce Hall, it took a little while for Denzel Mims to finally get on the field. But once he did, the former Baylor star has shown exactly why the Jets snagged him in the second round of this year’s draft.

Mims has flashed his big-play potential totaling at least 40 yards in each of his five games this season. He has 200 yards over his last three games and that total could be higher if you factor in the defensive penalties he’s drawn.

Working in an abysmal offense and with very poor quarterback play, Mims has already impressed and proven to be a more-than-capable No. 2 receiver. And with his raw talent, there’s no reason he can’t be a future No. 1.

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The Jets still have some work to do at the wide receiver position in the offseason. But it’s clear that they at least have one starter on the outside in the promising, young Mims.

The offense may be dreadful to watch, but Mims remains one of the few players keeping fans interested.

1. Mekhi Becton, OT, NY Jets

The Jets have their franchise left tackle, and his name is Mekhi Becton. Drafted 11th overall back in April, many saw Becton as a long-term developmental project at the NFL level.

Possessing the size and athleticism to be a future All-Pro, it was believed that Becton would need some time to harness his craft and learn the nuances of his position. Rookie growing pains were expected.

Instead, those growing pains have been few and far between as Becton has instantly established himself as the Jets’ best offensive lineman. And at 21-years-old, there’s no telling just how good he could be.

Becton is one of just 15 tackles with a PFF pass-block and run-block grade north of 73.0 and is currently the Jets’ highest-graded offensive player — slightly ahead of the aforementioned Mims.

Jets fans could rest easy knowing that the future of the left side of their team’s offensive line is safe with Becton holding down the fort.

Next. NY Jets: 5 coaching candidates who can change the franchise’s culture

And if only for the sake of witnessing Becton maul opponents on a weekly basis, Jets games are worth watching over the final five weeks of the season.