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NY Jets: 20 individual superlatives and awards for the 2020 season

NY Jets (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
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NY Jets
NY Jets

NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the NY Jets’ 2020 season has come to an end, we assign some yearly superlatives.

The NY Jets‘ 2020 season has come to an end — and what a season it was.

While expectations were understandably low to begin the year, few could have anticipated the season going the way it did. A woeful 0-13 start saw the Jets become the laughing stock of the NFL before the team managed to rattle off two late-season victories.

Those victories, against two playoff teams nonetheless, managed to drop the Jets out of the race for the No. 1 overall pick and, effectively, forced them to miss out on Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

Is that what this season will be remembered for?

Perhaps it will also be remembered for the culmination of the Adam Gase era. Gase went into the season facing his fair share of criticism and did everything in his power to pour gasoline on the already-blazing flames.

Now that he’s gone, the organization is left in shambles following his departure.

Or maybe it will be remembered for the demise of Sam Darnold‘s time in New York. With the Jets likely to draft a new quarterback in the offseason, the 2020 season might mark the final time that Darnold wears a Jets jersey.

Either way, it’s safe to say that the 2020 season will be one to forget for Jets fans. But now that the dust has settled, what could we take away from this miserable abomination of a football season?

We did our best to assign some fitting superlatives for the members of the 2020 team. Let’s take a look at who came away with this year’s awards.

Next: 1. Most/Least Valuable Player

NY Jets
NY Jets

NY Jets

1. Most Valuable Player: Mekhi Becton, LT, NY  Jets

It was rather challenging selecting one player for this award, somewhat because of the lack of talent on the roster, but also because there were, in fact, a few worthy candidates.

In the end, we decided on rookie left tackle Mekhi Becton to be the team’s MVP of the 2020 season. Now, it should be noted that this doesn’t mean that Becton is the best player on the roster.

He may one day reach that point, but he’s likely not there yet. However, in terms of positional value when determining which player truly is most valuable, no player stands out more than Becton.

Becton burst on to the scene as a 21-year-old rookie and quickly established himself as the Jets’ most important building block of the future. The sky is the limit for the former Louisville star and this won’t be the only superlative he receives.

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2. Least Valuable “Player”: Adam Gase, HC, NY Jets

Adam Gase isn’t necessarily a player, but there was really no other choice for this award. While the roster that Gase inherited was hardly impressive by any means, no individual will be blamed more for the Jets’ struggles in 2020 than him.

The Jets once again finished with the league’s worst offense in terms of yards per game and also finished dead last in points per game and offensive efficiency. Under Gase, the offense never finished above 31st in either category.

From the regression of Sam Darnold, the overreliance on Frank Gore, and the success of players like Robby Anderson elsewhere, it became painfully obvious that Gase wasn’t fit for the position.

The season ultimately cost him his job — one he should have never been given in the first place. And when we think back on this season years down the line, no person will be most associated with the Jets’ downfall than Adam Gase.

Next: 2. Offensive/Defensive Player of the Year

NY Jets
NY Jets

NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

3. Offensive Player of the Year: Mekhi Becton, LT, NY Jets

There were really only two candidates for this award. The eventual winner, Becton, and wide receiver Jamison Crowder. In the end, we decided to go with Becton because of his overall consistency.

Becton finished with a Pro Football Focus grade of 74.3 which was less than two points behind Crowder’s 76.0 for the highest grade on the offense. But he managed to earn that grade at a much more challenging position.

The 11th overall pick was considered a project coming out of college, but he looked more NFL-ready than most rookie tackles in recent years. Becton was one of only 16 tackles to receive a PFF pass-block and run-block grade north of 73.0 — and he did so at only 21-years-old.

On a downright abysmal offense, Becton was one of the lone standouts. This is only the beginning for a player who projects to become one of the NFL’s best offensive linemen before long.

4. Defensive Player of the Year: Marcus Maye, S, NY Jets

Much like the previous award, this was a two-person race. And somewhat controversially, we decided to go with safety Marcus Maye over defensive lineman Quinnen Williams. Don’t worry, Williams will appear a bit later.

But as for Maye, the 27-year-old put together a career year finishing with an elite PFF grade of 82.8 which ranked fourth out of all safeties in the NFL.

He played in all 16 games for the third time in four NFL seasons and recorded career highs in tackles, tackles for loss, sacks, QB hits, interceptions, pass deflections, forced fumbles, and even recovered the first fumble of his career.

From the analytics to the stat sheet, Maye was one of the best safeties in the league by every metric. Entering free agency for the first time, Maye will likely look to cash in on what could be his only opportunity to secure a significant payday.

But the Jets should do everything they can to bring back their still-underrated defensive MVP.

Next: 3. Rookie of the Year/Breakout Player

NY Jets (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

5. Rookie of the Year: Mekhi Becton, LT, NY Jets

Mekhi Becton makes his third appearance on this list, and this time, he didn’t really face much competition. Of the nine draft picks in Joe Douglas’ first class, no player did more to establish himself as a future star than Becton.

While his impressive play will be overshadowed by a particularly strong rookie tackle class featuring the likes of Tristan Wirfs, Michael Onwenu, and Jedrick Wills, nothing should take away from just how dominant Becton was in 2020.

Squaring off with some of the best pass-rushers in the NFL such as Myles Garrett, Nick Bosa, and Joey Bosa, Becton more than held his own. And it’s no surprise the Jets found significantly more success running behind the left side of the offensive line.

Becton will only continue to get better from here and if he continues on this trajectory, expect to hear his name mentioned among the greats in the league.

6. Breakout Player of the Year: Quinnen Williams, DL, NY Jets

Perhaps no player entered the 2020 season facing more pressure than Quinnen Williams. After an underwhelming rookie season, Williams proved his detractors wrong with a phenomenal sophomore campaign.

Williams finished with seven sacks, 10 tackles for loss, 14 QB hits, and 55 tackles in 13 games completely blowing his 2019 numbers out of the water. The former Alabama star received an 81.4 overall PFF grade which ranked 13th out of all interior defensive linemen in the league.

Moreover, he finished top-five in both pass-rush and run-stop win rate establishing himself as not only an elite run defender, but one of the best interior rushers in the NFL.

Quinnen Williams is already perhaps the best overall player on the Jets’ roster, and at just 23-years-old, he’s only scratching the surface of what he’s capable of.

Who knew Williams could make such an impact? Here’s looking at you, Bucky Brooks.

Next: 4. Biggest Surprise/Disappointment of the Year

NY Jets
NY Jets

NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

7. Biggest Surprise of the Year: John Franklin-Myers, DL, NY Jets

Despite their overall lack of success, the Jets actually had quite a few surprising standouts this season. But none were more surprising than defensive lineman John Franklin-Myers.

A waiver-wire pickup a year ago, Franklin-Myers entered training camp as a roster bubble player and finished the season as one of the best young defenders on the team.

The former fourth-round pick quickly emerged as one of the best interior pass-rushers on the roster finishing with the 18th-best PFF pass-rush grade at his position and recording three sacks as well as an additional 13 QB hits.

Quinnen Williams was the only Jets’ player to record more QB hits and pressures than Franklin-Myers.

Others such as Ty Johnson, Josh Adams, Pat Elflein, and Javelin Guidry were considered, but none made quite the impact that Franklin-Myers did.

NY Jets: 3 coaching candidates with ties to Joe Douglas. Hot

8. Biggest Disappointment of the Year: Sam Darnold, QB, NY Jets

There were plenty of possibilities for this award. From Chris Herndon to Blessuan Austin, the Jets certainly had their fair share of disappointing duds in 2020. But none were more significant — and disheartening — than Sam Darnold.

Darnold entered the 2020 season as the mostly undisputed franchise quarterback of the Jets. Sure, he hadn’t done a ton to prove himself worthy of that label in his first two years, but the evidence seemed to point to a breakout campaign sooner rather than later.

But in 2020, the Jets were treated to anything but.

Darnold completed under 60 percent of his passes, tossed more interceptions (11) than touchdowns (9), and finished with a career-low yards-per-attempt of 6.1. It was the worst year of Darnold’s career and it came at the worst possible time.

Facing a difficult decision this offseason, it seems more likely that the Jets opt to move on rather than stick with the struggling soon-to-be fourth-year quarterback.

And that’s something few would have predicted going into the season.

Next: 5. Most underrated/overrated player

NY Jets
NY Jets

NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

9. Most Underrated Player of the Year: Folorunso Fatukasi, DL, NY Jets

Folorunso Fatukasi was arguably the biggest surprise of the 2019 season, and in 2020, he proved that last year was no fluke. But despite his overwhelming success, he remains wholly underrated.

Fatukasi finished with an elite PFF grade of 80.1 that was only a slight dip from his production a year ago. His 86.2 run-defense grade ranked second among all interior defensive linemen as he’s established himself as a top-five run defender in the NFL at this point.

But despite this, he still doesn’t receive the credit he deserves. You could likely chalk that up to the unglamorous position that he plays, but that still shouldn’t be a justification.

Fatukasi is a top-five player on this roster and one of the best nose tackles in the NFL. And in 2020, he proved that to both the Jets and the football world.

10. Most Overrated Player of the Year: Harvey Langi, LB, NY Jets

The Jets are a bad team. And when you have bad teams with bad rosters, there always tends to be a player or two that gets overrated by a fanbase that glorifies their value.

Harvey Langi is one of those players.

Langi is a fun, exciting player with an incredible story, but his production on the field in 2020 was far worse than most seem to admit. The 28-year-old veteran finished with an absolutely awful 34.9 PFF grade which ranked him as the 86th linebacker out of only 90 qualifiers.

Sure, he was a spark-plug, high-energy guy who made a flashy play here and there. But he was also one of the worst linebackers in the NFL and the numbers support it.

A poor coverage linebacker who’s even worse in run defense (29.7 PFF run-defense grade), Langi is best served as a special-teamer which is likely what his role will be in 2021 — assuming he returns.

Jets fans know that Langi isn’t a superstar, but it’s time to call a spade a spade. Harvey Langi had no business receiving meaningful defensive snaps — even given the team’s injuries.

Next: 6. Most Underpaid/Overpaid Player of the Year

NY Jets
NY Jets

NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

11. Most Underpaid Player of the Year: Brian Poole, CB, NY Jets

For the sake of this superlative, we’re going to be excluding players on rookie contracts because the award would just be given to the best young player on the team. And that isn’t what this is about.

Instead, we’re going to honor slot cornerback Brian Poole who put together another fantastic season in 2020 prior to a season-ending knee injury. Poole re-signed with the Jets on a dirt-cheap one-year, $4.5 million contract in the offseason.

This was despite a standout 2019 season that saw him finish as PFF’s ninth-best cornerback. In 2020, he proved that he was no one-year wonder earning another impressive PFF grade of 77.1 which ranked as the league’s 10th-best cornerback.

He was limited to only nine games and will be a free agent in the offseason, but after another outstanding season, it would certainly be in the Jets’ best interest to bring him back again.

This time, he’ll likely demand a higher salary, however.

12. Most Overpaid Player of the Year: Henry Anderson, DL, NY Jets

We’re going to exclude players like C.J. Mosley and Le’Veon Bell for this award seeing as they either didn’t play this season or barely played at all. That leaves us with the biggest remaining salary cap culprit — defensive lineman Henry Anderson.

Following a breakout 2018 campaign, then-GM Mike Maccagnan decided to hand Anderson — a player who had never been more than a rotational defender and had a history of injuries — a three-year, $25.2 million extension with a whopping $17 million in guarantees.

The Jets will finally be able to get out of that embarrassing contract this offseason, but the damage has already been done.

Predictably, Anderson never matched the production from his 2018 season and that continued this year when he was inargubaly the Jets’ fourth-best defensive lineman.

The Jets will move on from Anderson in the offseason, but it will still come with a dead cap charge of $1.3 million. One of the many parting gifts from the former Jets general manager.

Next: 7. Biggest Draft Surprise/Bust of the Year

NY Jets
NY Jets

NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

13. Biggest Draft Surprise of the Year: Bryce Hall, CB, NY Jets

Joe Douglas’ first draft class with the Jets has been a mixed bag, but he seemingly snagged great value late in the draft with cornerback Bryce Hall.

Hall was selected in the fifth round of the draft, but was considered by most to be a Day-2 talent. A devastating ankle injury suffered in his senior year of college tanked his draft stock, but the Jets bet on his upside and selected him anyway.

While Hall still has a ways to go, he showed enough promise in his rookie season that the Jets might allow him to compete for a starting job in 2021. And for a fifth-round pick, that’s not bad at all.

Undrafted rookies Bryce Huff and Javelin Guidry were also considered here (even though they weren’t draft picks), but Hall was the better player and is the only one in-line for a starting job next season.

14. Biggest Draft Bust of the Year: James Morgan, QB, NY Jets

Two of Douglas’ nine draft picks didn’t suit up for a single game in 2020 — fourth-round picks James Morgan and Cameron Clark. But of the two, the Morgan selection continues to be a head-scratcher.

Clark missed most of training camp and a good portion of the season with injuries. Combine that with the fact that he was learning a new position and coming out of a small school in Charlotte and it isn’t a total surprise that the Jets didn’t feel he was ready yet.

But as for Morgan, this pick never made sense from the beginning.

Selecting a backup quarterback in the fourth-round was always going to be a controversial decision, but Morgan’s status within the organization did little to quell those concerns.

Morgan was the fifth quarterback on the depth chart coming out of camp and the Jets had such little confidence in him, that not only did they opt to use Mike White as the backup quarterback when Sam Darnold was out, but they kept David Fales on the practice squad just in case.

Essentially, this indicates that Fales, a 30-year-old practice squad journeyman, was held in higher regard than Morgan.

It’s still early, but this already seems like a total waste of a draft pick.

Next: 8. Best/Worst Free-Agent Signing of the Year

NY Jets
NY Jets

NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

15. Best Free-Agent Signing of the Year: Connor McGovern, C, NY Jets

There really wasn’t a worthy recipient for this award. Joe Douglas opted to go the bargain route in free agency this past offseason and it showed with the results on the field. But if we’re going to give it to anyone, it’ll be center Connor McGovern.

McGovern struggled early on grading out as PFF’s 30th-best center over the first eight weeks of the season. But he managed to turn things around and over the final eight weeks ranked as a top-10 center by PFF’s grading scale.

Overall, he was close to a below-average center. But there’s reason to believe that with improved guard play next to him, he could be a lot better in 2021.

The other serious contenders for this superlative were right tackle George Fant (who tailed off as the season progressed) and right guard Greg Van Roten. None of the three were particularly good, but McGovern’s strong finish earns him the nod.

16. Worst Free-Agent Signing of the Year: Pierre Desir, CB, NY Jets

On the other hand, there were plenty of worthy candidates for this award. From Patrick Onwuasor to Josh Andrews to even Breshad Perriman, the Jets had their fair share of free-agent duds. But none were quite as unimpressive as Pierre Desir.

At the very least, the other three managed to finish the season with the team. Desir’s play was so poor that he was cut after just nine games.

The former Indianapolis Colts’ cornerback entered the year first on the depth chart, but it quickly became clear that he wasn’t even starting-caliber. And after a particularly awful performance in Week 9 against the New England Patriots, the Jets cut their losses and moved on.

Douglas’ first free-agent class was borderline disastrous and Desir is the shining example of that.

Next: 9. Special Teams Player of the Year/Best Midseason Acquisition

NY Jets
NY Jets

NY Jets

17. Special Teams Player of the Year: Thomas Hennessy, LS, NY Jets

This one might make people a little upset. But screw it, no longer will one of the most consistent players on the Jets’ roster be overlooked. It’s time for Thomas Hennessy to receive the recognition that he deserves!

In all seriousness, most would likely expect this award to go to rookie punter Braden Mann. Mann impressed early in the season and even led all AFC punters in Pro Bowl votes at a point. But in reality, he may have been a little overhyped.

Just a little. *Ducks in fear of the angry Twitter mob*

Mann finished with the third-worst net yards per attempt in the league and downed the ball inside the 20 just 19 times. He fell victim to a poor coverage team on multiple occasions, but his play clearly tailed off as the year went on.

That said, there is no better tackling specialist in the NFL.

Hennessy, on the other hand, remained the model of consistency and hasn’t been tagged with a poor snap a single time in his Jets career. 2020 was more of the same from a player who deserves a Pro Bowl nod one of these years.

More from Jets News

18. Best Midseason Acquisition: Ty Johnson, RB, NY Jets

The Jets claimed running back Ty Johnson off waivers in early October following his release from the Detroit Lions. Little did they know that he would go on to become their most effective runner by the season’s end.

While he was only given the lion’s share of touches on a pair of occasions, Johnson made the most of his limited opportunities finishing with 254 yards on 54 carries for a very efficient 4.7 yards per attempt.

Compare that to the duo of Frank Gore and La’Mical Perine who failed to top 3.6 yards per carry and it’s even more impressive. Johnson has earned a spot on next year’s roster and should compete for playing time in what will hopefully be a revamped backfield rotation.

Guard Pat Elflein was also considered for this award, but Johnson ultimately made a bigger impact. After all, he did become the first Jets player to rush for 100 yards in a game in over two years.

That has to count for something, right?

Next: 10. Coach of the Year/Remember Him?

NY Jets
NY Jets

NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

19. Coach of the Year: Andre Carter, DL Coach, NY Jets

This one was also especially challenging to come up with a worthy winner. Adam Gase and the entire offensive coaching staff captained the NFL’s worst offense while defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was fired midseason.

And even special-teams coordinator Brant Boyer’s unit took a major step back in 2020. So when all was said and done, we went with an outside-the-box selection in defensive line coach Andre Carter.

Carter oversaw arguably the best positional unit on the roster and was closely involved in the development of multiple key players.

It was under Carter’s watch that Quinnen Williams and John Franklin-Myers had breakout seasons. And Folorunso Fatukasi continued his upward trajectory in his second year paired with Carter.

Perhaps one could also consider interim defensive coordinator Frank Bush for this award, but Carter deserves some recognition. He earned this superlative.

More from The Jet Press

20. The Remember Him? Award: Chris Hogan, WR, NY Jets

2020 was a long year, not only in the football world, but for all of us, in general. As such, it’s always fun to take a look back and remember the early portion of the season. You know, when there was still some semblance of hope.

And when one does look back, you’ll often re-discover a few names that make you realize just how long a football season is. Thus, our 2020 “Remember Him?” award goes to none other than Chris Hogan.

Remember him?

Hogan joined the Jets in training camp following a slew of injuries at the wide receiver position. And he would go on to start a whopping four of the first five games of the season before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.

Hogan started more games for the Jets in 2020 than the likes of Le’Veon Bell, Blake Cashman, Frankie Luvu, John Franklin-Myers, and Braxton Berrios. It’s hard to imagine that Hogan was a starting wide receiver on the Jets just three months ago, but it’s true.

Other candidates for this award include Alec Ogletree (who started Week 1!), Quincy Wilson (everyone’s favorite training camp darling), Kalen Ballage (future Chargers’ starting running back), and Patrick Onwuasor (who played a total of eight special-teams snaps this year).

Next. New York Jets: 15 best free agent acquisitions of all-time

All of those players played games with the Jets in 2020. Do you remember that?

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