5 moves the NY Jets must make to compete for a Super Bowl in 2023
3. The NY Jets must fix the safety position
Aside from the quarterback position, there was no more evident weakness on the Jets' roster in 2022 than safety. Jordan Whitehead disappointed in his first year with the team, while Lamarcus Joyner proved to be one of the worst starting safeties in football.
Whitehead's Pro Football Focus run defense grade ranked 59th out of 82 qualified safeties as the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft pick frequently missed tackles and overran assignments. But Whitehead might as well have been Ed Reed in comparison to Joyner.
The Jets re-signed Joyner in the offseason after his first season with the team was limited to just nine defensive snaps due to injury. The hope was that Joyner could recapture his glory days with the Rams now that he was a full-time safety again.
That, somewhat predictably, didn't happen. Joyner missed a whopping 14.5 percent of his tackle attempts and was one of just four qualified safeties to finish with a PFF coverage and tackling grade below 55.0.
Joyner was one of the worst safeties in the NFL last season and will almost certainly not be back in 2023. Whitehead will likely return, but the Jets need to find a way to upgrade the free safety spot next to him.
Perhaps that could mean targeting high-profile names like Jimmie Ward, Jordan Poyer, or Jessie Bates in free agency. Perhaps it means using a top-50 draft pick on a safety.
Whatever the Jets choose to do, they absolutely need to find a solution. This was the one position holding the Jets' defense back last season.