The NY Jets' defense has gone from being arguably the worst statistical unit in the NFL a year ago to one of the best, and it's likely the biggest reason the Jets have found the success they have this season.
Every level of the Jets' defense is improved from where it was a year ago. A dominant pass rush has been paired with one of the best cornerback rooms the NFL has seen in years. It's given the Jets a sense of identity on that side of the ball.
In fact, the Jets' defense is currently on pace to finish both top-10 in scoring and total defense after finishing dead-last in both categories last year. If that happens, they'll become the first team in the Super Bowl era to accomplish such a feat.
Needless to say, we gave out some high grades for the Jets' defensive units after 10 weeks.
NY Jets defensive ends
Robert Saleh has long prided himself on his team's pass rushes, and in 2022, the Jets have finally constructed an elite pass rush. Carl Lawson is back and living up to his contract. John Franklin-Myers remains a perpetually underrated part of the defense.
Bryce Huff is the most efficient pass rusher in the NFL. Rookies like Jermaine Johnson and Micheal Clemons have each contributed at a high level. Even Vinny Curry is back and producing. This Jets' defensive end group is as deep as it is talented.
NY Jets defensive tackles
The face of this group is Quinnen Williams who has been statistically the most effective pass-rushing defensive tackle in the NFL. Williams is having himself an All-Pro season and is one of the best defensive players in the league right now.
The play of Sheldon Rankins shouldn't be overlooked either with the veteran defensive tackle putting together a very solid bounce-back season prior to his injury. Solomon Thomas and Nathan Shepherd are uninspiring depth, but Williams and Rankins carry this grade to an 'A.'
NY Jets linebackers
The lone addition the Jets made at linebacker this offseason was the summer signing of Kwon Alexander, and although he's mostly played a part-time role, he's been arguably the team's best player at the position.
It's not just Alexander, though. C.J. Mosley is having a much better season and is the centerpiece of this Jets' defense. Even Quincy Williams has cleaned up his game and become a more consistent player. The Jets have very much improved at linebacker.
NY Jets cornerbacks
The Jets have the best cornerback room in the NFL. Sauce Gardner can make a case to be the best cornerback in the league just nine games into his NFL career. D.J. Reed is a star in his own right and very well could be a top-10 cornerback.
We can't overlook Michael Carter II either who has established himself as one of the best nickel cornerbacks in football. Guys like Brandin Echols and Bryce Hall, who would be starting on some teams, can't even see the field. This is an elite unit.
NY Jets safeties
If you were to pinpoint one weakness on this Jets' defense, it would be their safeties. Lamarcus Joyner has rebounded from a difficult start to the season, but he's still prone to occasional missed tackles and lapses in coverage.
Jordan Whitehead is exactly who the Jets thought they were getting — a no-nonsense enforcer who is below-average in coverage and will miss his share of tackles. Joyner and Whitehead are league-average starters at their positions.