Re-grading NY Jets' 2023 NFL Draft class after one year

What does the Jets' 2023 draft class look like after one year?

Will McDonald
Will McDonald / Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
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Israel Abanikanda, RB, NY Jets - Round 5, Pick 143

Most of the Jets' Day 3 picks didn't see the field much as rookies, and that's true for Israel Abanikanda. While many young running backs find ways to contribute early in their careers, Abanikanda struggled in his limited opportunities.

The Pittsburgh product carried the ball just 22 times for 70 yards, averaging a lowly 3.2 yards per carry. Abanikanda's lack of playing time came largely as a result of a lack of trust from the Jets' coaching staff — and it's not hard to see why.

Abanikanda struggled in pass protection, so much so that the Jets only asked him to pass block on four snaps all season. Combine that with his ball security issues and it's easy to see why Abanikanda didn't see the field.

The young running back also struggled as a receiver, dropping 20 percent of his targets, and showed no ability to run through contract. Right now, Abanikanda is a change-of-pace speed back who offers little else. The Jets need more from him in 2024 if he's going to stick around.

Grade: C-

Zaire Barnes, LB, NY Jets - Round 6, Pick 184

The Jets drafted Zaire Barnes with the expectation that he'd be an immediate contributor on special teams and extra linebacker depth. That didn't exactly happen.

Barnes was a healthy scratch for most of the season, losing all of his special-teams snaps to the likes of Jamien Sherwood and Chazz Surratt. The Western Michigan product only saw the field when Surratt was forced to miss a few games.

In total, Barnes played just four games as a rookie, recording zero stats on just 32 snaps. It's unfair to ask much of a sixth-round pick, but he didn't even fill the role the Jets envisioned for him.

Perhaps Barnes could still develop into a special-teams contributor, but he enters the 2024 season firmly on the roster bubble. He might have to beat out Surratt to earn a spot.

Grade: C-