Who Stays, Who Goes? Projecting the Jets 53 man Roster

With just one more preseason game remaining which will consist largely of players who will get their walking papers in the coming days, it’s time to take a stab at which players will make Gang Green’s final 53-man roster before the season kicks off on September 9th.

Quarterbacks (2): Sam Darnold, Trevor Siemian

Luke Falk becomes a practice squad candidate while Davis Webb is looking for work.

Running Backs (4): Le’Veon Bell, Ty Montgomery, Bilal Powell, Trenton Cannon

Eli McGuire gets bumped by the return of Bilal Powell and Cannon edges him out for a roster spot due to his outstanding special teams coverage and potential as an explosive situational player.  Valentine Holmes lands on the practice squad.

Wide Receivers (7): Robby Anderson, Quincy Enunwa, Jamison Crowder, Deontay Burnett, Josh Bellamy, Charone Peake, Greg Dortch

Bellamy did little in the preseason but makes it as a Gase favorite.  Charone Peake barely hangs on for another season (for now).

Tight End (3): Ryan Griffin, Eric Tomlinson, Trevon Wesco

Chris Herndon is suspended for the first four games of the season so Daniel Brown is the odd man out.  Wesco has shown enough as a blocker that it could bump Eric Tomlinson when Herndon returns.

Offensive Line (9): Kelvin Beachum, Kelechi Osemele, Ryan Kalil, Brian Winters, Brandon Shell, Tom Compton, Jonotthan Harrison, Chuma Edoga, Alex Lewis

Brent Qvale’s injury kept him on the shelf and keeps him off the roster as the new regime didn’t get an extended look at him.  Roster hopeful Ben Braden doesn’t hang around after Joe Douglas traded for Alex Lewis.

Defensive Line (6): Henry Anderson, Quinnen Williams, Leonard Williams, Steve McLendon, Foley Fatukasi, Bronson Kaufusi.

Nathan Shepherd loses his roster spot while the much improved Folorunso Fatukasi makes the 53.  In our view, Kyle Phillips is another practice squad candidate.

Linebackers (8): Jordan Jenkins, Neville Hewitt, CJ Mosley, Frankie Luvu, Tarell Basham, Jachai Polite, Blake Cashman, Anthony Wint

Safety (4): Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye, Rotez Miles, Derrick Kindred

Adams and Maye look to become what so many had hoped when they were drafted a few seasons ago and Miles looks for an expanded role in Gregg Williams’ defense.  Kindred’s familiarity with Williams helps him hang around and bump Doug Middleton.

Cornerback (7): Trumaine Johnson, Darryl Roberts, Brian Poole, Marcus Cooper, Alex Brown, Parry Nickerson, Kyron Brown

Some of these guys only stick because the position is littered with question marks.  Waiver wire moves (and possibly trades) will mean some changes will be made in a hurry.

Spcialists (3): Taylor Bertolet, Lac Edwards, Thomas Hennessey

Bertolet is a place holder while the Jets wait for another kicker to shake looks.  Keep an eye on veteran Dan Bailey.

As we already said, some of these names will change in the hours and days after teams finalize their 53, so keep your eyes peeled.

 

 

Do Jets Have In-house Options to Fix What’s Broken?

Ask any Jets fan who has been keeping up with Gang Green over the past couple of seasons what worries them most about this team and you’ll surely hear a list topped by the team’s lack of an edge rusher, a sometimes leaky offensive line, a carousel of bad cornerback play and the team’s need for a “true” number one receiver.

Some of these concerns are legitimate and others are based in truth but overblown as is often the case when a team is struggling to play competitive football.  The truth of the matter is that there are some areas that will need to be fixed via trade or free agency, but which concerns are real, and which are imagined?

Pass Rusher: Would it be nice to have a single player who could wreak havoc and terrorize opposing quarterbacks consistently?  Certainly.  Without such a player, does this mean the Jets won’t be able to get to the quarterback with their current personnel?  Absolutely not.

Gregg Williams’ preference to bring the heat is well-documented and with the talent he has at his disposal, the Jets of 2019 should do a much better job of getting to the quarterback than they did in 2018 when their 39 total sacks tied the them for 16th in the NFL along with the 114 quarterback hits that placed them third overall according to pro football reference.  

Expect Williams to use All-Pro safety Jamal Adams to get after the quarterback more than Kacy Rodgers and Todd Bowles did while Frankie Luvu hopes take the next step off the edge.  Adding Quinnen Williams and CJ Mosely to  a front seven that already consists of Henry Anderson, Leonard Williams and Jordan Jenkins won’t hurt either.

When all is said and done, the Jets may not have any one player with a eye-popping sack total, but is there any reason why five or six starters can’t generate 7 or more sacks with a few chipped in here and there from their part-time players?

Corner Crisis: There’s good news and bad news for the Jets at cornerback.  The good news is that they should only have to be about league average to make the playoffs.  The bad news is, they might not be good enough to do that. 

Darryl Roberts made strides at cornerback last season and looks to hold down the starting job this season.

Those hoping for a bounce back season from Trumaine Johnson were likely encouraged by the fact that his name popped up several times during training camp as he had multiple interceptions against the starting offense.  However, after battling injuries last season, he’s already on the shelf again with a bad hamstring.

We haven’t seen much of Darryl Roberts as the starting defense hasn’t played a whole lot, but he hasn’t done anything to cause alarm.  There is still legitimate concern with Roberts though.  Despite playing well at cornerback last season, he hasn’t shown he can do it on an every down basis for a full season.

Having a big “if” at both CB1 and CB2 means Joe Douglas should be looking to add another starting caliber corner as we addressed here.  Not an easy task, but the Jets should be working the phones.

Offensive Line: While the narrative surrounding the Jets seems to be that the team is weak along the O-line, the fact of the matter is that they should be an above average group this season. 

Left guard James Carpenter and center Spencer Long were arguably the two least effective blockers on the line last season.  Both players have not only been replaced, but they’ve been upgraded with a pair of All-Pro players in Kelechi Osemele and Ryan Kalil respectively.  Adding depth by trading for Alex Lewis after drafting Chuma Edoga also helps.  

The fact that the upgraded O-line will be blocking for Le’Veon Bell and Sam Darnold should also make their lives a bit easier.

Stud Receiver Needed:  The need for a “true number one” receiver has been echoed for much of the offseason for this team but in 2019, that’s simply not true. 

Just look at the top receivers in the NFL over the past 10-15 years and see how many of them are wearing Super Bowl rings.  Then look at the make-up of the receiving depth chart for recent Super Bowl winners and you’ll often see a solid group across the board that perhaps has a stud tight end and one or two above average receivers, but no Julio Jones or DeAndre Hopkins-types.  Okay, that’s partially Kyle Shannahan’s fault, but I digress.

Do the Jets have a couple of above average receivers and a stud tight end?  It’s too early to say for sure, but it would be foolish to dismiss the possibility out of hand.  Here’s what Sam Darnold will be going to battle with as his top targets in 2019:

Quincy Enunwa is hoping his injuries are behind him.
  • Robby Anderson: One of the best deep threats in the NFL, Anderson saw his game grow tremendously toward the end of last season and hopes to continue that under Adam Gase.  If any receiver were to break out and have a “stud receiver” type of season, the smart money would be on Anderson.
  • Quincy Enunwa: Looking to shake the “injury prone” label in 2019, Enunwa is healthy for now and represents an underrated deep threat who can also beat you underneath and turn a short pass into a big gainer.
  • Jamison Crowder: Another receiver who has battled injuries at times, Crowder is a high-level slot receiver who is primed for a big season if Adam Gase’s up-tempo offense becomes a staple.
  • Chris Herndon: Yes, Herndon will be out for the first four weeks of the season, but when he returns, he gives the Jets one of the more promising young tight ends in the NFL.  He can stay in-line and block or he can get open down the field and has shown the ability to make some incredible acrobatic grabs.  All the makings of the stud TE we mentioned earlier.
  • Le’Veon Bell: Oh, this guy again?  Yes.  When Bell splits out wide, he’s as good as or better than some of the slot receivers around the league.  What Bell can do with the ball in his hands is already well known and should do a lot for Darnold when protection breaks down.

There are also some promising developmental players in Deontay Burnett and possibly Greg Dortch along with the versatile Ty Montgomery.  But even excluding them, Darnold’s top five targets should offer plenty of firepower to put up big numbers on offense.

Does this mean that a player such as Mike Evans wouldn’t be a welcome addition at 1 Jets Drive if he were made available?  Absolutely not.  But even without a player of that stature, Adam Gase should have plenty of ways to plan for opposing defenses and for Sam Darnold to flourish in year two en route to his first postseason appearance.

 

 

 

  

Outside of Ownership, Plenty of Incentives to Lure new GM to Jets

Any time a general manager comes in to take over a team that just picked in the top 3 of the NFL draft, it usually means a major reclamation project is on the horizon.  However, after firing GM Mike Maccagnan earlier this week, the Jets 53-man roster is actually one that’s good enough, with the right coaching, to make a playoff push in 2019 and is set up to succeed beyond that.

An incoming GM might have some concerns working for an owner who is a place holder for his brother who will be returning at some point with neither having proven much in terms of their ability to run an organization.

Minus the concerns with ownership, the incoming GM will have a quarterback who is universally viewed as a franchise signal caller, several playmakers on offense and blue chip defenders at every level of the defense.

It all starts under center with Sam Darnold where Adam Gase’s top priority will be to develop the former number three overall pick who showed tremendous growth down the stretch in 2018, and anyone watching would have seen it.  In fact, Darnold was behind only Andrew Luck of the Colts from weeks 10-17 in QB grading according to ProFootballFocus.com.  If Darnold makes the year one to year two leap that so many other young quarterbacks have made in the past, the Jets should be set up at the league’s most important position for years to come.

Adam Gase
Adam Gase will have no shortage of weapons to work with in 2019.

Then on offense, the Jets have arguably the top running back in the NFL whose legs will never be fresher in Le’Veon Bell who sat out the 2018 season in a contract dispute with the Steelers.  In terms of pass catchers, the Jets have every level of the field covered with impact players.  Bell can serve as an outlet underneath along with free agent wide receiver Jamison Crowder.  Second-year tight end Chris Herndon can work the intermediate routes with Quincy Enunwa, while Enunwa can also team with Robby Anderson to stretch opposing defenses deep down the field.  Players such as Trevon Wesco and Deontay Burnett may be able to contribute in the receiving game as well, but that remains to be seen.

On the defensive side of the ball, things might be even better.  Look for rookie defensive lineman Quinnen Williams to team with veteran Leonard Williams to bring the heat up the middle, while Jachai Polite, a third-round pick with first-round talent has a legitimate chance to be the team’s first true edge rusher since the departure of John Abraham.

The Jets hope to see more of this from Leonard Williams with a beefed up D-Line and new defensive philosophy.

The middle of the defense might be the strongest part of the team with Williams and Williams up front, multiple time pro-bowler CJ Mosley joining Avery Williamson at inside linebacker, and All-Pro safety Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye behind them.

There are some legitimate concerns at cornerback where the team hopes Trumaine Johnson can bounce back from a shaky first season and neither Darryl Roberts nor Derrick Jones being proven assets.  This should mean cornerback will be a top priority next off-season.

The offensive line needs a center, but the team could also a lot worse than having a league-average left tacke, an All Pro left guard and a some average but workable players at right guard and right tackle.

There’s undoubtedly frustration among Jets fans in how they handled the firing of Mike Maccagnan, but in taking a step back to look at the big picture, there’s plenty of reason to shake off the pessimism and realize that with an upgraded replacement, the Jets are well positioned to make some deep playoff runs in the not so distant future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jenkins Stands to Reap Rewards of Upgrades on Defense

By Kenneth Alcott

 

Taking Jachai Polite in the third round of this year’s draft will either make Mike Macagnan look like a genius, or a man who was desperate to keep his job.  With a focus on the defense at the top of this Jets draft, Gregg Williams’ fingerprints seem to be all over the Jets first two picks with Quinnen Williams at number 3 and Polite in the third round. At this point, Williams must be like a kid at Christmas who can’t wait to try out his new toys when training camp starts.  But if anyone in the building at 1 Jets drive is more excited than Williams, it might be outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins.

Jenkins, the Jets fourth year ‘backer who will only be 25 when the season starts is entering a contract year in 2019.  He is coming off his best season as a Jet with 7 sacks, 20 hurries, 8 quarterback hits (per PFF), 2 forced fumbles and 6 tackles for loss.  With Williams in charge of the defense, the Jets’ base defensive alignment will be staying in a 3-4 despite historically using a 4-3 scheme.  This will allow the linebackers much more flexibility and versatility both inside and outside. With C.J. Mosley and Avery Williamson in the middle this year, Williams will have nearly limitless options to keep opposing offenses on their toes.  

With Williams often calling for defenders to blitz off the edge, Polite and Jenkins could have a field day with increased pressure up the middle from the “Williams brothers” in Leonard and Quinnen Williams.  If all goes well, the defense may be primed for big results this year.  For Jenkins, this couldn’t come at a better time as he looks for his first pro season with double-digit sacks.

Polite does appear to fill a hole the Jets had in looking for their first true edge rusher in over a decade.  Williams’ 4-3 thrives off of speedy defensive ends, so if he can stay focused, this former Gator who had 11 sacks, six forced fumbles and 19.5 tackles for a loss this past year is a big addition.  By adding Quinnen Williams, who will most likely demand double teams to the mix, the Jets have a solid middle core throughout their defense from the line through to Jamal Adams at Safety.  The Jets may finally have the edge rusher they have been looking for since the John Abraham days. Meanwhile, Jenkins may be packing for camp now as he seeks an uptick in production, and a new contract in the near future.

“Best Player” List Growing for Maccagnan, Time for Results to Follow

It’s happened every time Jets GM Mike Maccagnan has had a pick in the top six of the draft.  We heard it with Leonard Williams, we heard it with Jamal Adams, we heard it with Sam Darnold and now we’re hearing it again with Quinnen Williams; all have been called the “best player in the draft” by several onlookers, analysts and anonymous league insiders.  Now it’s time for all of the supposed best players to start securing some victories.

Darnold is expected to develop and lead the way, but with so much draft capital invested on the defensive side of the ball and three players being considered the top talent in their respective classes, the pressure will be on defensive coordinator Gregg Williams to find a way to make some leads stand up and win some football games.

Under former head coach Todd Bowles, blown leads became an expected occurrence.  All too often, the Jets would take a lead in to half time, and often in to the game’s closing minutes, only to have the defense give it away.

With the addition of Quinnen Williams, the defense now boasts Jamal Adams, Leonard Williams, Quinnen Williams, CJ Mosley, Avery Williamson, former second-round pick Marcus Maye, along with Henry Anderson and Jordan Jenkins who combined for 14 sacks last season.

Then of course there’s high-priced cornerback Trumaine Johnson, whom the Jets are hoping will return to his previous form under Williams when he was viewed as one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL.

There are still holes on the roster that the Jets will look to fill in the coming days, but how many “best players” can a team add before it pays off on game day?  If Mike Maccagnan wants to keep his job, he’d better hope that time is now.

Maye’s Health Becomes key Factor for Jets Defense in 2019 and Beyond

So Jets fans woke up to the news of the addition of another big time player in free agency as Mike Maccagnan and company have reportedly agreed to terms with former Baltimore Ravens linebacker CJ Mosley.  This, after the team agreed with former Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr to man the edge in Gregg Williams’ defense.

This gives the Jets a defense that consists of Pro Bowl and All-Pro alternate Jamal Adams at safety, Barr and Mosley who have been to four Pro Bowls apiece, Leonard Williams who has seen one Pro Bowl as an alternate in 2016, the stellar Avery Williamson, and another young defender in safety Marcus Maye, who becomes somewhat of an X-factor.

Jamal Adams suddenly finds himself as the leader of a potentially dominant defensive unit.

Maye has played just two seasons in Green and White but saw his sophomore season marred by injuries as he missed a total of ten games.  As a player who missed time in college just a couple of seasons ago, there are concerns as to whether or not Maye’s durability will be an issue for the long-term.

If not, and Maye is able to shake the injury bug and stay on the field, he could legitimately form one of the better safety tandems in the NFL with Adams while the young linebackers up front will look to create havoc.

With a slew of proven Pro Bowlers added to the roster, one can’t help but wonder what the Jets defense would look like with a healthy Maye if they were to add a stud defender such as Quinnen Williams or Josh Allen with the third overall pick in April’s draft.

 

 

Maccagnan, Gase Meet with Media in Indy

As is customary at the NFL combine, head coaches and general managers from around the league met with reporters in Indianapolis, including Adam Gase and Mike Maccagnan of the New York Jets.  What were some of the main takeaways from the pair?  Noting surprising from Maccagnan and how the Jets feel about having the third pick while Gase had some effusive praise for a few of his young players.  Here are a few notes on the comments from the two.

Maccagnan looked to be in very high spirits with this being his first trip to Indy that didn’t have him searching frantically for a quarterback.  A first during his tenure and he was asked about it right off the bat to which he replied, “It’s actually a good feeling to come here and not have to answer a bunch of questions about the quarterbacks.  We feel good about Sam Darnold and feel we have a very good player to work with at that position to move forward”.

In regards to having the third pick and whether or not they’ll be looking to trade down in the draft, Maccagnan said he was open to the possibility of trading back to add more picks.  “We feel good at number three but I would definitely say if there’s an opportunity to trade down, we would absolutely look at it” and continued, “I definitely wouldn’t rule anything out at this point”.  

When asked about which position groups stand out in this year’s draft class, Maccagnan mentioned tight end, pass rushers and the offensive line where there look to be several options moving forward.  Even with Chris Herndon on board, taking a tight end to pair with him as an additional weapon for Sam Darnold may not be a bad idea.  If Maccagnan’s answer is any indication, the Jets may look to do just that.

One scribe pressed Maccagnan on the future of Leonard Williams to which Maccagnan was non-committal in terms of anything in the immediate future but did say the Jets are happy with Williams as a player.

When Gase met with reporters, there was plenty of talk about the young players he’s inheriting who he feels confident in and there were a few players he’s clearly high on.  

Wide receiver Robby Anderson earned plenty of praise from Gase who said he’s looking to get the speedy receiver involved in the offense in more than “one or two” different ways, likely referencing the Jets past tendency to rely heavily on Anderson solely as a deep threat before the final few weeks of the 2018 season. 

Gase said he was most impressed with Anderson’s speed and his ability to “track the ball going down the field”, saying “I don’t think I’ve ever been around a player who is so smooth and when he sticks his hand out at the speed he’s running, you see him just pluck the ball and keep on going”.

There was also some praise for tight end Chris Herndon as a “unique” tight end who the team can keep on the field for “all three downs” who is a “very good receiver, very good in the run game and good” in pass protection, leading him to sum up Herndon as a “unicorn type player” who can do a variety of things.

Running back Elijah McGuire also got the attention of the head coach as Gase commented on his play, saying “I was very impressed and I think his first game was against us (Miami) and after watching that, I know there are some things he likes to do over other run schemes and we’re going to emphasize what he likes to do”

Gase also confirmed an earlier report from Brian Costello of the New York Post, saying that the team will be sticking with a 3-4 base defense despite expectations of new defensive coordinator bringing a 4-3 scheme with him.  

One concern among some Jets fans was the hiring of Joe Vitt and Gregg Williams, due to their history together in the New Orleans Saints bountygate scandal, but Gase put that to bed, saying that Williams was recommended to him by Vitt on several occasions and that the two are looking forward to working together again.

 

 

 

 

 

JetNation Prospect Preview: Alabama Defensive Tackle Quinnen Williams

By: Dylan Tereman

Just a few weeks away from the 2019 NFL Combine, the draft begins to come more into focus. Currently, the New York Jets are selecting 3rd overall. Many are expecting them to trade back and acquire more picks, while still remaining at the top end of the draft. For these prospect profiles, we will assume New York is staying at 3. Alabama’s Quinnen Williams is a name that has been mocked to them numerous times in the last few weeks.

Williams, listed at 6’4” 295 lbs, was a force on the interior of the defensive line for the Crimson Tide. He displayed the ability to play against both the run and the pass, and looks to be an anchor for whichever team drafts him. Williams should hear his name called in the top five in a few months.

Name: Quinnen Williams

College: Alabama

Position: DT

2018 Stats:

71 tackles (45 solo), 19.5 TFL, 8 sacks, 1 PD

Strengths:

His ability to use speed off the snap, then transfer his power into his legs and arms is what makes Williams so special. He has a dominant skill set, using his quick hands to swat away blockers. Coming from Alabama under head coach Nick Saban, Quinnen has excellent football IQ, allowing him to breakdown plays quickly.

Weaknesses:

While there are very few weaknesses in his game, Williams is sometimes susceptible to the double team, which he may see more of at the pro level. Occasionally, he will over pursue on plays, giving up big yardage, but experience will only make him more aware of those situations.

Scheme Fit:

Williams has displayed versatility across the defensive line, playing the 0-technique all the way to the 4i, which means he can excel in almost any scheme. Adding him to the interior line in New York that already has Leonard Williams, the Jets could field an impressive tandem. While it isn’t a flashy pick at 3rd overall, the Jets have many holes to fill and Quinnen Williams is a day 1 starter who will have an immediate impact no matter where he lands.

Reminder to Jets Fans: Top 10 Picks Rarely Kind to Gang Green

For those Jets fans who have only been around for a short time and think that because the Jets landed quarterback Sam Darnold, safety Jamal Adams, and to a degree, defensive lineman Leonard Williams in the top 10 of the draft over the past four seasons, here’s a quick reminder; picking early in the draft guarantees nothing.

Yes, Darnold looks to be the team’s first franchise quarterback in almost fifty years, Adams just got his first All Pro and Pro Bowl nods and hopes are high that Williams can get back to looking like a future Pro Bowler himself as he was an alternate a couple of seasons ago before his production slipped in recent years.

Even still, a look back a top 10 picks in Jets history is as quick reminder that even when you have a “Mangenius” making your picks, things can get ugly and go wrong in a hurry.  Here’s a look at what Jets top 10 picks looked like over the past few decades before Leonard Williams, Jamal Adams and Sam Darnold came along.

2013- CB Dee Milliner (9th overall)

Failed former GM John Idzik catches a lot of heat for this pick and in all honesty, at least some of it, is unjustified.  Milliner had some bumps and bruises in college that required some minor surgeries, but nothing that was bad enough to keep him off the field.  Milliner was always healthy on game day at Alabama and his film and production justified the draft slot.  However, once in the NFL, Milliner just couldn’t stay on the field and was out of the NFL after just a few seasons, most of which was spent on the trainer’s table.

2009- QB Mark Sanchez (5th overall)

Sanchez was carried to some memorable moments by the league’s top defense and running game, but he was a liability when he dropped back to pass.  In four seasons as a Jet, Sanchez threw 68 touchdowns and 69 interceptions while completing a paltry 55% of his passes.  He was handed a second contract by then GM Mike Tannenbaum to smooth things over after flirting with free agent QB Peyton Manning.  Since leaving New York, Sanchez has gone from back up, to third string to street free agent.

20008- DL/LB Vernon Gholston (6th overall)

Taken in a spot where many claim all of the “can’t miss” players are taken, this pick goes down as the worst in team history in the eyes of many fans.  Yes, you can say it was Johnny Lam Jones or Blair Thomas, but Gholston was the only player ever drafted by the team in the top 10 who never made a single play that he was brought in to make.  Not a single sack.  Not a single fumble recovery.  Not a single forced fumble.  Nothing.  In Jones and Thomas, you could at least say they had a five or ten minute span that made you think they could play in the league.  For Gholston?  Nada.

2006- LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson (4th overall)

Easily the best top 10 pick over the past 30 years for the Jets.  Ferguson was a pro bowl player who never missed a single snap (game or practice) due to injury.  The consummate professional, Ferguson will be in the ring of honor one day.  If only all top 10 picks were this good.

2003- DL Dewayne Robertson (4th overall)

Some put Robertson in Gholston territory since the team gave up assets to move up in the draft and grab him, but he played infinitely better than the Ghost.  Years after being drafted with the fourth overall pick and being played out of position for much of his time under Eric Mangini, it was learned that Robertson had a degenerative hip condition.  When did the team know about the bad hip?  Prior to trading up to draft the 315 lb defensive lineman.  And things didn’t work out?  Gee, what a shocker.

1997- LB James Farrior (8th overall)

Farrior would go on to have a nice career for himself, but as a Jet, he was another bust and wasted pick.  He never got a second contract from the Jets and had just one good season with Gang Green, his final year in 2001.  Drafted and played out of position during his time in New York, Farrior topped 75 tackles just once and never had more than 2 sacks as a Jet.

1996- WR Keyshawn Johnson (1st overall)

You could make a case for Johnson being a hit or a miss with the first overall pick in 1996 out of USC.  Yes, Johnson was a talented and productive receiver for the Jets.  However, he made just as much news off the field for the Jets as he did on the field, and because of outlandish contract demands, never saw a second deal with Gang Green.  If you owned a team and your GM said they were going to use the top overall pick on a guy you’d have to trade in a few seasons, would you sign up for that?  Probably not.

1995- TE Kyle Brady (9th overall)

Brady would go on to have a long and somewhat productive career with some other teams, but as a Jet, he was essentially a blocking tight end who would put up a couple hundred yards a season.  The type of production you should be able to get from a street free agent.  We can second-guess any pick that didn’t work out, but in this case, every Jets fan in Radio City Music Hall was chanting “we want Sapp”, as in Hall of Famer Warren Sapp, whom the Jets passed on in favor of the blocking tight end.  That’s rough.

1993- LB Marvin Jones (4th overall)

The man they called “Shade Tree” was plagued by injuries early on in his career but turned out to be an excellent middle linebacker for many years.  Jones was a very good player on some really bad teams for a long time, but one of the best Jets top 10 picks.

1990- RB Blair Thomas (2nd overall)

Thomas will forever have a spot on the mount Rushmore of Jets draft busts.  The second overall pick out of Penn State was best remembered for a game-killing fumble on Monday Night Football against the Chicago Bears.  He would play justfour seasons with the Jets, scoring five touchdowns and being relegated to back up duty over his final two seasons.

1988- OL Dave Cadigan (8th overall)

Cadigan saw a second contract with the Jets but was gone after seven seasons with only four of those seven coming as a starter.  He would start 16 games just once and was out of the league after just a single season with the Bengals.

So as we approach the NFL draft with the Jets owning the third overall pick, remember that not only do top ten picks not always show the production or potential of a Jamal Adams or a Sam Darnold, but many times they fail to perform at the level of Leonard Williams, who himself could go down as another bust if he fails to flourish under Gregg Williams.

 

 

 

How Jets can go From Rags to Riches on Draft Day

For the first time in decades, the New York Jets have a quarterback under center who gives the franchise a legitimate reason to believe that they finally have an answer at the position in Sam Darnold.  With this being the case, the team can finally start to build around a quarterback who is worth investing in for the long haul.

One potential problem in doing so as the NFL draft approaches is that the Jets have just 40 players under contract when the new league year starts according to overthecap.com.  How can the Jets look to go from six picks to eight, nine or ten?  Let’s take a look.

With the third overall pick, the Jets could find themselves in the driver’s seat on draft day.  Having Darnold under contract and several teams picking in the top half of the first round needing a QB, the Jets could be the beneficiary of a bidding war to move up in to the top three or four.

Expect Jets GM Mike Maccagnan to be working the phones come draft time.

With the New York Giants (6th), Jacksonville Jaguars (7th), Denver Broncos (10th), Cincinnati Bengals (11th), Miami Dolphins (13th), Washington Redskins (15th), Tennessee Titans (19th), and Oakland Raiders (4th, 24th, 27th) possibly in the QB market for a variety of reasons, the Jets could be in position to trade down on more than one occasion.

The Jets could use that third pick to move down to sixth or seventh with the Jaguars or Giants respectively, and then explore another move down to a team such as the Bengals or Redskins who would certainly have to give up multiple picks to move up and take a quarterback.  Assuming multiple trade downs is a bit much, so for the sake of keeping this realistic, we’ll say the Jags beat the Giants to the punch and give the Jets their 1st round pick (7th), their 2nd round pick (38th) and their 4th (102) in 2019, along with their 2020 4th round pick.  This would be the minimum asking price that would two additional picks for the Jets, giving them a total of eight.  Any additional moves down shouldn’t be ruled out, but again, we won’t take it that far.

Another way the Jets could realistically add a pick would be through their approach with wide receiver Robby Anderson, a restricted free agent who is one of the NFL’s premier deep threats and could earn a first or second round tender from Gang Green.  The Raiders are the wild card here as a team with three fist round picks in what is viewed as  a weak receiver class.  Anderson would give the Raiders an immediate impact player while giving up just a single pick. Anderson has shown what he can do as a deep threat through his first three seasons in the league, and in the season’s closing weeks, the Jets finally asked him to run a complete route tree, resulting in the best four-game stretch of his career.  Surely teams will have taken notice of the fact that Anderson has been limited more by his quarterback play and what  he has been asked to do than he has been by his raw talent.

Leonard Williams has been a good player for the Jets, but has fallen short of expectations.

A couple of other trade possibilities could arise during the offseason if new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams doesn’t like what he sees on film from Leonard Williams.  If the new coordinator isn’t wowed by Leo, the team should look to unload his bloated 2019 salary to a team that believes they can get more out of him than the Jets can.  Given his lack of production and entering the final year of his contract, Williams wouldn’t be likely to command very much in  a trade.  Perhaps a mid-round pick?

Finally, with the Jets expected to move from a 3-4 base defense to a 4-3, it could make outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins the odd man out unless Williams thinks he can get him to be productive as a rotational defensive end.  If not, a young 3-4 linebacker coming off of a seven sack season despite shaky secondary play would certainly be able to net the Jets another middle or late round pick or two.

Add it all together, and the Jets could add a couple of picks by moving down, another pick for Anderson, a pick or two for Williams and the same goes for Jordan Jenkins.  Should things play out that way or anything close to it, Jets fans will hope Mike Maccagnan finds more picks along the lines of Darnold, Jamal Adams, Chris Herndon and Brandon Shell than ArDarius Stewart, Chad Hansen and Christian Hackenberg, but only time will tell.

There will be no shortage of speculation from now until draft day as the event approaches, but for once, the Jets are in a position to move down and allow another team to take a quarterback instead of frantically trying to move up to get one themselves.  Draft day will definitely have a different feel for Jets fans this season, and the change should be a welcome one.