NFL Power Rankings | 28. New York Jets
Prediction: 3-13, 4th in AFC East.
GANG Green are coming off a so-so 7-9 campaign. Sam Darnold struggled to those mono-riddled seven wins with a less than stellar supporting cast – one that has arguably become worse during the off season.
Robby Anderson out, Breshad Perriman in?
Darnold’s new X-receiver and number one target is a guy who caught a career high 36 balls last year. Perriman has been a dramatic disappointment since entering the league as the number 26 overall pick by the Baltimore Ravens. He has been enormously underwhelming to say the least and managed his ‘career’ year last year as the number three option on a Bucs team who had elite wideouts Chris Godwin and Mike Evans creating space and opportunity for Perriman.
Perriman will be joined by fellow first round receiving bust, Josh Doctson. Doctson missed all but seven snaps of last season having been picked up and promptly dropped by the Minnesota Vikings. This came after being released in the 2019 off season by the Redskins; the team who he spent his first three years in the NFL with.
If Head Coach Adam Gase genuinely believes that these are the answers to ameliorate Sam Darnold’s development, then the Jets are in for a long, hard slog of a season. Further pass catching options out of the backfield in Bilal Powell and Ty Montgomery are both gone and have been replaced by Frank Gore. Gore has been an exceptional pro and ranks third on the all-time rushing list, but is in the twilight of his career and with superstar Le’Veon Bell on the roster, it is difficult to see exactly where the veteran back fits in.
The Jets did draft Denzel Mims. An explosive deep threat who could in time replace Robby Anderson, but Mims’ route running needs more nuance to be a consistent threat. He was deemed good value by the consensus in the draft after falling to the second round, but that seems about right in reality. Mims ran a 4.38 40-yard dash at the combine, which helped to skyrocket his stock among Draftniks, but NFL personnel seemed to remain lukewarm throughout the draft process. Mims does appear to have a chip on his shoulder and that kind of attitude will be a real bonus as the Jets attempt to be competitive.
Overall, the roster is seriously lacking blue chip talent. The sole truly elite player is Jamal Adams, but constant posturing in the press and on social media hint that he is not for the long term in New Jersey and further solidifies the opinion that the Jets are not heading in the right direction.
A year ago, Le’Veon Bell would have fit the ‘elite’ description but has not seemed to settle well in New York; no thanks to Gase failing to dismiss claims that he is not totally convinced by the presence of the back on his roster.
Another perceived star is C.J. Mosley. An extremely talented inside linebacker, but one who has always had nagging injuries and missed almost all of last season after groin surgery. Mosley does everything well but can sometimes be a liability in coverage and does not have one area in which he truly excels. He is clearly a notch below the truly elite ILBs within the league and is not deserved of his elite contract that the Ravens refused to pay for him to remain in Baltimore before the Jets pounced last year.
George Fant is a key off season signing. An athletically gifted but unproven commodity at left tackle. Questions abound as to why the Seahawks, notorious for their makeshift approach to building an offensive line, would let Fant go so easily when they have a need along the line. Perhaps career sixth lineman Fant was not willing to wait for Duane Brown to regress to the extent that he could take over full time at LT himself? Either way, pairing Fant with newly drafted Mekhi Becton at right tackle is a risk. It is a high upside, extremely low floor kind of move that is more likely to bust than pave the way for Bell, Darnold et al.
New York is also lacking depth along the defensive line and at cornerback. The DL is effective at stopping the run and is anchored by Quinnen Williams and Steve McLendon, but it is lacking true disruptors and sack makers across the front seven. Jordan Jenkins led the team with 8 sacks last year from OLB, but Jamal Adams – a safety – ranked second on that list with 6.5. At corner, Pierre Desir has found success in spurts and Quincy Wilson has draft pedigree, but there are reasons why the Colts have let both walk: a lack of consistency and under achievement. Of the two, Wilson is only 23 and was extremely highly regarded within the draft a couple of years ago and could still grow into an effective contributor.
Unfortunately, the Jets just do not have enough firepower on offense, nor enough depth. On D, they are lacking true difference makers other than Adams and have too many holes still to fill. This lack of juice simply renders them unable to consistently contend with most opponents on what looks to be a tough schedule.
Three visits to the West coast are on the schedule. They will travel first to the newly opened SoFi stadium to take on the Chargers in week 6 and then later on in the season head out West again to play back to back games in Seattle (week 14) and then again at SoFi stadium to play the Rams (week 15). That is a tough ask late in the year.
The Jets also travel to Kansas play the Superbowl champion Chiefs as well as to Indianapolis to face their AFC foe, Colts. Gang Green will be Vegas underdogs in all of these games and when combined with divisional visits to New England, Buffalo and to an improving Miami ball club the question remains as to where the wins are likely to come from. A regression from 7 wins last season seems inevitable.