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New York Jets: Three Most Improved Areas

Rich Schultz

Let's take a look at the areas where the Jets have improved the most during the offseason. I think these are the three biggest areas.

3. Safety: I know it's dangerous to expect much from a rookie, but the Jets have needed an infusion of young talent at the safety position for years. Rex Ryan's teams have lacked range at the spot. In his defense a safety who can cover a ton of ground makes a big difference. If you have a guy who can cover a big chunk of the back end as a last line of defense in case everything falls apart, it becomes a lot easier to get aggressive. Calvin Pryor projects as that player. He also can serve as an enforcer, the kind of big hitter who makes receivers think twice about going over the middle. Last year the Jets didn't get much out of their safeties. Dawan Landry wasn't a difference-maker. After Ed Reed was signed, it felt like he was missing an assignment that contributed to a long touchdown every other week. Antonio Allen was solid against the run. He had a nice game against New England, but his entire body of work left the question of whether he is strong enough in coverage to ever make a quality starter. Pryor might be a big upgrade.

2. Quarterback: Whether or not Geno Smith shows growth, the Jets replaced Mark Sanchez with Michael Vick. That is a major upgrade. The hope is that Geno improves a ton. Even if he doesn't, the ability to put in Vick gives the position a much higher floor than it has seen since Brett Favre in 2008. Vick's durability is a question mark, but even a handful of games from Vick will likely give the Jets better quarterback play than they have gotten in the past half decade. After the painful experience without ever having a legitimate fallback plan with Sanchez, the Jets have finally learned that having options at quarterback is not a bad thing. A team doesn't have to put all of its eggs in the basket of hoping a young quarterback gets better.

1. Pass Catchers: In 2012 and 2013 it was a good week if the Jets were putting two pass catchers on the field who had business seeing regular time in the NFL. Even these pieces were usually complimentary. Eric Decker gives them a legitimate top twenty wide receiver and possibly higher depending on your opinion. Jace Amaro is a nice prospect. Chris Johnson is not a game-breaker anymore, but he should be the best receiving threat the Jets have had out of the backfield since LaDainian Tomlinson. Jeremy Kerley and Jeff Cumberland will be in complimentary roles that suit their ability and production better. It is a testament to how little talent the Jets had that after all of these additions their corps of receivers is still arguably below average in the NFL. These guys actually belong in the NFL, however, and that is a big upgrade.