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Brooks: Jets Have an Impact Rookie Class

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Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Bucky Brooks has been very high on the Jets all offseason in his writings. That continued in his latest NFL.com article where he sets expectations high for the team's rookie class. Brooks rated the Jets' rookie class as one of the top five for potential impact this season.

The Jets' decision to take the "BPA" (best player available) regardless of position or need could pay huge dividends for the team this season. With Sheldon Richardson suddenly sidelined for four games due to a violation of the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse, Leonard Williams not only gives the team a suitable replacement in the lineup, but he could match Richardson's disruptive production despite his inexperience. And once all of the pieces are in place up front, Williams could establish himself as a big-time playmaker -- especially under new Jets coach Todd Bowles, whose creativity runs rampant. Devin Smith could become the Jets' most dangerous playmaker in the passing game with his speed and explosiveness. Not only does the Ohio State product supply Geno Smith with a home-run hitter on the outside, but he will open up the field for Gang Green's big-bodied pass catchers (Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall). In a division where points could be hard to come by, Smith's dynamic deep-ball skills could be the boost the Jets need to compete for the AFC East crown.

I would expect Williams to have by far the most impact among this year's rookie class. He already figured to see the most playing time among the rookies, and Sheldon Richardson's suspension will likely put him into a starting role for the first quarter of the season. Depending on how quickly he takes to the NFL, that impact could be that large and play an outsized role in making this a top rookie class.

Beyond that, it is not clear how much the Jets will get from their rookies. Devin Smith will likely start the season no better than the fifth option in what does not figure to be a big time passing offense. Beyond that, second round rookie receivers tend to not be impact guys. Lorenzo Mauldin might not see a ton of playing time. He also has to climb the depth chart to make an impact. It's possible either or even both of these guys could make a splash, but we should be hoping rather than expecting.

I'm not sure any of the other picks will see appreciable playing time.

I think the most likely way the Jets have a top tier rookie class is Williams dominating from day one.