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Barnwell: Jets Have Fifth Best Defensive Trio in NFL

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Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN's Bill Barnwell ranked the top three players on each defense in the league. The Jets fared well.

5. New York Jets

CB Darrelle Revis, DT Sheldon Richardson, DE Muhammad Wilkerson

The Jets' big three isn't without question marks, but it's difficult to find a more impactful trio when all three are at their best. Revis slipped a bit from his dominant year in New England -- his misstep at the goal line against Pierre Garcon stands out as the sort of mistake he didn't make the previous season -- but the extent of his decline was overstated. The combination of Richardson and Wilkerson anchored the league's best run defense by DVOA, but Wilkerson broke his leg in the season finale and may hold out in pursuit of a new contract. The Jets might replace Wilkerson with Leonard Williams after this season, both in the lineup and in their triplets, but there's a major gap between that top three (or top four) and the rest of their defensive starters.

Only Arizona, Carolina, Denver, and Seattle rated higher.

I think a lot of what Barnwell says about the Jets is valid. There are currently three star level players, and the hope is Leonard Williams can become the fourth. I still think a unit where David Harris and Calvin Pryor are the fifth and sixth best players is pretty solid.

This list also shows how important recent Draft classes are. These top end players are either already expensive (Revis, Wilkerson) or about to become expensive in the next two years (Richardson). The Jets can only have so much expensive talent. They will need to fill in the gaps with guys like Lorenzo Mauldin and Darron Lee.