With an ugly 23-0 loss to the Broncos, the Jets, now 5-8, have officially entered evaluation mode. It’s time to start taking close looks at players individually and trying to figure out where they fit into the franchise’s future plans.
With that, your Week 15 edition of my Jets roster rankings. The rankings are meant to list the players in order of greatest net impact on the team over the course of the season. I take into account the season’s full body of work and contribution to wins and losses, not future potential or past reputation.
Check out last week’s edition here.
10. Steve McLendon, DT (Last week: Unranked. Last appearance: Week 13, 10th)
McLendon reappears on the list after an injury ushered him out of last week’s edition. On a per-snap, positional basis, McLendon is likely much better than the 10th-best Jet. He has done his job very well this season. It’s just that he is rotational nose tackle, not the most crucial position on the field. Nevertheless, his appearance on the list despite a small role is reflective of his performance. He played a good game against the Broncos, contributing to the Jets’ shutting down of the Broncos run game.
9. Morris Claiborne, CB (Last week: 5th)
Claiborne’s lowest standing since making his season debut at #8 back in Week 7. After shutting down Julio Jones, Claiborne spent two weeks in the #2 spot, and rightfully so. He was playing very, very solid football in the first half. Following that game, he missed the Bills win with an injury. Since then, he’s fallen off of a cliff, getting beat all over the field by opposing top wideouts (DeSean Jackson, Tyreek Hill, Demaryius Thomas). Quite the dropoff for the former Cowboy, giving the Jets a reality check on his free agent value.
8. Jermaine Kearse, WR (Last week: 8th)
The negative side of Kearse’s inconsistencies showed up this week. He was losing his battles consistently and couldn’t haul in a few tough catches, which is usually his forte.
7. Bilal Powell, RB (Last week: 7th)
Powell led the Jets backs in rushing Y/A at 2.7 running behind a turnstile offensive line. Signifying the Jets’ offensive struggles, his 35 scrimmage yards (all rushing) gave him the team lead. It was that kind of game, but this also continues the theme of Powell representing some of the Jets’ most efficient offense even in a down game.
6. Darron Lee, ILB (Last week: 10th)
Huge drops from teammates give Lee the jump here. Lee had a couple missed tackles in key spots early against Denver, but overall I thought it wasn’t an awful outing from him. His recognition and anticipation abilities are noticeably better, while his coverage has gradually gotten better. After looking like a liability early on, I do believe he has been one of the most consistent and positively impacting players on the Jets defense over the course of the year. If he can improve as much from this year to next as he did from last year to this one, he could become a very solid player that was worth that first round pick. For now, there are still some parts of his game that need ironing out.
5. Jamal Adams, S (Last week: 9th)
Adams had a pretty solid game covering the run. Over the course of the year as a whole, his play against the run has been his best asset. I also think his coverage has gone overlooked in recent weeks. With the Jets defense looking to get plenty of time on the field against three great quarterbacks and a few great tight ends over the next three weeks, Adams has an opportunity to right some of the wrongs of his rookie year and send us into the offseason believing he can be the superstar he looked like early in the year. That potential is there. Let’s see him make plays against the level of teams he was drafted to help stop.
4. Demario Davis, ILB (Last week: 4th)
Davis has done a really solid job this year. His play against the run, baffling early in the year, has become highly impressive on a weekly basis. Davis’ run play is one of the most elite specific skills the Jets have had this year. He is still inconsistent in coverage and not the ground-covering speedster that Darron Lee has shown the potential to be. However, Davis has become more than just the emotional leader he used to be. He can lead by example now. The Jets will have a decision to make in the offseason. In my opinion, as of right now, the Jets would be best served to stick with what they’ve got inside and focus their prime assets on more pressing needs at more valuable positions. This is a plenty decent 1-2 punch inside.
3. Leonard Williams, DT (Last week: 3rd)
Leo had a quiet game rushing the quarterback this week. A struggling back end did not help him or the front seven, but this was one of his more quiet games in recent weeks. He still deserves credit for his impact against the run.
Going forward, while Leo has definitely played solid football and a lot better than his numbers would indicate (which put him in the same boat or even below Mo Wilkerson), the Jets are probably going to need some more from him. His numbers and game-changing plays have dipped. You would like your franchise players to be more than just “better than their stats” role players. An improved edge rush might exponentially increase those plays, but some of it is on him.
2. Marcus Maye, S (Last week: 2nd)
Maye continues to show some nice anticipation coming up to make open field tackles in the run and pass game. It’s been fun watching him finish those plays. Maye is the type of difference-maker whose impact is usually unnoticed.
1. Robby Anderson, WR (Last week: 1st)
An odd game for Robby. He made a few tremendous catches that meant little since the throws were barely past the line of scrimmage. He had at least one dropped ball that he should’ve had, but also couldn’t haul in some awry Petty passes that were tough, but catchable. All in all, can’t really blame Robby for this performance. The offensive line didn’t give this team a chance and the first quarterback was playing hurt while the other was Bryce Petty. He had almost 7 times the receiving yards as the rest of the Jet wide receivers combined (27 to 4).
Dropped off list:
Josh McCown (was 6th): I would’ve still given Josh a spot on this list, but with his season-ending injury I think it’s fair to give other players the spotlight for now. He could reappear on a season-ending Power Rankings after the offense inevitably falls off of a cliff. Give McCown credit. Unlike a recent Jets veteran quarterback, when the team was losing, McCown came out and showed emotion and legitimate care for his job and teammates. Through the little a fan can see from afar, he seemed to live up to his “leader” reputation. McCown was the best McCown anyone has ever gotten. That’s all you can ask.
Knocking on the door:
The door has a peaceful Sunday as nobody but the howling Meadowlands wind whistles by. There were no players I considered to make a motion towards the list, though there are a few, such as Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Jordan Jenkins, who could knock the door down with a breakout game.
Which Jet is the least deserving of their spot on the list?
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Which Jet not currently on the list is most deserving of a spot?
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What do you think of the rankings?