10. Henry Anderson, DL (Last week: 5th)
A slide for Anderson, but this is no slight. It was a quiet game for him, posting just 1 tackle on 49 snaps, but his body of work has been very strong this year.
9. Sam Darnold, QB (Last week: 10th)
Darnold only threw the ball 22 times as he got the support of a historic running game, and only completed 10 of those passes, but this was his best game thus far in terms of the average quality of his throws. He threw quite a few passes absolutely on the money - very similar throws to the ones he was missing only a week earlier in Jacksonville. It was a promising step forward for him.
Darnold has 6 touchdown passes of 20+ yards, tied for the league lead.
In his first five weeks in the league, Darnold has now won two starts in which he threw 2+ touchdown passes and accumulated a 95+ quarterback rating. Carson Wentz is the only other quarterback in NFL history to do that.
8. Steve McLendon, DT (Last week: 6th)
McLendon collected back-to-back stuffs on Denver’s first two runs of the game but did not register a tackle the rest of the way.
Regardless, he continues to be a very solid gap penetration and has been the Jets’ best run defender on the defensive line.
7. Avery Williamson, ILB (Last week: 7th)
Williamson was all over the place stuffing runs in this game, only finishing with one official stuff but having a couple of others wiped out by penalty.
I was especially impressed by Williamson’s coverage in this game. Removing a garbage time first down on the last drive of the game, Williamson only allowed 1 of 4 targets in his direction to be caught for 4 yards and no first downs. He’s done a nice job keeping his name out of the coverage box scores this year.
6. Leonard Williams, DL (Last week: 9th)
Williams shared two sacks and added a solo sack for a box score sack total of 2.0. Now with 3.0 over the last two weeks, he’s already beaten his 2017 total.
5. Morris Claiborne, CB (Last week: 8th)
You always need to be careful when evaluating the stats of a cornerback, but Claiborne has continued to keep his numbers at an elite level from the very start of the year. He allowed a few garbage time first downs, but overall Claiborne yielded only 6 of 12 passing in his direction for 63 yards, a very strong 5.3 yards per target rate. He broke up 4 passes, including one that turned into a Marcus Maye interception (also in garbage time).
Most impressively, Claiborne was eaten alive by this same Broncos receiving core last year, so it was a nice showing of personal progression.
Can he keep this up? We’ll have to see. He got very lucky against Miami and Cleveland. However, through five games, you can’t help but love that the man leading Jets cornerbacks in snaps is allowing less than 30 yards per game and a passer rating at the quality level of a practice squad quarterback.
4. Quincy Enunwa, WR (Last week: 2nd)
It’s been a very quiet past couple of weeks for Enunwa. He averaged 70.7 yards and 4.7 first downs per game over the first three weeks, but has averaged only 33.0 yards and 1.0 first down over the past two.
Enunwa collected 66 yards in Week 4 against Jacksonville, but 42 of those were on one play with the Jets down 22 points in the fourth quarter.
Outside of that one (fantastic) catch-and-run play, over the past two weeks, Enunwa has caught 3 of 12 targets for 24 yards and 1 first down. Against the Broncos, Enunwa did not register a single catch on 5 targets.
To boot, Enunwa had a delay of game penalty against Jacksonville following the big catch and added a holding penalty this past week against Denver. Cold couple of weeks for him.
3. Isaiah Crowell, RB (Last week: Unranked)
It takes a lot to jump from off the list completely to a top-3 spot, but a franchise rushing record of 219 yards fits that bill.
Crowell left Week 5 ranked 3rd in the league in rushing with 390 yards on the year, 2nd in yards per rushing attempt among qualifiers at 6.8, and 2nd in rushing touchdowns with 5.
After a frozen-solid 3-week stretch in which Crowell was last in rushing yards per attempt among qualifiers, he busted out an all-time NFL record for yards per attempt in a single game with a minimum of 15 carries, at 14.6.
I wrote in the offseason that Crowell is the typical boom-or-bust back. With rushing totals this year of 102, 35, 34, 0, and 219, and yards per attempt rates of 10.2, 2.9, 2.1, 0.0, and 14.6, he could not have done a better job of living up to that label.
2. Bilal Powell, RB (Last week: 3rd)
Crowell has Powell beat in total scrimmage yards (426 to 369) and total first downs (17 to 14), but on the whole I think Powell’s consistency and versatility have had a better overall impact on the team.
Powell has posted at least 52 scrimmage yards in every game, and at least 65 in four. He has posted 3 first downs in 4 of the team’s 5 games.
As a pass protector, I have tagged Powell for 1 pressure allowed across 15 protection snaps. Comparatively, I’ve tagged Crowell for 4 pressures across 7 snaps.
On the downside, Powell did have a fumble early in this game that led to the Jets going down 7-0.
You can toss up these two however you want, but on the whole, the Jets running backs have done a very solid job so far this year. Crowell and Powell are one of only two pairs of RBs currently ranked top 20 in scrimmage yards (among RBs), along with the Chargers’ Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler.
1. Jamal Adams, S (Last week: 1st)
Not much debate here, and it would take a big dip from Adams for there to be one.
He continues to keep dead silent in coverage, limiting targets in his direction and tightly contesting the balls that do come his way.
His run defense continues to be very strong. Coming unblocked off the edges, his ability to finish low for stuffs has been impressive.
Phenomenal start for the 6th overall pick in last year’s draft, who is looking like the player the Jets wanted when they took a safety that high up.
Dropped off list:
Darron Lee, ILB (was 4th): This is no slight on Lee. I think he has certainly been at least an average starter through five games, which is a huge improvement. However, my biggest gripe is that his run defense has been stuck in the mud. He is continuously a culprit on big runs as he makes poor choices filling gaps. His run stuffing totals are very uninspiring.
On the whole, his coverage remains respectable, but he has started to see his production decline in that area over the past couple of games.
Knocking on the door:
Brandon Shell, RT: By my count, Shell had his second perfectly clean game of the year in pass protection, joining the Week 1 game in Detroit. He also only has one penalty on the year, and I’ve tagged him for only 3 stuffs allowed in the run game.
Both of those perfect games were with the Jets throwing fewer than 25 passes, but that’s still an impressive feat for the young tackle. If he can maintain that consistency and avoid disasters like he had in Jacksonville, he’ll have a shot to represent the offensive line on this list.
Robby Anderson, WR: The connection finally came to life!
While Anderson’s fumble issues were frustrating, and on the whole his lack of production has been maddening, Anderson has actually been more productive this year than he was at this point of the season last year.
Robby Anderson through Week 5 in 2017: 14 catches, 29 targets, 220 yards (7.58/target), 1 touchdown
Robby Anderson through Week 5 in 2018: 11 catches, 21 targets, 231 yards (11.0/target), 3 touchdowns
Averaging 21.0 yards per reception, he currently trails only DeSean Jackson among 148 qualifiers in the stat.
Here’s a look at the season progression of the list.
Which player not on the list is most deserving of a spot?
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Which player on the list is least deserving of their spot / is ranked too high?
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