The weekly rankings are based on my perception of total positive impact on the team over the season to that point, discounting player reputation, talent, or past performance.
10. Sam Darnold, QB (Last week: 9th)
Keeping Darnold in the top 10 was an extremely tough decision. He has played very poorly two weeks in a row now. After going ultra-conservative against Cleveland, Darnold started to air it out against Jacksonville and just could not find a rhythm as he was wildly inaccurate downfield. He was bailed out of at least 3 should-be interceptions.
On the season, he is now 30th of 34 qualifiers in passer rating. Darnold played well below average quarterback in the first quarter, following up two solid games with two very bad ones in which he played a large role in tanking the offense.
Of course, this is all fine in grand scheme of things, as Darnold’s production level very closely matches what is expected of the average rookie. We knew the bumps would come. He’s slowly progressing, gradually getting more aggressive and getting closer with his deep passing.
Despite Darnold’s struggles over the past two games, I could not find a player who deserved to be here over him. As I mentioned, he played two good games. He was very efficient in Detroit and played a strong game in Miami in which he was left hanging by his supporting cast. I don’t think anybody who is not on this list has played more than one good game or had as much net impact as Darnold has with the way he played over the first two weeks.
Check out the rest of the list, and definitely comment below on if you think there is anybody more deserving than Darnold who is not on the list.
9. Leonard Williams, DL (Last week: Unranked)
Williams had a very strong game in Jacksonville to rejoin the list. He had a sack, 3 run stuffs, and forced a ton of pressure.
On the whole, Williams’ first quarter was not up to his usual standards. However, he has still been a good player. He has a high floor based on his physical ability and the attention he draws.
However, it’s fair to be critical of him and expect more from him as an interior lineman who was drafted with the 6th pick and was pitched as the best player in his draft class.
8. Morris Claiborne, CB (Last week: 10th)
While he seems to be walking a tightrope, you can’t argue with Claiborne’s production to start the year.
While he lucked out quite a bit against Miami in Week 2, Claiborne maintains season numbers of only 72 yards and 3 first downs allowed on 17 targets. All in all, he’s allowed just a 29.5 passer rating when targeted.
Has he been as good as that passer rating number indicates? Certainly not. He should’ve been toast in Week 2 and over the past couple of weeks opposing offenses simply took advantage of greater weaknesses.
However, Claiborne has taken hold of his new #2 role and thrived with it thus far. I’m hesitant to rank him highly until he can string together a few more lockdown performances without being bailed out, but to this point, his production is respectable.
7. Avery Williamson, ILB (Debut)
After a silent first couple of weeks in which he was not himself, Williamson has come alive over the past two weeks.
He had 0 run stuffs and 2 tackles in the run game short of the first down marker over the first two weeks. Over the previous two, he has racked up 5 run stuffs and 14 tackles in the run game short of the sticks - the latter number leads the league over that span.
He forced two turnovers against Jacksonville, tipping a pass leading to an interception and forcing a fumble.
He has looked very much capable of filling the void left by Demario Davis over the past couple of weeks. If he can keep up his current level of play, he can fly up this list.
6. Steve McLendon, DT (Last week: 7th)
McLendon doesn’t post flashy numbers, but he just goes out there and wins matchups, fills gaps, and stuffs runs.
He’s got 5 run stuffs (same amount as Leonard Williams), a half sack, and a pass deflection playing only 44% of the Jets defensive snaps.
Just a strong, high-motor vet.
5. Henry Anderson, DT (Last week: 6th)
It is hard to believe, but despite being 27 years old, Anderson is only in his 4th career season after being selected in the 3rd round of the 2015 draft. He entered this season with only 29 career games - which means in terms of real game experience, he has only barely completed 2 seasons’ worth.
Anderson had been a respected performer in Indianapolis, but he just could never get things going as he struggled to stay healthy.
He has stayed healthy in this Jets defensive line rotation that has had him playing 51% of the defensive snaps - second along the defensive front behind Leonard Williams. He’s made the most of his opportunities. Anderson has 2.5 sacks, a quarterback hit, 3 run stuffs, and 2 pass deflections already. His motor is always firing and he has underrated short area quickness that makes him a productive interior pass rusher.
4. Darron Lee, ILB (Last week: 3rd)
Lee took a big step back in coverage last week. While he was involved in a lot of the coverage breakdowns that may have been on coaching more than any particular player, he made a few mistakes in zone coverage. In particular, he was guilty on T.J. Yeldon’s 31-yard touchdown, as he lost Yeldon coming out of the backfield late.
Lee’s run defense has picked up as Williamson’s has. Lee has collected 5 run stuffs over the previous two games after notching only 1 over the first two weeks.
Overall it was a very promising first quarter for Lee. Imperfect, but he definitely provided plus value on the whole. He needs to continue doing that. If he can bring everything together, his ceiling is high. It’s a big if, though.
3. Bilal Powell, RB (Last week: 4th)
Powell just keeps producing more than he should. Just like he always has.
On a day in which the Jets offensive line was getting crushed by an elite Jacksonville front, Powell picked up 26 yards on 8 carries - not impressive at all, but much more productive than Powell’s runningmate Isaiah Crowell who picked up 0 yards on 4 carries.
Powell also caught 4 passes for 26 yards. He opened himself down the field on one play for what should have been a long touchdown, but Sam Darnold missed him.
He also continues to pass protect well, allowing only 1 pressure across 11 pass blocking snaps.
2. Quincy Enunwa, WR (Last week: 1st)
Enunwa caught 4 passes for 66 yards against Jacksonville, giving him 4+ receptions and at least 57 yards in each game this year. He maintains an impressive average of 69.5 yards per game, pacing him for 1,112 yards over 16 games.
However, Enunwa did only pick up 2 first downs in this game, a season low. There was one deep pass in which Enunwa had a ton of room towards the sideline, but Darnold threw it behind him. It was a bad throw, but catchable. It wasn’t the type I’d label a drop, as Enunwa really had to contort himself mid-air to get it, but it was one that could have been made and would have changed momentum. Enunwa also picked up a delay of game penalty for spiking the ball following a big reception.
To be fair, Enunwa also had a 30+ yard gain wiped out by penalty.
Enunwa keeps playing his role very solidly. Darnold needs to get other players involved, and they need to start responding when their numbers are called.
1. Jamal Adams, S (Last week: 2nd)
I know a lot of you are going to scoff at this. He talks too much. He can’t cover. He’s cocky. He’s immature.
I couldn’t agree less with any of those ridiculous criticism Adams draws. He has taken his weaknesses from a year ago and transformed them into strengths. To this point, he has played like a legitimate star, and has quickly ascended close to the uber ceiling that made him a sixth overall pick.
The Jets busted / ran boneheaded coverages all afternoon against Jacksonville. Adams was usually the first to recognize deficiencies and break off of his assignment to keep big gains from becoming huge gains.
He made a trio of strong plays in coverage, once locking down Austin Seferian-Jenkins man-to-man and twice breaking quickly on the ball in zone coverage to make tackles short of the sticks.
All over the field, Adams laid bone-shattering hits that sent opponents flying. There was one drive where Adams single-handedly forced a three and out with three straight tackles on plays that were primed to be big had he missed his assignment.
He’s playing great.
Dropped off list:
Brandon Shell (was 8th) - Shell allowed 6 pressures, a hit, and a sack against the Jaguars. He was dominated by edge rushers Dante Fowler and Yannick Ngakoue. Very poor outing for him, but I am still impressed with his start to the year and think he can make a play to return this list and easily take the title of the top Jets lineman in 2018.
Isaiah Crowell (was 6th) - Over the past three weeks, Crowell has ran for 69 yards on 32 carries. That’s a 2.15 yards per carry average - worst in the league among the 32 players with 25+ carries over that span.
He is a non-factor as a receiver. Among the 66 running backs with 5+ targets this season, Crowell ranks 59th in receiving yards per game (6.0) and 54th in yards per target (3.43).
His pass blocking has become unacceptable. He has allowed a sack and 3 pressures across 7 pass blocking snaps this year - all of those coming over the past two games. That’s more total pressures than the rest of the Jets’ skill position players combined.
Knocking on the door:
Nobody is at the doorstep. I don’t think any player not on the list has a legitimate case to be there - but certainly let me know if you feel otherwise!
Which Jet not on the list is most deserving of a spot right now?
This poll is closed