ESPN’s Mike Clay put together a team ranking at each position in the NFL last week.
Here is where the Jets stood among the 32 teams according to his opinion.
Running Back: 19th
Wide Receiver: 30th
Tight End: 20th
Offensive Line: 19th
Interior Defensive Line: 15th
Edge Rusher: 31st
Off Ball Linebacker: 22nd
So the Jets clearly didn’t fare well in these rankings. Only one unit was on the top half of the league, and it was the interior defensive line which barely made the top half at 15th. Three units were placed in the bottom three of the league.
Cornerback was listed as the very worst. Here is what he had to say.
The Colts have overhauled their cornerback room in recent seasons, which might seem like an odd observation in this section, but it makes sense when you consider that the Jets have built their 2020 cornerback room primarily out of Indianapolis castoffs. Former Colts Pierre Desir, Arthur Maulet, Quincy Wilson and Nate Hairston (not to mention S Matthias Farley) are all competing for significant snaps (perhaps every-down roles) this season in New York. Brian Poole is a solid slot option, but youngsters Blessuan Austin and Bryce Hall have a lot to prove.
If you are looking for some positivity, Clay did list the Jets as his “unit to watch” both on the offensive line and at tight end suggesting there is some upside.
Quarterback Sam Darnold was pressured on a league-high 28% of his dropbacks, and running back Le’Veon Bell had to deal with a horrific 1.63 yards before contact last season. In turn, GM Joe Douglas cleaned house along the offensive line during the offseason, positioning the improved unit with five new starters compared to Week 1 of 2019. Mekhi Becton was drafted in the first round to man left tackle, and George Fant (RT), Connor McGovern (C), Greg Van Roten (G) were signed as potential new starters. The overhauled line is far from perfect but is a major improvement from 2019.
Adam Gase’s offenses haven’t been particularly kind to the tight end position, but he managed to resurrect the career of Ryan Griffin (34-320-5 receiving line) last season, and he’ll have Chris Herndon back in the fold in 2020. Herndon missed all but 16 snaps because of injury in 2019, but he impressed as a fourth-round rookie in 2018 with his 9.0 yards per target, fourth among rookie tight ends since 2007.
Ultimately, however, Clay listed the Jets as having the NFL’s worst overall roster for 2020.
The Jets seemed to be headed the right direction after their aforementioned offensive line overhaul, but the trade of Adams to Seattle coupled with C.J. Mosley’s opt out all but sinks this team’s chances of a Cinderella run to a playoff berth. In fact, aside of the Quinnen Williams-led interior defensive line, it’s fair to say New York’s four other defensive units are below average or poor. The offense isn’t much better, which puts a lot of pressure on unproven Darnold to make a big leap in his third NFL season. A fifth consecutive losing season appears to be on the horizon for arguably the league’s worst team on paper.
That seems a bit harsh. I also would argue there are positions like safety where the Jets have been sold short.
What do you think?