Last season, we put together a team of ex-Jets based on how they had performed with their new teams during the year. In February we recapped how ex-Jets fared during the 2021 season, so let’s now attempt to put together an all-former Jets team for 2021:
Quarterback - Teddy Bridgewater
Bridgewater earns this distinction for the second year in a row. He posted a 7-7 record as a starter and posted a quarterback rating of 94.9 as he racked up 20 total touchdowns with just seven interceptions. However, he fell off a bit after a fast start and missed some time due to injuries. In the mix to back him up were Trevor Siemian and Geno Smith.
Running Back - Godwin Igwebuike
With last year’s choice Raheem Mostert injured and players like Le’Veon Bell and Kalen Ballage putting up underwhelming numbers, the converted safety Igwebuike is an unlikely choice despite racking up less than 200 yards from scrimmage. He did average 6.6 yards per carry and also made good contributions in the return game and in kick coverage.
Tight End - Anthony Firkser
While Chris Herndon might have been the favorite to get this spot at the start of the year, he struggled. Instead, Firkser once again earns this honor for the second straight year as he posted 34 catches, 291 yards and a career-high two touchdown catches. If we were going to throw in a fullback or a blocking tight end, Nick Bellore and Eric Tomlinson would be contenders.
Wide Receivers - Robby Anderson, Kalif Raymond and Ty Montgomery
Having been in the top-10 in receptions and posted his first thousand-yard season in 2020, this was a really disappointing year for Anderson. However, he still caught 53 passes for over 500 yards and five touchdowns which is good enough for a spot on this team.
Raymond, who was better known in the past as a return man, had a breakout year as he had similar numbers to Anderson with 48 catches, 576 yards and four scores.
Montgomery makes up the numbers here as he caught 16 passes and also made contributions as a running back and on special teams.
Offensive Line - Tom Compton and Brandon Shell at tackle, Pat Elflein at center, Jesse Davis and Oday Aboushi at guard
This is a disappointing group, led by the surprising Compton who played surprisingly well down the stretch as he started nine games, including two in the playoffs.
Elflein basically earns the center position by default, as he started several games there, and Davis gets the nod at guard having made two of his 16 starts at left guard. Both struggled during the season, though.
Aboushi and Shell are the lone holdovers from last year’s team but Aboushi - who had been playing well - tore his ACL in the fifth game of the season and Shell narrowly earned his spot over Kelvin Beachum because Beachum had a career-high 11 penalties.
Defensive Line - Sheldon Richardson, Leonard Williams and Shelby Harris
There’s no change from last year’s group with Mike Pennel and Steve McLendon again waiting in the wings if you were pedantic enough to demand a natural nose tackle.
Williams posted a career high 81 tackles, although he only had 6.5 sacks. Harris also tied some career highs as he had 49 tackles, 11 hits and six sacks. Richardson only started seven games but was a productive rotational player with 39 tackles and 2.5 sacks.
Edge Defenders - Tarell Basham and Jordan Willis
Basham did a decent job as a rotational lineman with the Cowboys as he made six starts and posted 39 tackles, 11 hits and 3.5 sacks. Willis had three sacks in 10 games and also had a crucial blocked punt in the playoffs. Kerry Hyder, who was on last year’s team, started seven games but only had 1.5 sacks.
Linebackers - Demario Davis and Neville Hewitt
Davis still hasn’t been to a pro bowl but he’s consistently the one ex-Jet who stands out as a star player when we do these teams. He had 105 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and three sacks in a characteristically productive season. Hewitt edges out the likes of Kevin Minter and Brandon Copeland for the other spot as he racked up 60 tackles.
Cornerbacks - Tevaughn Campbell and Pierre Desir
Campbell earned a role with the Chargers during the season and played over 500 snaps on the outside as he racked up 40 tackles and four passes defensed. He also had a crucial touchdown on a fumble return. Desir saw time with the Bucs and registered 28 tackles, a forced fumble and four pass breakups.
Safeties - Jamal Adams and Andrew Sendejo
Much like Anderson, Adams had a down year, with his pass rush production all but vanishing. However, he was still good enough to earn a spot on this team as he had 87 tackles, four tackles for loss, five pass breakups and a career-high two interceptions. Sendejo, who was a waiver claim by the Jets back in 2011 but lasted less than a month and did not play for them, edges out Juston Burris for the last spot as he had 40 tackles, two pass breakups and two tackles for loss.
Kicker - Nick Folk
There was a ton of competition for this spot, but Folk earns it for this year because he made 36 of 39 field goals including all 31 from inside 40. He did miss five extra points though.
Punter - Thomas Morstead
Morstead did an excellent job with the Jets while Braden Mann was injured and punted well for Atlanta once Mann return to the Jets. His gross average was lower than it had been with the Jets, but was still higher than Mann’s season mark.
Long snapper - Patrick Scales
Scales failed to win the Jets’ long snapper role back in 2013 but has found a spot with the Bears. In 2021, he posted a career-high four tackles in kick coverage in addition to his quality snapping.
Return Specialist - Andre Roberts
Roberts earns this role again as he was a second-team all-pro having led the league in total kick return yardage. He actually started poorly in Houston but averaged 32.5 yards per kickoff return with the Chargers.
In spite of all the player movement last season, 2020’s team was much stronger as this year’s team has multiple weaknesses and not much in the way of star power. Is this a positive sign because the Jets seem to be getting rid of fewer players that are still capable of making strong contributions or merely indicative of the diminishing total pool of talent that the Jets have been able to pick their rosters from over the past few years? What do you think?