Bucky Brooks had an interesting article on NFL.com outlining 10 players across the league who were franchise building blocks, the only caveat for the list was that it was a QB free zone.
It’s far too easy to create a list like this and fill it with your Jalen Hurts, Patrick Mahomes and Joe Burrows. Interestingly, the Jets were the only team on the list to have not one but two players, and when you consider Garrett Wilson, we may have been unlucky not to have three.
I don’t think it’ll surprise you to hear that Sauce Gardner was the highest-ranked Jet, coming in at number 4 behind Micah Parsons, Nick Bosa and Justin Jefferson:
The second-year pro quickly seized the crown last season as the premier lockdown corner in the league. Gardner’s length, athleticism and cover skills stymie wideouts at the line of scrimmage while also shrinking the strike zone for quarterbacks attempting to chalk up completions on downfield throws in his area. With the 2022 Defensive Rookie of the Year throwing a blanket on half of the field as the NFL’s new CB1, coaches and executives should view the sophomore playmaker as an essential piece of a championship puzzle.
Sauce just put up one of the most dominant seasons in history and walked away with the Defensive Rookie of the Year as a reward.
Next up on the list was Quinnen Williams, who is still looking for that longterm contract extension. Everyone expects it to get done before training camp kicks off next month, but the sooner it gets done, the easier I can sleep at night:
The monstrous defensive tackle has become one of the elite defenders in the game as the centerpiece of the Jets’ defense and is due for a new contract before the season begins. Williams has collected 25 sacks since 2020, flashing heavy hands and elite first-step quickness. The 6-3 303-pounder is a rare athlete with an emerging set of skills as a destructive force at the line of scrimmage. As the focal point of a Jets defense that is trending upward, Williams has given the football world a sneak peek of his impact potential.