The New York Jets enter the 2023 season with expectations as high as they’ve been at any point in the last decade. Much like any team within a salary cap sport, the Jets have some position groups that are “stronger” and others that are a bit “weaker.” Within this article, I will identify three groups that I feel particularly confident about for the upcoming season.
The New York Jets ended the 2021 offseason with a cornerback depth chart that saw Bryce Hall, Lamar Jackson, and Michael Carter as arguably the three top guys. Since that team, the Jets went on to add emerging superstar Sauce Gardner (Pro Football Focus’ highest graded cornerback in 2022) and D.J. Reed (Pro Football Focus’ 23rd highest graded cornerback in 2022) while Michael Carter has emerged as a premier slot corner (Pro Football Focus’ 18th highest graded cornerback in 2022) ... a notable and meaningful improvement. As far as I’m concerned, the New York Jets have the best top three corners in the NFL, which allows them to match up against the top passing offenses on any given week. Given the NFL has moved to a more pass-heavy approach, this bodes well for the 2023 success of the New York Jets.
2. Edge Rushers
Since the arrival of Head Coach Robert Saleh, the New York Jets have invested a considerable amount into edge rushers, including back-to-back first round picks and a player who received a 3-year, 45-million dollar contract. While I view the cornerback group as a strength because of the top players on the depth chart, I view the edge rusher group as a strength because of their depth. Aligning with the Jets emphasis on rotating defensive lineman to keep them fresh, the Jets currently have five edge rushers that I view as starting quality (in the sense that they would start on at least some other teams):
- John Franklin-Myers (Pro Football Focus’ 18th highest graded edge rusher in 2022)
- Carl Lawson (Pro Football Focus’ 52nd highest graded edge rusher and 30th highest graded pass rushing edge rusher in 2022)
- Jermaine Johnson II (2022 1st round pick)
- Will McDonald IV (2023 1st round pick)
- Bryce Huff (played in a situational pass rusher role, but had the highest pressure rate among edge rushers who had 100 snaps in 2022)
Overall, this leaves the Jets with at least two “starting” edge rushers that won’t be on the field on a given play, which is the definition of embarrassment of riches in a league that values edge rushers as much as any non-quarterback position. To say that the Jets have sufficient depth at this position is to put it lightly.
While the previous groups that I listed were named due to the presence of multiple players, this group really begins and ends with Aaron Rodgers. To put it lightly, Rodgers is likely to be the Jets best quarterback in at least a decade, if not longer. Given the starting quarterback is generally considered the most important on the field, having a first-ballot Hall of Famer who is only a season removed from back-to-back MVP awards at the top of the depth chart is enough to list this group as a clear strength for me... especially given the quality of play the Jets received from this position in 2022 that Rodgers is replacing.