After a dreadful 2-14 season in 2020, the New York Jets have decided to undergo a major overhaul. Defensive guru Robert Saleh takes the reigns as the new head coach and the Jets front office hope he can instill a new culture with this franchise (Big Al). Shortly before the draft, the Jets decided to part ways with QB Sam Darnold and promptly shipped him off to Carolina in a trade.
Desperate to create some offensive sizzle, the Jets took several highly touted players in the NFL Draft a few months ago. With Saleh at the helm and a slew of new young players, this Jets team should be more fun (and less painful) to watch in 2021.
The Jets wasted no time in replacing Sam Darnold at QB as they drafted Zach Wilson with the second overall pick. While other teams are having open QB competitions, New York has already handed Wilson the keys to the offense. The former BYU standout has the superior arm strength that is needed to make all the tight-window throws.
Wilson also has plenty of mobility, which allows him to make first downs with his excellent scrambling ability. With a less than stellar offensive line, Wilson will often have to use his legs to get away from the pass rush. Expect the young rookie to have plenty of growing pains but plenty of highlight-reel plays as well.
The Jets running back room is stocked to the brim with plenty of good options. While Lamical Perine and Tevin Coleman have some NFL experience, we expect rookie Michael Carter to end up winning the starting job at some point during the season. Carter has an insanely high amount of explosiveness as he averaged 8 yards per carry last year while at North Carolina.
Wilson should be happy with the number of weapons he has to throw to at the receiver position. The Jets brought in Corey Davis from the Titans and drafted Elijah Moore from Ole Miss in the second round. Also, Jamison Crowder took a 50 percent pay cut to stay with the Jets which helps this offense tremendously.
The Jets were decent in 2020 against the run and only allowed 112 yards per game. Big defensive tackles like Quinnen Williams and Sheldon Rankins will again help the Jets defensive line stop the run this season. The secondary, however, needs lots of help as they were one of the worst in the league in 2020.
Saleh hopes that his three rookie defensive backs can help stop the bleeding in 2021. The Jets spent two 5th round picks on corners Jason Pinnock and Michael Carter III. Brandin Echols from Kentucky was also brought in in the 6th round and will compete for some playing time at nickel.
2021 Special Teams
Kicker Sam Ficken returns this season after a solid 2020 campaign. Ficken, a Penn State alum, made 13 out of his 15 field goal attempts last year. Punter Braden Mann returns for his second season with the Jets after averaging 43.9 yards per punt in 2020.