New York Jets Post Draft Overview
The first draft of New York Jets GM Joe Douglas is in the books. Above all, The Jets roster is being modeled in his vision. The Jets GM flipped the script this offseason. In years past, as a result of poor drafting. Unrestricted free agency was the teams’ quick fix remedy. This offseason, the Jets took a more disciplined approach in the open market, instead of breaking the bank on veteran free agents. The Jets decided to look to the draft for long term solutions.
GM Joe Douglas is trying to change the structure and culture of the New York Jets. Six of the nine players, the Jets drafted, were team captains in college. Time will tell if the moves that Douglas made to the Jets roster will set the franchise on the right course in 2020 and beyond.
Let’s take an in-depth look at the Jets current roster on offense. Position by position.
The Jets are rolling the dice again behind Sam Darnold. New York’s plan last season behind Sam completely fell apart. A combination of bad luck and poor planning. When the smoke cleared, Adam Gase pupil David Fales and Mike White survived the wreckage.
If anything were to happen to Sam Darnold this year, the Jets might have to change course at the position. Rookie James Morgan has a significant upside but is far from a finished product. The Jets could use a real veteran presence behind Darnold.
Two of the Jets’ most accomplished veterans, Bilal Powell and Ty Montgomery, are no longer with the team. Both players provided value behind Bell last season. The Jets depth behind Le’Veon is a group of unknowns. The team drafted La’Mical Perine to be Bell’s caddy. In theory, Perine will provide power running and the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. Dixon has good traits but a long history with injuries. Trenton Cannon has roster versatility as a returner but hasn’t flashed yet as a pro. Josh Adams is a power back, formerly of the Eagles, who could get an extended look in the summer. It’s Bell or bust for the Jets ground game.
Breshad Perriman, Jamison Crowder, Denzel Mims, Quincy Enunwa, Vyncint Smith, Josh Bellamy, Josh Doctson, Braxton Berrios, Jehu Chesson, Josh Malone, Jeff Smith, Keon Hatcher, Lawrence Cager, George Campbell (14)
The receiver position is one of the Jets’ most significant question marks. The team could still be in the market for another veteran.
As of press time, Quincy Enunwa is still under contract with the Jets. Back in 2018, Enunwa signed a four year, 36 million dollar extension. With Enunwa’s 2020 salary guaranteed for injury. As a result, the Jets receive no benefit to their cap by parting ways with Quincy.
In reality, the Jets could use Quincy Enunwa’s physical presence in their passing game. His history of neck and spine ailments make him a player that the team can’t rely on. Because of this, the only two veterans that the Jets can lean on are slot receiver Jamison Crowder and free-agent pickup Breshad Perriman.
The Jets’ success at receiver hinges on the development of rookie Denzel Mims. The second-round pick has the size at 6’3, and the speed (4.3) to be a potential difference-maker. However, questions remain, like how quickly can the rookie get up to speed? Mims may be relied upon to provide instant dividends.
The rest of the Jets depth chart features unproven commodities. One of the existing issues for backup players is that there won’t be a traditional offseason because of coronavirus pandemic restrictions. Young receivers like the reclamation project Josh Doctson will have a hard time stamping out a role. Because of this, Young veterans like Braxton Berrios might have a leg up on the competition. He has experience in the offense and brings special teams value to the table.
Transactions speak louder than words. Tight end is a position where the Jets have maintained the status quo. The player who could be a saving grace on the Jets roster and in their passing attack is Chris Herndon. Despite his history with injury and off the field issues. New York is banking on Herndon to reach his full potential in 2020. In 2018, Herndon showed great chemistry with Sam Darnold. The rookie tight end had 39 receptions for 502 yards and four scores. 2019 was a complete washout for Herndon. The Jets roster concerns at the receiver spot can be quelled by the return of a healthy and focused Herndon.
Ryan Griffin overachieved in Herndon’s absence. Griffin broke out last year with five touchdowns before going down to ankle injury. Consequently, leading to the Jets rewarding Griffin with a three-year contract extension.
Trevon Wesco carved out a role as a hybrid player in the Jets offense. The teams’ only real lead blocker lined up in the backfield at fullback. A passing game afterthought, Wesco provided the Jets value with his blocking versatility at two different positions. Daniel Brown has receiving chops but has been mostly a special teamer throughout his career. Ross Travis is a 27-year-old project. The 6’7 former basketball player has bounced around the fringe of NFL rosters.
Connor McGovern (C), Jonotthan Harrison (C), Alex Lewis (G), Greg Van Roten (G), Josh Andrews (G/C), Brian Winters (G), James Murray (C/G), Ben Braden (G), Brian Lundblade (G/C), George Fant (T), Mekhi Becton (T), Cameron Clark (T), Chuma Edoga (T), Conor McDermott (T), Leo Koloamantagi (G/T), Corbin Kaufusi (T), Jared Hilbers (T) (17)
Joe Douglas has entirely revamped the Jets offensive line. It started in 2019 when he took over GM duties late in the process. Douglas traded for Guard Alex Lewis and then re-signed him in the offseason.
One of the other holdovers from last year’s offensive line, Brian Winters, is not guaranteed a roster spot. Winters is on the hook for 7.2 million in 2020.
The Douglas revamp sees a new center in Connor McGovern, three interior players in Lewis, Van Roten, and Andrews, and brand new offensive tackles in George Fant and top draft picks, Mekhi Becton and Cameron Clark. The team could have four new starters come opening day. As a result of all these moves, for the first time in a long time, The Jets have depth and versatility up front, but the most important key will be the level of play that first-round pick Mekhi Becton provides. Not since the 2006 draft, have the Jets used premium draft capital on an offensive lineman. The hope is that Becton plays on the level that D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold did over a decade ago.
“We are a better team right now”- Jets GM Joe Douglas after the draft.
It’s hard to argue against this. On paper and by default, the Jets offense is better than it was a year ago. How much better remains to be seen? Excluding the teams’ improvements on their offensive line. Sam Darnold’s top target Robby Anderson is gone. The Jets do not have a true #1 receiver on their roster.
The truth is that the Jets have drafted so poorly in recent years and whiffed on free agency so many times, that it’s going to take more than just one draft to set the team on the right path.
On the other hand, The improvements on the offensive line should help the Jets two best offensive players in Sam Darnold and Le’Veon Bell. However, the long term future of the latter is in question. The onus is on Adam Gase to make it work. Otherwise, Joe Douglas has been drafting for his next head coach all along.
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