This year, the Jets are poised to jump back in the conversation, especially in the AFC East that has been up for grabs since Brady’s departure. While their 2020 season left a lot to be desired, the team has spent their treasure trove of draft picks on some very promising athletes. There are a lot of reasons to be excited if you are a Jets fan.
It’s plain to see that the Jets have struggled in recent years, even in their own division. Looking back to 2018, football analysts referred to a matchup between the Bills and the Jets as an “insufferable bowl” and a “a battle of the AFC East basement.” With new faces entering their roster, it may be time for the Jets to turn things around in NY. Let’s take a look at how these players could help bring the Jets back to their winning ways.
QB Zach Wilson (Round 1, #2 overall)
Quarterback Zach Wilson is officially the new face of the New York Jets. It’s been no secret that Sam Darnold didn't pan out the way the team would have hoped. General Manager Joe Douglas decided to make the bold call and pick up the talented BYU quarterback as #2 overall.
Throughout 2020, Wilson had an exceptional year that included 33 touchdowns and 3,692 total yards. However, this was his big breakout year and before this past season, he likely would not have been taken in the first round. At this point, his potential is obvious to the Jets staff and with some time to develop and mature, he could be an excellent quarterback in the NFL.
The message is clear. The Jets need a franchise quarterback and a young talent that they can build around. Wilson can be all that and more if they can protect him in the pocket and provide him with some weapons on offense. Luckily, many of their other picks were selected with these needs in mind.
OL Alijah Vera-Tucker (Round 1, #14 overall)
As mentioned, the Jets must build their offensive line if they want to protect their investment in Zach Wilson. This has been a major weakness for the team, and recently it was even said that the Jets OL could be one of the worst in the NFL. The first step to rebuilding the Jets offensive line was to draft Alijah Vera-Tucker as #14 overall.
Vera-Tucker is everything you could want out of a lineman. He has a special skill set and a combination of size, stamina, power, and the toughness needed to play amongst seasoned pros. He measures up well against opposing linebackers and excels at blocking pass rushers. He also has a lot of experience in different positions, like both left and right guard, and can be very flexible for this squad.
WR Elijah Moore (Round 2, #34 overall)
Receiver Elijah Moore was the next selection, outlining a clear offense focus for this draft. At 5’9”, Moore may be short in stature, but he makes up for this with some surprisingly well-developed skills. Moore will likely be a dedicated route runner thanks to his quick reflexes that enable him to start-stop at will.
He’s also proven that he has great toughness and tenacity when he makes the catch, enabling him to shake off tackles and fight for extra yards. Moore also comes with excellent tracking vision, confidence in his hands, and promising speed on the breakaway. Ole Miss utilized him well during his time there and you can expect the Jets to do the same.
RB Michael Carter (Round 4, #107 overall)
Completing their list of offensive players is the North Carolina Tar Heels running back, Michael Carter. Across 44 games with the college team, he scored an impressive 28 touchdowns and gained over 4,000 combined yards. He has a massive opportunity with the Jets, as he could end up taking numerous carries throughout the season if he proves he is ready.
Rounds 5 and 6
The six picks the Jets had remaining in the later rounds were all spent on a promising group of defensive players. With a major gap in their cornerback position, the Jets selected Michael Carter II (Duke University) and Jason Pinnock (Pittsburgh) in round 5 and Brandin Echols (Kentucky) in the 6th. It’s safe to say depth at this position is no longer a concern. Linebackers Jamien Sherwood (Auburn) and Hamsah Nasirildeen (Florida State) were also selected, along with DT Jonathan Marshall (Arkansas). Altogether, these players will be a huge boost for the Jets’ defense.