New York Jets 2018 NFL Season Preview

Quarterback

Going into the 2017 season, the Jets were a popular pick to finish with the worst record in the league and many believed they wouldn’t win a game. Much like the Browns, the Jets decided to go with a complete rebuild strategy, getting rid of basically all of their well-paid veterans in order to give their young players playing time, roll forward cap space into future off-seasons, and get a high pick in the draft. Despite that, to many people’s surprise, the Jets weren’t actually that bad last season. They only won 5 games and finished 28th in first down rate differential at -4.77%, but that exceeded most people’s expectations for this team.

The biggest reason they exceeded expectations was quarterback Josh McCown, who greatly exceeded expectations in first season in New York. A veteran journeyman with 60 career starts in 15 seasons in the league prior to 2017, McCown was mostly brought in as a stopgap quarterback for his veteran leadership, but ended up completing 67.3% of his passes for an average of 7.37 YPA, 18 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions, before breaking his hand early in the Jets’ week 14 trip to Denver and going down for the season.

Proving McCown’s value to this team, they completely fell apart in the final 4 weeks of the season without him, losing all 4 games by a combined 62 points, playing like the team many thought they’d be all season. They managed just 52 first downs and 3 offensive touchdowns in those 4 games, picking up first downs at a pathetic 23.31% rate, after picking up first downs at a 32.89% rate in the 12 games McCown started and finished (5-7 win/loss record). Part of that is because backup Bryce Petty did not resemble an NFL starter, but it’s clear that McCown was the leading factor in this team winning games last season.

All that being said, you could definitely argue that McCown playing well last season hurt this team long-term. Because they won 5 games, the Jets ended up with the 6th pick in the draft and had to trade away three second round picks (their 2018 2nd round pick, the 2018 2nd round pick they acquired from the Seahawks for Sheldon Richardson, and their 2019 2nd round pick) to move up to 3 to grab the quarterback of the future they needed. With that 3rd pick, they selected USC’s Sam Darnold.

The Jets may feel they got a steal with Darnold, who was considered the favorite for the #1 pick throughout most of the process. The Browns passed on Darnold for the more NFL ready Baker Mayfield with the first pick, while the Giants decided to stick with Eli Manning for at least another year and draft running back Saquon Barkley with the second pick. Darnold emerged as a #1 pick candidate with a strong redshirt freshman season in 2016, but was not as good in 2017 as a redshirt sophomore with a worse supporting cast. Not yet 21 until June, Darnold would be the youngest week 1 starting quarterback in NFL history and may need a year of seasoning, but he has all of the tools to be a long-term franchise quarterback, something the Jets have lacked for the last decade.

Darnold will compete with McCown and free agent acquisition Teddy Bridgewater week 1 job this off-season. McCown may be the favorite because he was solid last season, but his age is definitely a concern (age 39 in 2018) and he’s been inconsistent in the past, topping a 75 QB rating in just 3 of 16 career seasons. Injuries have also been a problem for him, as he’s never played in all 16 games in a season. The Jets like him as a veteran presence, but he’s no guarantee to play as well as he did last season if he wins the job.

Teddy Bridgewater is their most intriguing option. A first round pick by the Vikings in 2014, Bridgewater made 28 starts in his first 2 seasons in the league and looked like a future franchise quarterback, completing 64.9% of his passes for an average of 7.24 YPA, 28 touchdowns, and 21 interceptions, while rushing for 401 yards and 3 touchdowns on 91 carries. He finished 11th and 15th among quarterbacks on Pro Football Focus in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

However, Bridgewater suffered a brutal leg injury in practice before the 2016 season and basically missed all of the next two seasons with injury. Bridgewater returned mid-season last year, but only threw 2 passes as the backup to Case Keenum, who had taken the starting job and run with it. In the post-season, Bridgewater fell to 3rd on the depth chart behind Keenum and Sam Bradford, who returned from an injury of his own.

A complete uncertainty as a free agent this off-season, Bridgewater had to settle for a contract with just 500K guaranteed from a team that is not promising him a starting job. He has theoretical bounce back potential, still only going into his age 26 season, but it’s unclear if he’ll ever be able regain his old form. He was a worthwhile signing for the Jets, but may not even make the final roster if he doesn’t win the starting job, as the Jets may not want to pay him the additional 5.5 million they’d have to pay him to keep him on the roster as a 3rd quarterback. This is a three way battle that could last deep into training camp. All three options have their flaws, but the Jets could easily get capable play from the quarterback position this season.

Grade: B-

Offensive Line

While the Jets got their much needed quarterback of the future this off-season, they’ll probably still struggle as a team in 2018. They came into the off-season with a lot of needs, but, unless Darnold has a big rookie year impact, they’re unlikely to get much from their rookie class, as they only had one other pick in the top-100 (#72), as a result of their trade up. The Jets also had a lot of money to play with in free agency, but, in a weak free agent class, were stuck using their money to overpay mid-level free agents, rather than adding impact players.

One of those free agents they added was ex-Redskin center Spencer Long. A 3rd round pick by the Redskins, Long made 33 starts over the past 3 seasons with the Redskins and was about a league average starter, first at left guard in 2015 and then at center in 2016 and 2017. As far as overpays go, he wasn’t a bad one at 4-year, 27.4 million. He’ll be an obvious upgrade over last year’s starter Wesley Johnson, who finished dead last among 38 eligible centers on Pro Football Focus last season, and teams like the Jets have to overpay a little to attract talent. The big issue with him is injuries, as he’s never played all 16 games in a season and missed 9 games with quad and knee problems in 2017. As long as he’s healthy, he should be a capable starter.

Center was not the only position where they struggled upfront last season. In fact, every offensive lineman who played a snap for them last season received a negative grade from PFF. Left tackle Kelvin Beachum was their best offensive lineman, by only by default. Beachum was PFF’s #5 ranked offensive tackle in 2014, but tore his ACL 6 games into the 2015 season and has not been the same since, struggling in both 2016 and 2017. Only a one-year wonder before the injury, Beachum is unlikely to ever have a season like that again.

Guards James Carpenter and Brian Winters were their worst offensive linemen in 2017, finishing 75th and 77th among 80 eligible guards on PFF. Carpenter finished 23rd at his position in 2015 and 18th in 2016, but he’s gotten a negative grade in 5 of 7 seasons in the league, so he’s been very inconsistent in his career. Still only in his age 29 season, Carpenter has bounce back potential and it wouldn’t be hard for him to be better than last season, but he’s been a very tough player to predict throughout his career.

Winters, on the other hand, has never been that good. He was about a league average starter in 2016, but he’s finished in the bottom-25 among guards on PFF in his other 4 seasons in the league, since going in the 3rd round in 2013. The Jets gave him a 4-year, 29 million dollar deal with 15 million guaranteed last off-season to keep him as a free agent, in hopes that he’d continue building on his solid 2016 season, but they may be regretting that move now. Winters and Carpenter will likely remain their starting guards in 2018, but that’s mostly because they lack a better option. Top reserve Dakota Dozier was underwhelming in 3 spot starts last season.

Right tackle Brandon Shell rounds out this offensive line. A 6th round pick in 2016, Shell wasn’t terrible in his first extended action in 2017 (12 starts), but he also had his share of struggles. Brent Qvale played 394 snaps in his absence last season and wasn’t much better, so Shell is probably locked into the starting job. He’ll likely remain a below average starter. The addition of Spencer Long at center helps this offensive line and the rest of this offensive line might be better by default in 2018, but this offensive line still has a lot of problems.

Grade: C

Running Backs

The Jets also added running back Isaiah Crowell in free agency, signing the ex-Brown to a 3-year, 12 million dollar deal. Originally an undrafted free agent who fell out of the draft because of off-the-field problems, Crowell developed into a capable early down back in 4 seasons in Cleveland, averaging 4.23 yards per carry on 737 carries and staying out of trouble off-the-field. Still going into his age 25 season with no injury history (no games missed in 4 years in the league, one of 2 running backs to do so over that time period), Crowell doesn’t come with much risk and should remain a solid early down back. The downside with him is he doesn’t do much on passing downs. He has just 96 career catches in 64 games and struggles mightily in pass protection.

Matt Forte was their passing down back in 2017, finishing 4th on the team with 37 catches for 293 yards, but he retired ahead of his age 33 season this off-season. Bilal Powell caught 47 passes in 2015 and 58 passes in 2016, but that number dropped to 23 in 2017 and he has a mediocre 7.55 yards per catch average in his career. He’s also going into his age 30 season and might not have much left in the tank. He does have an impressive 4.37 YPC carry on 711 carries in 7 seasons in the league and should compete for playing time, but he’s not a lock for a roster spot at his current 4 million dollar non-guaranteed salary if he can’t earn a role this off-season.

Last year’s 6th round pick Elijah McGuire will also be in the mix for playing time, after flashing on 267 snaps (88 carries, 17 catches) as a rookie. He might be their best passing down option, so he could have a big role in 2018. The Jets also have Thomas Rawls and 6th round rookie Trenton Cannon in the mix, but neither is a lock to make the final roster. Rawls had an impressive 5.65 YPC average on 147 carries as a rookie in 2015, but hasn’t been healthy since and is useless on passing downs, while Cannon is an undersized scatback at 5-11 185 and likely will never develop into a lead back. They have options at the running back position, but this is an underwhelming group overall.

Grade: B-

Receiving Corps

Going into 2017, the Jets’ receiving corps looked like a major problem. Last off-season, they got rid of veterans Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, who were just two years removed from 1000-yard seasons in 2015, and then they lost new #1 receiver Quincy Enunwa for the year with a neck injury in August before the season even started. They did have issues in the receiving corps, with only 2 receivers topping 357 receiving yards, but they got good play out of starting wideouts Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse, who both topped 800 yards.

Anderson was the Jets’ #3 wide receiver as an undrafted rookie in 2016, posting an underwhelming 42/587/2 slash line on 475 routes run and finishing 111th out of 119 eligible wide receivers on Pro Football Focus. He took a big step forward on the field in 2017, leading the team with a 63/941/7 slash line on 520 routes run and grading out as about a league average starting wide receiver on PFF. Prior to McCown’s injury, he was on pace for a 65/1095/9 slash line. He has a troubling off-the-field history, including an incident this off-season which he may face league discipline for, and he’s a one-year wonder who originally fell out of the draft completely, but he could continue developing into a reliable pass catching option if he can stay out of trouble.

Kearse, meanwhile, was acquired by the Jets just days before week 1, making his season even more impressive. Kearse ended up playing in all 16 games and putting up a 65/810/5 slash line on 565 routes run. Like Anderson, he graded out as about a league average starter. Considering he was just a throw-in in the trade in which the Jets sent Sheldon Richardson to the Seahawks for a 2nd round pick, the Jets have to be pleased with his first season.

Prior to last season, Kearse never had more than 49 catches for 685 yards in a season and he finished the 2016 season as PFF’s 118th ranked wide receiver out of 119 eligible, catching just 45.6% of his targets and leading the league in offensive pass interference penalties, so he’s been inconsistent in the past and may not be able to repeat his 2017 season. He’s owed a non-guaranteed 5.55 million in 2018, but the Jets aren’t strapped for cap space and will likely keep him on the roster this season.

The Jets also get Enunwa back this season and he should compete with Anderson and Kearse for playing time. A 6th round pick in 2014, Enunwa barely played as a rookie and struggled mightily as the #3 receiver in 2015, finishing 113rd among 119 eligible wide receivers, but he graded out as about a league average receiver in 2016 and put up a 58/857/4 slash line on 569 routes run. He is a one-year wonder and he’s coming off of a major injury, but his return should give them much needed wide receiver depth at the very least.

The Jets also added Terrelle Pryor in free agency to give them more depth at wide receiver. A converted quarterback, Pryor put up a 77/1007/4 slash line in his first full season as a receiver in 2016, though he did so on 140 targets and overall graded out as about a league average receiver. He received a one-year prove it deal worth 6 million from the Redskins as a free agent last off-season, but struggled mightily on 378 snaps before being benched and eventually shut down for the season with an ankle injury. He finished with just 20 catches for 240 yards and 1 touchdown.

The Jets are taking a flyer on his upside with a 1-year deal worth 4.5 million, but he may not be anything more than a solid depth receiver. The Jets also have last year’s 3rd and 4th round picks A’Darius Stewart and Chad Hansen in the mix. They played 231 snaps and 340 snaps respectively last season, but were underwhelming and now appear buried on the depth chart behind higher paid veterans. With as many capable receivers as they have, it’ll be tough for any one receiver to put up big numbers.

The Jets figure to use a lot of 3 or 4 wide receiver sets in 2018, as they have much more depth at wide receiver than at tight end. Austin Seferian-Jenkins was an underwhelming starter at tight end last season, catching 50 passes for 357 yards and 3 touchdowns on 74 targets, but the Jets may struggle to even get that much production out of their starting tight end this season, with Seferian-Jenkins signing in Jacksonville as a free agent this off-season.

The Jets will basically have a wide open competition at tight end. They added ex-Raider Clive Walford and then used a 4th round pick on the University of Miami’s Chris Herndon. They will compete with last year’s #2 tight end Eric Tomlinson and 2017 5th round pick Jordan Leggett. Walford was a 3rd round pick in 2015 and flashed on 446 snaps as a rookie, but struggled mightily as a starter in 2016, putting up just a 33/359/3 slash line and finishing 57th out of 65 eligible tight ends on 700 snaps. In 2017, he was limited to 129 snaps as a reserve before being waived after the season and claimed off waivers by the Jets. Already going into his age 27 season, Walford will likely never develop into much more than a depth tight end.

Tomlinson is also unlikely to ever develop into much more than a depth tight end. An undrafted free agent in 2015, Tomlinson is a capable blocker at 6-6 263 but he has just 8 career catches. He played 410 snaps last season and could have a significant role again because he’s arguably their best blocking tight end, but he’s unlikely to have much of an impact in the passing game. Leggett and Herndon have upside, but Leggett spent his entire rookie year as a healthy scratch and was not a high pick to begin with (#150), while Herndon is really raw and may take a year to develop. The Jets have good depth at wide receiver, but lack a clear #1 option, could be without Robby Anderson for a period of time because of a potential suspension, and lack any proven depth at tight end.

Grade: C

Defensive Line

The Jets used to have arguably the best defensive line in the league. In 2015, when they won 10 games and almost made the post-season with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center, they had a dominant defensive line with Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, Leonard Williams, and Damon Harrison. However, with both Muhammad Wilkerson and Damon Harrison set to hit free agency the following off-season, the Jets made a major mistake re-signing Wilkerson to a 5-year, 86 million dollar deal, while letting Harrison sign with the Giants for considerably less (46.25 million over 5 years).

Harrison has continued to be the most dominant run stuffing defensive tackle in the league with the Giants, while Wilkerson seemed to coast after getting his money, having back-to-back underwhelming seasons in 2016 and 2017 and before being cut this off-season after all of the guaranteed money on his contract ran out (37 million). Wilkerson’s contract also made re-signing Sheldon Richardson unlikely, so the Jets traded him for a Jermaine Kearse and a second round pick before the start of the 2017 season. That ended up being a good return for him, but, now with Wilkerson, Richardson, and Harrison all gone, this defensive line is hardly what it was a few years ago.

Leonard Williams is the only player who remains from that original four and he’s quietly remained a dominant player. The 6th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, Leonard has been one of the better defensive linemen in the league since day 1, finishing in the top-10 among 3-4 defensive ends on Pro Football Focus in all 3 seasons in the league. His sack numbers might not stand out (12 career sacks), but he also has 47 career quarterback hits and is a great run stuffer. Still only going into his age 24 season, he may not have reached his full potential yet, which is scary. He has two years left on his rookie deal, but the Jets would be wise to lock him up on an extension sooner rather than later. He could be one of the top few defensive linemen in the league in a couple years.

The Jets added Henry Anderson in a trade with the Colts as a replacement for Wilkerson this off-season. Wilkerson wasn’t bad in 2017, grading out about average on PFF, but Anderson has earned positive grades from PFF in all 3 seasons in the league and should be an adequate replacement at a much cheaper price (owed 1.907 million in the final year of his rookie deal in 2018). He’s a better run stuffer than pass rusher, but has earned positive grades in both aspects in all 3 seasons. He only has 3 career sacks, but has added 12 hits, 4 batted passes, and 40 hurries on 683 pass rush snaps.

Injuries have always been a problem with him though, as he’s missed 19 games in 3 seasons in the league and has never played more than 452 snaps or 11 games in a season. Injuries were likely a big part of the reason why the Colts were willing to part with him for a mere 7th round pick, in addition to him not being a great fit for the Colts’ new 4-3 defense and his expiring contract, but he could prove to be a huge steal for the Jets. Even if he doesn’t make it through the whole season, he should still be an asset when healthy and he fits as an end in their 3-4 scheme like a glove.

The Jets also added Nathan Shepard with the 72nd pick in the draft, their only other pick in the top-100. Shepherd has the upside to develop into an above average starter and the versatility at 6-4 315 to play anywhere on this 3-man defensive line, but he’s also very raw and did not face a high level of competition at Division-II Fort Hays State. He’ll likely compete with bottom of the roster talents like Xavier Cooper and Mike Pennel for the top reserve job on this defensive line and his versatility should help earn him playing time.

Veteran Steve McLendon is probably locked in as the starting nose tackle. His age is becoming a concern, going into his age 32 season, but he’s earned a positive run stuffing grade in 7 straight seasons, including the past two with the Jets. Last season, he was PFF’s 8th ranked defensive tackle in terms of run stopping grade on 488 snaps. He’s only a two-down player and doesn’t get much pass rush, but he excels as a two-down run stuffing nose tackle. He’ll come off the field for a 5th defensive back in sub packages. This defensive line is hardly what it used to be, but there is still talent here.

Grade: A-

Linebackers

While the Jets have always had a strong defensive line, they’ve had issues at the edge rusher spot for years. Last year the Jets had just 28 sacks as a team, 28th in the NFL, and were led by middle linebacker Demario Davis with 5. No edge rusher had more than 3.5 sacks and their top edge rusher in terms of pass rush grade on Pro Football Focus was Kony Ealy, who is no longer with the team after signing with the Cowboys this off-season. Ealy only had 1 sack and 2 quarterback hits on the season, but hurried the quarterback 25 times and batted 9 passes at the line (2nd most in the NFL) on 306 pass rush snaps.

Jordan Jenkins led all Jet edge rushers with 714 snaps last season and will likely do so again in 2018, for lack of a better option. He was an adequate run stuffer, but didn’t offer much of a pass rusher. A 3rd round pick in 2016, Jenkins could be better in his 3rd season in the league in 2018, but he’s been underwhelming thus far in his career. The Jets also used a 3rd round pick in 2015 on an edge rusher, taking Lorenzo Mauldin, but he’s been even more underwhelming in his career. He played 615 mediocre snaps between 2015 and 2016 and missed all of 2017 with back surgery. He’s reportedly on the roster bubble, but the Jets are so thin at the position that he could still earn a major role if he shows well in practice this off-season. He’s unlikely to ever develop into a capable starter though.

His primary competition for playing time will be veteran journeymen David Bass and Josh Martin. Bass was not even on the team to start the season, spending the first 2 weeks with the Seahawks, before getting released and picked up by the Jets. Despite that, he ended up leading all Jet edge rushers with 3.5 sacks. He only played 352 snaps on the season, but showed well on those snaps, earning the first positive grade from PFF in his 5-year career. He’s an unproven one-year wonder at best, but may have a bigger role in 2018 for lack of a better option. The Jets are his 5th team in 5 seasons in the league, after being drafted by the Raiders in the 7th round in 2013.

Martin is “only” on his 4th team in 5 seasons in the league and has been with the Jets since 2015, but he doesn’t have the same pass rush upside that Bass does. He’s an adequate run stuffer, but he has just 2.5 career sacks and the 489 snaps he played last season were by far his career high. In fact, prior to 2017, he played just 176 career snaps. He should play a base package role for this team in 2018, but he won’t help solve their pass rush problems.

Making their pass rush problems worse, the Jets also lost middle linebacker Demario Davis this off-season, as he signed with the Saints in free agency. Davis only rushed the passer 146 times, primarily as a blitzer from the middle linebacker spot, but led the team with 5 sacks and added 8 hits and 15 hurries as well. He was their most reliable source of pass rush and finished 5th overall among middle linebackers on PFF while playing 100% of the snaps. His replacement Avery Williamson is a strong run stuffer, finishing 2nd among middle linebackers in run stuffing grade, but he hasn’t earned a positive pass rush or pass coverage grade in 4 seasons in the league, since the Titans drafted him in the 5th round in 2013. He’ll probably be an above average starter for them, but he’s very one-dimensional.

Darron Lee is probably locked in as the other starting middle linebacker, but he was briefly benched down the stretch last season and has been a big disappointment in 2 seasons in the league, since the Jets used the 20th overall pick on him in 2016. He finished 51st out of 59 eligible middle linebackers on PFF in 2016 and then fell to dead last in 2017. It’s probably too soon to completely write him off as a bust, but he’s entering a make or break 3rd season in the league.

The Jets added proven competition for him this off-season, something they lacked last season, so Lee will likely be on a shorter leash in 2018. Five-year veteran Kevin Minter comes over on a minimum deal after spending last season in Cincinnati and could prove to be a steal. He was buried on the depth chart with the Bengals, playing just 196 snaps, but made all 32 starts in 2015 and 2016 with the Cardinals. He’s never been good in coverage, but he’s a capable run stuffer and was PFF’s 26th ranked middle linebacker in 2016. He’s unlikely to be a week 1 starter, but could play a role on run downs and could be the starter by season’s end if Lee continues to struggle. Even if Lee develops into a capable starter in 2018, this linebacking corps still has a lot of problems.

Grade: C+

Secondary

The Jets biggest free agent signing this off-season was cornerback Trumaine Johnson, who is now the 2nd highest paid cornerback in the NFL after receiving a 5-year, 72.5 million dollar deal this off-season. A 3rd round pick in 2012, Johnson broke out in the final year of his rookie deal in 2015, finishing 29th among cornerbacks on Pro Football Focus in coverage grade. The Rams decided to franchise tag him instead of Janoris Jenkins, but didn’t give him a long-term deal because they wanted him to prove it again.

In 2016, he did prove it again, finishing 23rd among cornerbacks in coverage grade, but he was slapped with the franchise tag again and not given a long-term deal because they wanted him to prove himself in new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ scheme. That turned out to be a smart decision, as he proved to be a poor fit in the new scheme and had an underwhelming season, finishing around middle of the pack.

Only going into his age 28 season, Johnson has obvious bounce back potential in a scheme that fits his skillset better, but, even if he bounces back, his contract is still an overpay because he’s never been a top level, elite cornerback. Bad teams like the Jets have to overpay for free agents though and he does fill a much needed hole in the secondary as the #1 cornerback. He also has the size to match up with bigger receivers at 6-2 213, something they lacked last season.

Morris Claiborne was their #1 cornerback last season, but will slide into the #2 role with Johnson coming to town. The 6th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft by the Cowboys, Claiborne has not lived up to his potential due to injuries. He’s missed 34 games in 6 seasons in the league, including 17 games from 2014-2015 with a torn patellar tendon. Claiborne also struggled early in his career, but he’s graded out as about a league average starter over the past 2 seasons and played 15 games in 2017, tied for a career high. Claiborne is still only going into his age 28 season, so he could continue being a solid starter if he can stay healthy.

Buster Skrine was their other starter opposite Claiborne this season. He’s likely the favorite for the #3 cornerback job. A 5th round pick by the Browns back in 2011, Skrine is plenty experienced, with 73 career starts, including 68 in the past 5 seasons, but he’s earned negative grades from PFF in all 7 seasons in the league. Owed 6 million non-guaranteed in the final year of a 4-year deal, Skrine isn’t a lock for the final roster, but the Jets are not strapped for cap space and he’s probably their best slot option, so I expect him to keep his roster spot, possibly after a pay cut or restructure.

Darryl Roberts and Juston Burris were their top reserve cornerbacks last season, but both are bottom of the roster talents that are not locks to make the team, despite being on inexpensive rookie contracts. Roberts went in the 7th round in 2015 and Burris went in the 4th round in 2016, but both have been mediocre on 752 career snaps and 519 career snaps respectively. The Jets also used a 6th round pick on Tulane’s Parry Nickerson, who has the tools to develop into a capable slot receiver, but he might not have a big role as a rookie.

At safety, the Jets have a pair of second year players, after using their first and second round picks in the 2017 NFL Draft on safeties. Jamal Adams was their first round pick, going 6th overall, and he was arguably the top defensive player in his draft. He had an up and down rookie year and needs to improve in deep coverage, but he still earned a positive grade overall from PFF and he has the upside to be a lot better in 2018. Adams compared favorably to Eric Berry and Landon Collins as a draft prospect and could be one of the better safeties in the league in a few years. Marcus Maye is the other starter. He doesn’t have Adams’ upside, but could still develop into a capable starter, despite struggling a bit as a rookie. With the addition of Trumaine Johnson and their young safeties possibly taking another step forward, this secondary should be improved in 2018.

Grade: B-

Conclusion

The Jets won 5 games in 2017, but, outside of the quarterback position, they were one of the least talented teams in the league. With quarterback Josh McCown getting old, the Jets’ goal this off-season was finding a quarterback of the future. They did find one, taking USC’s Sam Darnold with the 3rd pick in the draft, but trading up for him hurt their ability to address other needs and he may not even be ready to play as a rookie. In free agency, the Jets did spend money, but did not add any game-changing talents and still have several major holes. This team is going in the right direction and could win some games in the weak AFC, but, on paper, they are one of the weaker teams in the league. I will have an official prediction later in the off-season.

Final Prediction: Rookie quarterback Sam Darnold looked good this off-season, winning the starting job in the process, but his supporting cast still has serious problems and he may not be an upgrade over Josh McCown’s solid 2017 performance, so I would not expect a big leap in wins from this team.

Prediction: 4-12 2nd in AFC East

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