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Jul. 31, 2013 - Shasky Clarke

2013 NFL Team Previews, AFC East: NY Jets - 4th

This is the beginning of a series by Shasky Clarke, previewing every NFL team for the upcoming 2013 season, division by division, and ranking the teams within their respective divisions.

2013 NFL Team Previews, AFC East: 4th - New York Jets




The Jets have finally added serious competition to the quarterback position. Mark Sanchez has long been a comical victim of derision due to his wildly inconsistent performance and perceived lack of mental fortitude. Rookie Geno Smith brings better arm strength, athleticism, and upside to the Jets offense. Smith still needs to get rid of the ball faster but the Jets should immediately see more dangerous and exciting quarterback play. He ought to win the job.



The Jets traded a fourth round pick for 222 pound thumper Chris Ivory. Ivory is a very physical straight line power back with underrated open field speed and burst. While not a pro bowl caliber runner, he should take advantage of what will be improved rushing lanes upfront. Bilal Powell is well-rounded and steady. The upside guy here is Joe McKnight who, if he can stay on the field, is an athlete who sports the short area wiggle and break away speed to make big plays.



This much-maligned group has enough talent to be part of an above average passing attack. Stephen Hill is a true number one type of receiver and tremendous athlete with top size, speed and leaping ability. Braylon Edwards early on should settle in as a prototypically sized weapon on the outside. Jeremy Kerley has already shown himself to be a good, quick slot guy. Speedy Clyde Gates has surprised some with his ability to run tight routes, and the hope is that Santonio Holmes returns and contributes as another dangerous outside piece. The biggest hole is at tight end, where no one can feel secure expecting much from Kellen Winslow II.



In the past year, the Jets really upgraded at least two of their biggest problem areas upfront, guard and right tackle. Now, the Jets will sport proven veterans Willie Colon and Stephen Peterman at the guard spots and underrated run blocking Austin Howard at right tackle. Rounding out the lineup are Pro Bowlers D'Brickashaw Ferguson and C Nick Mangold. Howard will face some problems versus Cam Wake twice a year, but overall the Jets run game should have success and the offensive line is no longer a significant liability to the offense.


Best Offensive Rookie: QB Geno Smith

Best Offensive Second-Year Player: WR Stephen Hill

2014 Draft Offensive Position of Need: Tight End

2014 Draft Suggestion: TE Colt Lyerla 6'5” 245, Oregon




Defensive Line:

The Jets could have the best defensive line in football. As 3-4 ends and nickel interior rushers, third-year Muhammad Wilkerson and rookie Sheldon Richardson are both elite, disruptive athletes that should cause offensive lines fits. Massive nose tackle Kenrick Ellis lacks the talent of the other two starters and was destroyed by the San Francisco running game in 2012. But Ellis has reportedly taken a step forward this offseason and should benefit from rotating with productive eleventh year veteran Antonio Garay.


OLB/Edge Rushers:

The Jets have failed to get consistent outside pressure during the Rex Ryan era, lacking a top tier pass rusher. The supposed solution is to stand Quinton Coples up as an outside linebacker in base packages. It remains to be seen if Coples has quite the athletic ability to be a double digit edge sack artist but his versatility provides Rex Ryan and the defensive coaching staff with a chess piece that could be difficult to game plan for from week to week. 32-year old Calvin Pace is a popular veteran, but at this point in his career he is a liability due to his lack of pass rush. Ideally, Antwan Barnes would get an opportunity to be more than just an athletic situational rusher.



With no Bart Scott, Demario Davis is poised to take advantage of a full starting job. He is their most talented inside linebacker, ahead of well-regarded David Harris. Davis is largely the reason the Jets will have a faster overall defensive unit. Expect excellent production out of this duo.



Cornerback is the money position in the Jets defensive scheme and the top three guys on the depth chart should pick up where one of the league's top secondaries left off last year, even after they lost Darrelle Revis. The elite, playmaking Antonio Cromartie and talented rookie Dee Milliner form a long and athletic duo on the outside. Kyle Wilson has had a long couple years being isolated and beaten in man coverage, but he has steadily improved and is somewhat of a luxury as a third cornerback.

The safeties look like a little more of a problem. Dawan Landry and Antonio Allen seem to have the early leads to start. The question is how much playmaking in coverage the defense can get from their worst position group.



Best Defensive Rookie: DE/DT Sheldon Richardson

Best Defensive Second-Year Player:  ILB Demario Davis

2014 Draft Defensive Position of Need: Outside Linebacker/Pass Rusher 

2014 Draft Suggestion: OLB Anthony Barr, UCLA