American Football

3 New York Jets position groups that I’m not confident in for 2023


NFL: Chicago Bears at New York Jets
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets’ roster still needs some work in certain areas

The New York Jets enter the 2023 season with expectations as high as they’ve been any point in the last decade. Much like any team within a salary cap sport, the Jets have some position groups that are “stronger” and others that are a bit “weaker.” Within this article, I will identify three groups that I don’t feel particularly confident about for the upcoming season.

1. Linebackers

The Jets primary linebackers last season were C.J. Mosley, Quincy Williams, and Kwon Alexander. With those players leading the charge, the New York Jets linebackers were credited with allowing over 1000 passing yards and were generally considered a weak link for the Jets (at least in pass coverage). Of particular note is that Quincy Williams was among the worst coverage linebackers according to Pro Football Focus, with an 85% reception rate against and the 10th most yards allowed. Because of this Quincy was largely replaced on passing downs with Kwon Alexander, who has yet to be re-signed by the New York Jets or replaced by a player with a similar skillset. While it is possible that a recent draft pick (such as Jamien Sherwood) may be able to fill this role, it requires significant projection based on last season’s results, and may force the Jets to use Quincy Williams as a coverage linebacker on more plays. Taken together, this implies the linebackers may be a weakness that teams can exploit on passing plays, potentially hindering the 2023 success of the New York Jets.

2. Running backs

The shining star of the New York Jets running backs was rookie Breece Hall, who was well on his way to a Rookie of the Year candidacy before suffering an ACL injury in Week 7. While Breece Hall is expected to be ready by Week 1 of the 2023 season, data suggests his performance may be lessened in 2023 based on the typical recovery time line for running backs. Moreover, the Jets have not added any meaningful pieces to the running back group, which positions Breece Hall, Zonovan Knight, and Michael Carter to take the lion’s share of carries. Given the limitations of Knight (PFF grade of 52.2 as a receiver) and Carter (yards per carry of 3.5 in 2022) as well as the potential lesser quality of Breece Hall in 2023 due to his injury, this leaves the Jets without a high-floor projectable running back. While running backs have been deemed less valuable in recent years, this group still leaves much to be desired.

3. Wide receivers

The Jets wide receiving group is by no means “bad.” Their inclusion on this list is simply due to the lack of a true second “#1” wideout to complement Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson, which feels like a notable missed opportunity. Of note, the NFL has seen a trend towards having multiple “great” wideouts (ex. Miami Dolphins Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle and Philadelphia Eagles Devonta Smith and A.J. Brown), with this strategy showing significant success in recent years. While the Jets have a great wideout in Garrett Wilson, the arrival of wide receivers Allen Lazard (single-season high of 788 receiving yards) and Mecole Hardman (single season high of 693 receiving yards) and the return of wide receiver Corey Davis from injury (has not exceeded 540 yards in either of the last two seasons) hardly provide a second premier target for quarterback Aaron Rodgers to rely on. While the group has more than sufficient depth, it lacks high-end quality beyond Wilson which is a notable flaw of the roster. This flaw is particularly highlighted given the previously mentioned concerns around the running backs (and in turn the run game) and the expectation that the offense will be very pass-heavy to maximize the impact of Aaron Rodgers.

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