The New York Jets enter the 2022 NFL season with more optimism than they have had in past years, as drastic improvements have been made to the roster. The Jets, who finished last in the AFC last year, had a very young roster and showed the ability to be competitive down the stretch, largely thanks to the improvement of Zach Wilson.
With many key players like Carl Lawson and Mekhi Becton returning from injury, as well as key additions in free agency and the NFL draft, the roster is definitely improved.
Below, we will break down each position group of the Jets. For most, they are unproven, so they have room to grow and be much better than they are right now.
QB: Zach Wilson, Joe Flacco, Mike White
Explanation: This is the most important position group for the Jets’ success right now. While Wilson improved, he was far from a positive for the Jets roster last year. Wilson was at the bottom half of the league in every QB statistic but did put together a stretch of positive performances toward the end of the year. Mike White and Joe Flacco both played well, for the most part, in relief last year, so they will be formidable backups. While the grade on Wilson and the rest of the room is low right now, if Wilson improves like many think he can, so will the grade.
RB: Michael Carter, Breece Hall, Tevin Coleman, Ty Johnson, La’Mical Perine
Explanation: While there was no clear workhorse back, this was already a position of strength for the Jets. Carter played very well throughout most of the season, while Coleman and Johnson also had some success. That said, they were missing the bell cow-type back who can eat touches, as Carter struggled to stay healthy doing so. Adding Breece Hall to this group in this offensive scheme with this OL has the potential to be a dangerous group.
WR: Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, Garrett Wilson, Braxton Berrios, Denzel Mims, Calvin Jackson, Tarik Black, Jeff Smith, Rodney Adams
Explanation: This is another group that will be vital to the success of the 2022 Jets. Last year, this group had some impressive stretches between Elijah Moore and Braxton Berrios, but could rarely stay healthy, as improvements needed to be made. On paper, if everyone is healthy, this looks like a deep group, with versatility and young playmakers in Moore and Wilson, not to mention, Corey Davis will be healthy to start the season. The grade is only low right now because they are unproven and have not shown the ability to stay healthy. That said, they can be one of the most exciting young units in the whole league if they perform to their potential, so the grade can rise as well.
TE: CJ Uzomah, Tyler Conklin, Jeremy Ruckert, Trevon Wesco, Nick Bawden, Kenny Yeboah, Lawrence Cager
Explanation: Finishing up the 2021 season, the Jets’ TE room was probably the worst in the entire league. Improving on it for their young QB and their offensive scheme, which is contingent on many 2 TE sets, was clearly a priority this offseason. While there is no star in this group, they are deep and will be able to make an immediate impact on the offense. This group features two former starters in CJ Uzomah and Tyler Conklin as well as third-round pick Jeremy Ruckert.
OL: Mekhi Becton, Alijah Vera-Tucker, Connor McGovern, Laken Tomlinson, George Fant, Dan Feeney, Conor McDermott, Chuma Edoga, Max Mitchell, Nate Herbig, Dru Samia, Derrick Kelly, Parker Ferguson,
Explanation: Despite injuries across the entire unit, the Jets still trotted out a solid group onto the field each week last year. Getting a healthy and in shape Mekhi Becton will be key for this group, as if he can improve upon his phenomenal rookie season, they will be firing on all cylinders. At the other tackle spot, George Fant is coming off a near pro-bowl season. On the interior, former first-rounder Alijah Vera-Tucker should continue to improve upon his already impressive skill set, with newly signed FA and Pro-Bowler Laken Tomlinson opposite him, and Connor McGovern snapping the ball. Large investments have been made in this group and they can be right up at the top 10 of the league at both run and pass blocking if they can stay healthy, but only time will tell.
DL: Jermaine Johnson, Carl Lawson, Bryce Huff, Jacob Martin, Hamilcar Rashed, Jonathan Marshall, Quinnen Willams, John Franklin-Myers, Sheldon Rankins, Vinny Curry, Solomon Thomas, Michael Clemons, Nate Sheppard
Explanation: This group had been the key to Jets’ defenses of the past and adding Lawson and the new scheme brought over by Robert Saleh should have only emphasized that. However, the 2021 season was quite the opposite as injuries and inconsistencies caused this group to struggle. However, after adding more depth and first-round pick Jermaine Johnson, as well as getting Lawson back, the DL group is talented and deep. It will be very hard to block any of the first four starters in Johnson, Franklin-Myers, Williams, and Lawson, and could be one of the more dominant groups, as a whole, in the AFC.
LB: CJ Mosely, Quincy Williams, Jamien Sherwood, Del’Shawn Phillips, Hamsah Nasirildeen, Marcell Harris,
Explanation: While the prior groups were more about injury and lack of experience, this group is more just about the absence of talent. While Mosely is a quality starter, regardless of his monster contract, there are few options to play opposite him, as the remainder of the LBs on the roster struggled in both the run and pass. This position was all but neglected throughout the offseason, so it will be interesting to see if the rest of the defense can make up for holes here, or if any of the younger options can rise up and perform.
CB: Sauce Gardner, Isaiah Dunn, DJ Reed, Bryce Hall, Brandin Echols, Javin White, Javelin Guidry, Michael Carter II, Rachad Wildgoose
Explanation: Last year’s group looked bleak but actually played surprisingly well, mostly thanks to Bryce Hall, who forced incompletions at a high rate. However, improving the group was still at the top of the offseason to-do list, as Joe Douglas and company spent money in free agency to get DJ Reed, then spent the 4th overall pick on Sauce Gardner. Between some combination of those three on the outside, with Michael Carter II and Javelin Guidry in the slot, the group has talent. The grade is a B- for now because most of those players are still relatively unproven, but the potential is all there.
S: LaMarcus Joyner, Jordan Whitehead, Jason Pinnock, Will Parks, Ashtyn Davis, Elijah Riley
Explanation: The departure of Marcus Maye was expected but still hurt this group. Ashtyn Davis struggled to take the leap in his second year that many hoped, so any growth from him would help. The Jets do get 2021 FA signing LaMarcus Joyner back from injury which should help, in addition to the free agent signing of Jordan Whitehead. If they stay healthy and the younger players can take a leap, then this group could turn out better than their current grade.