Frustrated and confused after seeing the NFL’s Top 100 player list? TOJ was as well. Due to that, we have decided to rank the current New York Jets on the roster from 50 all the way down to 1. Along the way, we will be classifying the players into the following five categories:
- Bottom of the Roster (strictly a depth and developmental player)
- Middle Class (Situational player, spot starter)
- Quality Starter (Capable starting player or very good role player)
- Red Chip (Swiping this term from Michael Lombardi, an above average stater/borderline Pro-Bowler)
- Blue Chip (Another swipe from Lombardi, an elite player at his position)
(STILL IN QUALITY STARTER CATEGORY)
19. Bryan Thomas, Outside Linebacker - Doesn’t necessarily fill up the stat sheet but does all the little things that are needed to make a defense succeed. Thomas sat out the bulk of last season with a torn Achilles and the Jets badly missed him, struggling to find an adequate replacement. He will return to his starting role in 2012 and even though he will primarily be a two-down player, should still be a major part of the Jets ability to defend the run.
18. Bart Scott, Inside Linebacker - Coming off a rough 2011 season, Scott has dropped weight and earned rave reviews from the coaching staff this off-season for his increased speed on the field. Despite remaining a two-down linebacker and having his replacement, Demario Davis, waiting in the wings, Scott is still capable of being a run stuffing linebacker and an emotional leader on defense.
17. Mike DeVito, Defensive End - A blue-collar 3-4 lineman who specializes in stopping the run. DeVito struggled with injuries last season and will likely see a decline in his playing time this year due to the selection of Quinton Coples and the Jets using more 4 man fronts. However, he remains a valuable part of the defensive line rotation and similar to Thomas and Scott will be key to the Jets run defense.
16. Tim Tebow, Quarterback - Who? Tebow will backup Mark Sanchez this season and be utilized in a variety of ways beyond that. If used properly, Tebow should add a dynamic dimension to the Jets offense and give them a valuable rushing weapon, particularly in short yardage situations. He remains limited as a passer but does have the arm to take advantage of defenses who stack the box against him.
15. Shonn Greene, Running Back - The Jets starting halfback, who has been one of the most discussed players on the roster this off-season. Greene has been very average the past two seasons but the Jets need him to be their primary go to back on a week to week basis if the Ground and Pound is going to work. He doesn’t need to be an elite back, because he doesn’t have the skill set to be, but the Jets need over 4 yards per carry and around 1,200 yards from him.
14. LaRon Landry, Safety - If healthy, Landry has the skill set to be a great in the box safety for Rex Ryan’s defense. However, his health remains a major question mark, so much so that the Jets are basically paying his contract out on a week to week basis.
13. Yeremiah Bell, Safety - The Jets recently added Bell as insurance for Landry and he has quickly impressed by picking up the defense and taking on a leadership role in the secondary. Bell is a natural strong safety but has more range than Eric Smith or LaRon Landy so could also see reps at the free safety position. I would not surprised if he makes a much larger impact than Landry in the secondary.
12. Calvin Pace, Outside Linebacker - Coming off a disappointing season where he struggled to get after the passer. Pace has been a good player since joining the team in 2008 but has never played to the level of his massive contract. Regardless he does a very good job at setting the edge and has the ability to get 7-9 sacks a season. He should benefit from the Jets trying more 4-3 and 46 looks this season. He is versatile enough to put his hand in the dirt and line up at defensive end along with his normal outside linebacker position.
11. Muhammad Wilkerson, Defensive End - This high on the list because of his potential. Wilkerson had a very good rookie season despite not having a full off-season to work with. The team is anticipating him making a huge leap in year two. From all reports, he has put together a terrific off-season and seems poised to meet his high expectations.
10. Mark Sanchez, Quarterback - One of the most unfairly criticized players in the NFL. Sanchez is far from a polished product or an elite quarterback but has demonstrated the ability to both win and perform successfully at this level. Tony Sparano’s offense should play more to his strengths than Brian Schottenheimer’s did and we anticipate a solid “bounce-back” year for Sanchez who did struggle down the stretch in 2011 but still finished with career highs in touchdowns, passing yards, completion percentage and quarterback rating.