Despite having one of the weaker rosters currently in the NFL, the New York Jets still have some talent towards the top of their team. For today’s 12 Pack, we are going to rank the top of the team’s roster based on a combination of 2012 performance and a projection for 2013 performance. Leave your comments below or send them over on Twitter or Facebook. On to the 12 pack -
1 – Darrelle Revis – Cornerback - It doesn’t matter that Revis missed 14 games last year, he is still the best cornerback in football when healthy and easily the top player on the New York Jets roster. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem likely he will be on the 2013 team. Considering the type of athlete he is and modern medical technology, it is fair to assume Revis will be comparable to the player he always was upon returning from injury. 2013 Projection – Traded to Tampa Bay – 40 tackles, 4 INTs, 15 passes defensed, Pro-Bowl, 2nd Team All-Pro
2 – Muhammad Wilkerson – Defensive End - Wilkerson had a terrific sophomore season for the Jets and probably deserved some off-season accolades. His numbers are never staggering because of the Jets 3-4 system and the constant double-teams he sees, yet if the Jets improve their play at NT and OLB his numbers will continue to improve. Regardless of what the stat sheet shows, Wilkerson was dominant in many games last season and is on the cusp of being an elite defensive lineman in the NFL. 2013 Projection – 76 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 6 TFLs, 4 FFs, Pro-Bowl, 2nd Team All-Pro
3 – D’Brickashaw Ferguson – Left Tackle - After a down 2011, Ferguson bounced back to have a very strong 2012 season. He remains one of the premier left tackles in football and is still in the middle of his prime. If the Jets can find a competent blocking tight end in the draft or free agency along with get better pocket presence out of their quarterbacks, it should only help him out next year. 2013 Projection – Start 16 games, remain consistent, solid left tackle, Pro-Bowl alternate
4 – Antonio Cromartie – Cornerback - Cromartie played the best football of his New York Jets career last season in the absence of Darrelle Revis and he is likely to be playing in the absence of Revis again in 2013. Cromartie’s game is very reliant on his unique athleticism, which shouldn’t begin diminishing until a couple of years from now. Rex Ryan will continue to let him man up on the outside and he should have another very good season on the way. 2013 Projection – 36 tackles, 3 INTs, 15 passes defensed, Pro-Bowl
5 – Nick Mangold – Center - Mangold has been a little banged up the past two seasons and has had his play decline slightly from his All-Pro work in 2009-2011. The Jets could have some instability in at Guard in 2013 unless they make another addition in the Draft or free agency. Hopefully a healthy Mangold and a strong season from Willie Colon alongside him will help Mangold return to form from a few years back. 2013 Projection – Start 16 games, consistent, solid season. Pro-Bowl alternate
6 – Quinton Coples – Defensive End - Coples had a very encouraging rookie campaign, showing the immense physical ability the Jets drafted him for. He finished the season particularly strong and will move from a rotational player to being a full-time starter in 2013. Similar to Wilkerson, if the Jets can get better play at NT and OLB, his numbers will see an increase due to a decline of double teams on him. 2013 Projection – 54 tackles, 9.5 sacks, 5 TFLs, 2 FFs
7 – Santonio Holmes – Wide Receiver - Outside of his week 3 explosion against Miami last year, all we have seen from Holmes since the end of 2010 is inconsistency and injuries. If healthy and focused, he is the Jets most talented playmaker on offense by a wide margin. The Jets badly need him to regain his 2010 form to help improve their offensive production. 2013 Projection – 60 catches, 835 yards, 5 touchdowns
8 – David Harris – Linebacker - Coming off the worst season of his NFL career, Harris is one of the most overpaid players in football…just like the player right above him on this list. A somewhat plodding 2-down linebacker, Harris struggled with missed tackles last season and couldn’t bring the support in the run game to compensate for his deficiencies in pass coverage. Hopefully, he will revert back to his level of play from previous seasons under Rex Ryan or this could be his last year in New York. 2013 Projection – 95 tackles, 4 sacks, 3 TFLs, 1 INT, 1 FF
9 – Jeremy Kerley – Wide Receiver - Coming off a career year, Kerley is a shifty slot receiver who is a more complete player than people give him credit for. He deserves the majority of the reps opposite Santonio Holmes at wide receiver, despite them having somewhat similar styles of play. There is no reason for Stephen Hill to play ahead of him until he improves his route running and ability to catch the football. Kerley is one of the Jets few playmakers on offense, who has the ability to make something out of nothing. 2013 Projection – 50 catches, 800 yards, 3 touchdowns
10 – Willie Colon – Guard - Keeping in mind how good he has been at times at tackle, his positive flashes at Guard last year and the chip on his shoulder he should have this season, Colon comes in at #10. If he is healthy, Colon should be a nice upgrade over Matt Slauson as he immensely more physically talented than him. The Jets got a productive season out of LaRon Landry in 2012 on a 1 year “show me” contract, hopefully they could do the same with Colon.
11 – Mike Goodson – Running Back - Another new addition who has high upside if he can stay healthy. Goodson averaged 6.3 yards per carry in limited work last season and had 4 plays of over 35 yards from scrimmage. The Jets haven’t had that type of home run ability at running back in a long time. Goodson is currently the Jets most talented back and if he can stay on the field, should be the primary ballcarrier unless the the team drafts a running back in the first two rounds.
12 – Austin Howard – Right Tackle - Gradually improved as the season went on and should be a good fit in Marty Mornhinweg’s offense. He has good athleticism and was a very good run blocker in 2012. His pass protection still has a ways to go but Morhinweg and a competent blocking tight end should help cover for his limitations in that area.
Also received consideration – Kenrick Ellis, Antwan Barnes, Bilal Powell, Kyle Wilson