If you opened this article thinking the Jets were heavy favorites to win the Super Bowl or AFC this season, you should probably give your head a shake. However, with that said, this team could surprise the masses. Regardless of newly acquired Josh McCown’s long-term or even short-term status with the club, the foundation of this group has changed dramatically.
With Brandon Marshall, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith all gone, the offensive rebuild can finally get underway. Based on last year’s performance, it looks like Matt Forte and Bilal Powell have the ground game covered. Meanwhile, young standouts Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson will be led by Erik Decker and newly acquired Quinton Patton at wide receiver – giving the team one of the most potential packed wide out corps in the conference.
On defense, the situation is a little different, but still inspiring for future years. With problem plagued Darrelle Revis now out of the secondary, the team finally has some money to play with and young guns on the way up. NFL oddsmaker TopBet posted the Jets near the bottom (+8000) of the odds to win the 2018 AFC Championship. As mentioned though, a surprise could be in the cards and it could be thanks in large part to their underrated defense.
Replacing the Revis Island, which ultimately became Revis City, Street and cul-de-sac, will be former Dallas Cowboy Morris Claiborne. Mo signed with the team this offseason and the 27-year old has a leader-like track record, helping the Cowboys D rank atop the league in numerous categories for the past few seasons.
David Harris and now-sophomore sensation Darron Lee will handle the inside at LB, while veterans Muhammed Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and former 2014 first rounder Leonard Williams will cover the line.
A little insurance could be helpful on the D-line mind you, but they’re still sitting pretty heading into the opening weeks. With that said, the only real question mark is at quarterback.
While Josh McCown does bring a nice veteran comfortability to the pocket, he’s a safety net player. He’ll be 38 by the time the season starts and his track record doesn’t exactly breathe excellence. However, much like Fitzpatrick circa 2015, he is a nice fall back should a younger arm struggle.
For this, we turn to the draft. With a rookie crop stocked full of offensive and defensive line help, quarterbacks may begin to fall. We expect the NYJ at number six will have the pick of the litter with the Browns, Niners, Bears, Jags and Titans likely looking to fill other positions. Mitch Trubisky out of North Carolina is high on most mock draft boards, but Clemson national champion Deshaun Watson could be a nice fit too.
The odds don’t exactly point in the Jets favor for a Super Bowl, AFC Championship or even playoff appearance this season. The Pats have geared up, the Bills have made a few nice pickups and the Dolphins look primed to contend for the AFC East. Watch for a few head turns this season from the New Yorkers, but the major competition, well that comes next season in 2018-19.
It’ll be a long and grueling rebuild year, but the silver lining is that it should also be action packed with excitement and close games; two things that seemed extremely distant last season. While it may not be a banner year, either way you slice it, the future looks bright for the green and white.