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…And now for a completely subjective ranking of the 12 best players currently on the New York Jets roster. For the purpose of this article, rankings were derived from a hybrid of the player’s historical NFL production and their projected impact in 2018. Due to this, nobody from the 2018 NFL Draft class is included. (Sorry, Sam Darnold but we fully expect you to be on this list at this time next year). Please send all your complaints (and praise!) to Twitter…
1 – Leonard Williams, Defensive End: Despite having a somewhat disappointing 2017 season. Williams has put together three quality seasons as an above average starter and is only 23 years old. He will benefit from the defensive line being built up around him through the 2018 NFL Draft and would eventually be greatly aided by a threat at edge rusher but at a minimum, you are getting one of the better 3-4 defensive ends in the NFL every week from Williams. The pressure is now on Williams to make the leap to being an All-Pro level player who lives up to the hype of being the consensus top player in the 2015 NFL Draft.
2 – Trumaine Johnson, Cornerback: The Jets biggest free agency acquisition, Johnson has spent multiple seasons functioning as the lead corner on one of the NFL’s best defenses. Johnson can be inconsistent at times but is a ballhawk who has the physical skill set to line up across the league’s top receivers. He will be the best corner the Jets have had on their roster since Darrelle Revis gave up on the sport halfway through the 2015 season.
3 – Robby Anderson, Wide Receiver: I expect some people to scoff at Anderson being this high but he made the sophomore leap after an already impressive rookie season and was unquestionably the team’s best offensive player in 2017. Despite playing with replacement level quarterbacks through two seasons, Anderson has consistently produced and in 2017 diversified his route tree and flexibility moving around the formation. If Anderson had been on a better team the past two years, he’d more regularly be discussed as one of the better young receivers in the NFL. Only six players 25 or younger (Anderson is currently 25) had more receiving yards than him last season. If he wasn’t stuck with Bryce Petty for 3.5 games last year, there is no way he doesn’t exceed 1,000 yards.
4 – Bilal Powell, Running Back: The Jets most consistent offensive playmaker over the past three years. Powell spearheaded their late season run in 2015, was second in the NFL among all backs with 100+ carries in 2016 in yards per carry and has always produced when given the appropriate opportunity. Over the past two seasons, he has only received 19 or more carries four times. In those four games his rushing totals were: 145 yards, 122 yards, 163 yards and 145 yards. Powell had the 16th highest elusive rating in the NFL via PFF and was 1st in the NFL in Breakaway Percentage. Of all backs with 175 carries or more, Powell ranked 9th in yards per carry at 4.3. Of all backs with 175 carries or more, Powell had the fourth most runs of 20 yards or longer. As it stands today, he still projects as their best overall running back in 2018.
5 – Quincy Enunwa, Wide Receiver: Yes, all he missed all of 2017 but with the expectation of him being fully back for training camp, Enunwa is still making the top five based on his 2015 and 2016 production. The key thing about Enunwa is his versatility. He can line up all over the formation, serve as a lead blocker, a H-Back, a slot receiver or a traditional split end, while being a beast after the catch. It will be very interesting to see how Jeremy Bates implements him throughout this offense.
6 – Marcus Maye, Safety: Less heralded than Jamal Adams but put together a better overall rookie season. Maye was the model of consistency on the back end, despite only being a second round pick and starting from day one. Maye forced three turnovers as a rookie and was steady against both the run and pass. Maye’s ceiling isn’t as high as Adams but as it stands today, he is a slightly better player.
7 – Jamal Adams, Safety: The Jets first round pick in 2017 had an encouraging rookie season, particularly when it came to demonstrating his versatility. Todd Bowles used Adams as a slot corner, weak side linebacker, strong safety and free safety among other things. Adams gave up his share of big plays without counterweighting them with enough big plays of his own but that ratio should improve in the coming seasons. He has the highest ceiling of any player on the defense but still needs to make strides to justify being the 6th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
8 – James Carpenter, Guard: The Jets most consistent offensive lineman over the past three years. Carpenter is coming off his worst season with the team but was in an less than ideal situation with revolving door Wesley Johnson next to him. There are some valid concerns about how Carpenter will fit into Rick Dennison’s blocking scheme based on his previous struggles in Seattle but his body of work here since 2015 suggests Carpenter should be a capable starter for the team in 2018.
9 – Avery Williamson, Linebacker: Signed this past offseason in free agency to replace Demario Davis at inside linebacker. Williamson is best known for his ability against the run and transitioned to a two down player down the stretch for the Titans in 2017. There is little doubt he will be solid on early downs for the Jets but the question of his overall value will come down to how frequently he needs to be replaced in passing situations.
10 – Steve McLendon – Nose Tackle: A traditional two down, run stuffer at nose tackle. After dealing with injuries in 2016, McLendon stabilized last season as one of the team’s top players on defense. This is probably his last season with the Jets but he should be good to give them 45-50% of their defensive snaps in 2018.
11 – Morris Claiborne – Cornerback: The team’s top cornerback in 2017, who is a quality starter when healthy…which is not all that often. Claiborne will be better served playing opposite Trumaine Johnson, rather than being the team’s lead cornerback. He struggled down the stretch in 2017 when he got banged up but looked the part of a first round corner during the team’s first seven games.
12 – Kelvin Beachum – Tackle: Beachum has been a quality starting tackle in two of the previous three seasons, one for Pittsburgh and one for the Jets with an ugly season in Jacksonville sandwiched in between. The Jets are hoping he can hold the fort for another season before they make a long term decision on how they want to handle the tackle position. Beachum provided good value on his contract for the Jets in 2017.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com