Turn On The Jets 12 Pack – 2020 Rookie Expectations

Joe Caporoso with a Turn On The Jets 12 pack on expectations for the New York Jets 2020 rookie class…

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A quick overview of reasonable expectations for the New York Jets 2020 rookie class. For the sake of this article, let’s assume there is no rookie minicamp, an abbreviated training camp but the season does start at some point during September…

1 – Mekhi Becton: There is no reason Becton should not be the team’s opening day starter at left tackle. There will be bumps his rookie year, likely mostly in pass protection, but those bumps should be beneficial in the long term. Ideally, we are all leaving this season confident that Becton will be team’s cornerstone left tackle for *at least* the duration of his rookie contract and hopefully much longer.

2 – Denzel Mims: Due to the depth chart, Mims should be a day one starter in the Jets three wide set and has the talent to lead their outside receivers (Crowder is a heavy favorite to lead all receivers) in targets. Similar to Becton, there is going to be bumps as a rookie, as he adjusts to the physicality of NFL corners and a more comprehensive route tree. Regardless, if everything goes right development wise Mims could threaten for 1,000 yards in year two.

 3 – Ashtyn Davis: Davis should immediately plug in as a core special teams player and potentially a primary returner. Gregg Williams is also likely to immediately get him into the team’s sub defense and plenty of other personnel groupings. The internal plan is for Davis to be Jamal Adams’ long term running mate. Hopefully he is ready for that starting in 2021 and shows flashes of why the team believes he is capable of that, this season…

4 – Jabari Zuniga: A likely situational pass rusher as a rookie, who could step into a larger role in 2021 when both Henry Anderson and Jordan Jenkins are probably gone. There are only so many reps to go around in the front seven so I have tempered expectations on him making much of an impact on the 2020 defense. Hopefully he has a somewhat similar season to what Lorenzo Mauldin did in 2015 for the Jets but then builds on it in year two, unlike Mauldin…

5 – La’Mical Perine: The addition of Frank Gore is likely to substantially limit the amount of action and touches Perine sees as a rookie, unless there is an injury. The running back room is likely to be very different in 2021 so Perine’s goal for the year is to flash enough for the team to be confident in him being RB2 in 2021…

6 – James Morgan: The Jets aren’t going to risk putting a 4th round pick on the practice squad but also likely aren’t going to risk a rookie 4th round pick being the backup QB…meaning they are carrying three quarterbacks on the 53 msn roster this year, not ideal. Hopefully Morgan is strong enough in the preseason and in practice to ultimately be the backup in 2021.

7 – Cameron Clark: A player much more likely to contribute in 2021 than 2020, where he may spend most of the season on the game day inactive list. Clark is an intriguing, high upside day three pick and if he is competing to start in 2021…that is a big win for the Jets.

8 – Bryce Hall: The Blessaun Austin playbook would work well. Hall can recover in the early part of the year and then get reps down the stretch while setting himself up to be a 2021 starter…that is the best case scenario. The Jets aren’t banking on much from him this season and have added veteran insurance with Pierre Desir and Quincy Wilson along with bringing Arthur Maulet back

9 – Braden Mann: Punter…THE Punter.

10 – Quincy Wilson: Desir, Austin and Brian Poole are the likely 2020 starters. Wilson will be competing with Maulet, Hall (if back from injury) and Nate Hariston for a primary backup role.

11 – UDFA Class: Lawrence Cager and George Campbell both have better than usual shots to stick because of the wide receiver depth chart. Bryce Huff is another name to keep an eye on at edge rusher.

12 – Overall: I maintain that 2020 is more of an evaluation year for the Jets (massive amounts of one year contracts, fliers on players with intriguing athletic profiles but injury question marks, unpopular coaching staff on hot seat) while in 2021 they’ll be gearing up more to be competitive. With that said, look for Becton and Mims to be starters on offense from day one and Davis to have a large role across both defense and special teams from day one as well…

 

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the EVP of Content at Whistle Sports