TOJ Roundtable – 2013-2014 Underrated New York Jets Edition

The TOJ Roundtable discusses what New York Jets are underrated heading into the 2013-2014 season

The Turn On The Jets Roundtable is back to debate issues surrounding the New York Jets. Make sure to give all of the writers a follow on Twitter and if there is a question you want to see us debate, leave it in the comment section!

What current New York Jets are the most underrated heading into the 2013-2014 season?

Joe Caporoso –  While I’m not sure he will be on the team next season, Leger Douzable had a quietly terrific season for the Jets as a situational defensive lineman. He was easy to lose in the shuffle of Damon Harrison-Muhammad WIlkerson-Sheldon Richardson dominance but Douzable made the most of limited snaps.

Despite lacking a head-turning set of physical skills, Bilal Powell has turned himself into a highly competent all-around NFL back. He reminds me a bit of Pierre Thomas of the New Orleans Saints, as a player who does everything well and can be used in any situation. Powell isn’t the “ideal” compliment to Chris Ivory because of his lack of top end speed but is more than capable and provides excellent depth.

Connor Rogers – Kenrick Ellis

Ellis excelled in his role as the backup nose tackle to Damon Harrison. While the former third round pick did not win the starting job over the former UDFA Harrison, he dominated when on the field.

Back up nose tackle is one of those positions that still sees the field for around 20% of the snaps to give the starter a breather. While Harrison is one of the better run stuffers in the league, Ellis also held his own against the run. In the long run, I see Ellis with a higher ceiling than Harrison because he has the potential to garner more pass rush. His strength when using the bull rush is impressive and will only continue to improve under coach Karl Dunbar.

Chris Ivory

Ivory garnered a lot of offseason hype after being brought in for a fourth round pick. After a hamstring injury and limited carries, the hype train derailed for quite some time. Ivory’s strong finish to the 2013 season was a beautiful site to watch. He finished in the top five in yards after contact and was tied with Adrian Peterson (who many consider the leagues best running back) in that category.

Ivory does not offer much in the passing game but his pass blocking dramatically improved throughout the year. He is the type of back that could dominate if given the ball 20-25 times a game, wearing out a defense.

Dalbin OsorioFor me, the one Jet I think of when I hear underrated is WR Jeremy Kerley. The former TCU Horned Frog has been the Jets most consistent WR the last two seasons and this has been with largely inconsistent QB play. Kerley caught 56 passes for 827 yards (numbers that trumped Mike Wallace’s contract year in Pittsburgh and Wes Welker’s final year in Miami) and his importance to rookie Geno Smith’s development was no more apparent than during the Jets’s 3 game losing streak as Kerley’s ability to pick up first downs and consistently catch the ball was sorely missed. Some people will tell you that Kerley’s barely better than Stephen Hill. Tell them they’re wrong. He’s the most underrated Jet and I fully expect him to put together a big year with improved weapons on the outside and improved play by 3Geno Smith.

TJ Rosenthal Bilal Powell may continue to be overlooked as a major component to those outside of Jets nation but we all know that his steady consistent work is so valuable over the long season. Powell maximizes the plays he is a part of and would be a solid compliment to a feature back in any NFL backfield.

Antonio Allen impressed us. He covers tight ends, and can ball hawk. Ed Reed’s signing lessened the impact of Allen late in 2013 but watch. This kid may have his coming out party in 2014. If Allen and Dee Milliner can both arrive in a big way next year with what is already up front, this defense will be vicious. 

Mike O’Connor -I’ve got a handful of Jets that I believe are going to be very underrated come the middle of this essential 2014 offseason.  I’ll go in order of how important their roles were on the Jets through 2013.

Austin Howard – The big man protecting the right edge of the line gets some love for breaking out of his undrafted free agent shell in 2012, but it seems a lot of general NFL fans haven’t realized how much more he is than that after his consistent 2013 year.  The right tackle is basically a blue chip kind of player at this rate.  His play on its own proved to be the best on a Jets’ offensive line that is still widely regarded as a good one overall around the league.  Also, the fact that each other lineman played inconsistent or simply bad at particular times of the season helps make his performance more impressive.

Antonio Allen-  As a big fan of his play and a large advocate for him to be the starter at free safety, of course I was one of the minority who was frustrated beyond belief upon the Ed Reed signing.  When Rex Ryan actually played Allen the majority of snaps over Reed and Jaiquawn Jarrett, he proved himself by being one of the Jets’ defense’s best players.  What’s most important about Allen’s impressive 2013 season was that he played a role in Rex Ryan’s scheme that I was actually worried about him playing.  His versatile role that had him featured at every position in the secondary was one that was far beyond the restrictions many placed on him coming out of South Carolina.  Yet, Allen took the role in stride and is doing things we all thought were outside of his skillset.  Seeing this makes it easy to be confident about him heading into next year.

Dee Milliner – If only the world could have all seen what kind of witch-craft Milliner used at the end of the season, than maybe this wouldn’t seem like such a bold take.  I think Dee is on pace for a big year in terms of growth in 2014.  He’s underrated because naturally, some will worry about him being the probable number one corner.  This is understandable, but he can’t possibly be worse than Antonio Cromartie was all of this year and the tape he put up from the last quarter of the season says otherwise, anyway.  I hate the pressure and needlessness for bold predictions, but I feel pretty confident saying Milliner will be visibly much better in 2014 and be an afterthought as a worry.

Josh Bush-  I’m still not sold on what Rex Ryan is doing in terms of strategy at the safety position, and I still think this defense improves drastically with a better fitting free safety. However, at the end of the day I think the Jets can do more than survive at both safety spots if Rex plays the right players.  Bush is another one of my favorites who helps prove this.  The guy is versatile in his skillset having played a lot of corner instead of strictly centerfield at Wake Forest, and he often played in goal line-contain coverages throughout this year.  It should be interesting to see where the Jets will use him and if they increase his role.  Regardless, I think his amount of talent has him grossly underrated, 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