We are back with another Turn On The Jets 12 Pack, with a New York Jets overrated and underrated edition. Make sure to check out our latest podcast and tune in this Wednesday when we are back on our normal day/time.
For the purpose of this article, a player’s “rating” is based off a combination of general fan perception and analysis of those covering the team. If you disagree on how somebody is categorized, let us hear about it in the comment section.
1. Underrated – Jeremy Kerley, WR – Recency bias and new faces at the position have made Kerley a forgotten man. He had a down 2014, hitting a mid-season slump he never picked himself out of. Kerley has always found ways to produce in less than ideal situations but last year left a few more plays on the field than usual and struggled to find targets alongside Percy Harvin in Marty Morhinweg’s offense. However, he should benefit from more three and four receiver looks this season and a system more friendly to his style of play. This categorization of Kerley from Bucky Brooks of NFL.com was an accurate representation of his potential:
The Jets have yet to fully tap into the skills of Jeremy Kerley, but the fifth-year pro could blossom as a slot machine in the team’s three- and four-receiver sets. Kerley is a dynamic playmaker with the ball in his hands. Given his quickness, burst and running skills, Kerley could see his role enhanced as the “go-to guy” on screens and quick routes from the slot. Also, Kerley could touch the ball on an assortment of gadget and misdirection plays, which are staples of Gailey’s offense.
The selection of Devin Smith will likely have a less than expected impact on Kerley due to how different both of their games are. There is no reason Kerley can’t be around the 50 catch mark and exceed 500 yards and remain a critical weapon on third downs.
3. Underrated – Nick Mangold, C – All these years later Mangold is still a top tier player at his position and on track for Hall of Fame consideration. If 2014 was any indication, there are no signs of him slowing him down as the anchor of the offensive line before his current contract expires (post 2017). Jets fans know Mangold is a great player but I’m not sure everybody recognizes how indispensable he is to the team upfront and what a luxury it is have the center position in a good place for the next few years despite him being selected way back in 2006.
4. Overrated – Quinton Coples, Edge – Somewhat similar to Davis, Coples has been having his break out year hyped for multiple off-seasons. The way he has been moved around combined with a handful injuries has slowed his development but it is fair to wonder exactly what his ceiling really is at this point. It shouldn’t be a default assumption that Coples can be a double digit sack player. He may have a ceiling of a few flash plays and stabilizing against the run to an extent. Coples may just be the second coming of Calvin Pace, which has value but isn’t going to make Jets fan stop wondering what could have been with Chandler Jones instead of Coples in the 2012 draft.
5. Underrated – Eric Decker, WR – Despite a lingering hamstring injury and poor quarterback play, Decker proved he can produce away from Peyton Manning in 2014. His production began to increase when Percy Harvin joined him in the line up and his running mate has now been upgraded to Brandon Marshall. It is not out of the question for Decker to surpass 1,000 yards in Chan Gailey’s offense as he is poised to take advantage of substantially more one on one match-ups. Decker’s route running and physicality remains underrated.
6. Overrated – Marcus Gilchrist, FS – Gilchrist has developed somewhat of an unwarranted reputation as an above average safety among Jets fans. This interview from our friends at Gang Green Nation does a good job of encapsulating many of his issues. This was a player who was a frequent liability in San Diego’s defense, particularly last season. He also brings a somewhat redundant skill set that many other Jets safeties currently have, meaning he struggles in coverage but is noted to be better against the run and in the box. Todd Bowles may have a specific idea of how he wants to use his skill set but there are plenty of valid questions about how much security he will bring to the back end. To be fair, the Jets only gave him a glorified one year contract so Gilchrist has plenty to prove in 2015.
7. Underrated – Antonio Allen, SS – Within a few short years, Allen was asked to move from being a college linebacker to a NFL corner, predominantly left on an island with top tier wide receivers. As you can imagine, things have not always gone smoothly. 2014 Antonio Allen was a disaster scene who had his confidence destroyed. 2013 Antonio Allen was an ascending player with intriguing versatility. Where is he going to settle this season? It is hard to say but writing him off as a bubble player may be premature as he is closer to playing major reps in different packages than not being a factor at all.
8. Overrated – Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB – Let’s be clear, Fitzpatrick was the best the Jets could do when it came to adding a veteran this off-season. He is better than Brian Hoyer, Matt Cassel and the rest of the veterans who shifted teams and also has the added benefit of familiarity with Chan Gailey’s offense. Fitzpatrick was competent last season but probably not as much as his numbers indicate and is now being flooded with the standard “back-up quarterback is the most popular guy in town” hype. There is a reason Houston traded him and he has been on three different teams the past three years. He is limited in many ways and highly turnover prone (yes, even though he went to Harvard this IS possible). One thing that is not overrated about Fitzpatrick? That beard…
9. Underrated – Muhamamd Wilkerson, DE – I said my piece on this here but just because Sheldon Richardson is a beast and Leonard Williams was a steal at #6 does not mean that Wilkerson is still not one of the best two way defensive lineman in the NFL. Even in a worse case scenario, Wilkerson is likely to be on the Jets this season and next season. Let’s hope there are many more years beyond that because he will have more All-Pro seasons on the way.
10. Overrated – Antonio Cromartie, CB – Nobody is happier to be on the Jets than Antonio Cromartie which understandably endears him to many. The past few years have been a bit of roller coaster for the Jets starting corner not named Revis. In 2012, he was a legitimate lead corner for the Jets defense. In 2013, he was awful. In 2014, he played a steady first half of the season but struggled down the stretch. What player are the Jets getting? It is equally likely that Cromartie has a solid year opposite Revis to him missing time or losing eventual reps on the outside to Dee Milliner, Dexter McDougle or Marcus Williams.
11. Underrated – Dee Milliner, CB – Dee Milliner doesn’t need to be cut and doesn’t need to be traded. Yes, any bust talk is premature. He was hurt and struggling as a rookie before finishing strong in the final four games of the season as the Defensive Rookie of the Month in December. Last year, he was never healthy. He was foolishly rushed back too early against Green Bay and asked to cover Jordy Nelson on one leg, continued to play at 70% and then had his season ended against Denver in week 6. He needs to fully get healthy in 2015, not be rushed back, get attached to the hips of Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie and be ready for more action then many likely expect. There are going to be plenty of situations with four corners on the field and Milliner can slide inside in certain packages, while also backing up Cromartie on the outside. Don’t write off his career yet.
12. Overrated – Zac Stacy, RB – The addition of a new, young running back who flashed as a rookie is understandably generating buzz. Yet, there are limitations to his game and overall it is hard to argue he is a better player than incumbents Chris Ivory or Bilal Powell, nevermind Stevan Ridley if he gets healthy. Stacy is likely going to need an injury or two in front of him to make a consistent, notable impact on the 2015 team.