We have reached the point of the offseason where it is just time for some damn football. Here at TOJ, we pride ourselves on digging deep with our analysis but sometimes you just need to break it down in a concise, quick hitting manner. Here are the current 24 best players on the Jets defense and their expectations for 2016. Check back next week for the offensive breakdown…
1. Muhammad Wilkerson – One of the best 3-4 defensive ends in the NFL. The Jets aren’t giving him a long term deal. This is probably his last year in New York. Rehabbing a broken leg.2. Darrelle Revis – Played up to his Hall of Fame standard for the overwhelming majority of last year but a few tough games have many down on how his game will age. Still one of the best defensive backs in the NFL.
3. Sheldon Richardson – The Jets most talented defensive lineman. Likely has a pending suspension. The experiment with him at outside linebacker needs to be buried, forever.
4. David Harris – Still an above average inside linebacker all these years later. Looked rejuvenated in Todd Bowles defense last season. Great against run, sniffing out screens and blitzing. Struggles in space.
5. Calvin Pryor – Looked the part of a first round pick in Todd Bowles defense. If he reaches his potential, should be in Pro Bowl discussions in 2016. A demon in the box and a little better in coverage than given credit for.6. Buster Skrine – The Jets second best overall corner right now, who fits in as their starting slot. He started fast in 2015 but faded a bit down the stretch as he began compiling injuries.
7. Leonard Williams – Quietly had an excellent rookie year and will ease the pain of eventually losing Wilkerson. The Jets will be looking for his pass rush to take the next step in year two.
8. Marcus Gilchrist – Bounced back from an ugly 2014 in San Diego to put together a better than expected season for the Jets. A competent starting free safety, who has the versatility necessary for Bowles’ defense.
9. Marcus Williams – Likely the other outside corner besides Darrelle Revis in the Jets base nickel. Playmaker and ballhawk who needs to show he can stay healthy and consistent for 16 games.10. Lorenzo Mauldin – The Jets are counting on a huge second year leap. Mauldin was good as a situational pass rusher in 2015 but needs to show he can be an every down player.
11. Darron Lee – Rookie “moneybacker” chess piece for Bowles to utilize on the Jets second level. Will be put in position to make plays, similar to Pryor last year.
12. Erin Henderson – Stable running mate for David Harris in Jets base 3-4. Despite Lee selection, will have active, consistent role in the defense.
13. Steve McLendon – New starting nose tackle. Should be about a 45-50% of the snaps player. Competent, consistent veteran.
14. Jarvis Jenkins – The new Leger Douzable, who adds necessary depth to the defensive line and security if Richardson is suspended.
15. Jordan Jenkins – A 3rd round pick who is going to walk into immediate playing time at outside linebacker. Hopefully the new Calvin Pace.
16. Bruce Carter – Quality veteran depth. Should be useful on passing downs and on special teams.
17. Rontez Miles – Third safety, who showed he can be reliable backup last season.
18. Mike Catapano – Flashed as a situational edge rusher in 2015. Should stick on the roster as a depth player.
19. Deon Simon – Sleeper to watch at nose tackle. Could be taking McLendon’s reps by season end.
20. Dee Milliner – Final shot to make an impact in New York. The talent is there but can he stay healthy?
21. Trevor Reilly – In a battle to stick on the roster. Needs to show he can make some type of impact on the edge and distinguish himself at specials.
22. Daryl Morris – Veteran minimum FA signing. Jets are looking for him to primarily make impact on special teams.
23. Dion Bailey – Starts out behind Miles as the top backup to Pryor and Gilchrist. Built to be in the box player.
24. Dexter McDougle – Final chance to make impact as a backup/situational corner.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com