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Key needs, underrated targets, and more: New York Jets free agency stats dump

ORCHARD PARK, NY - NOVEMBER 01: Joe Thuney #62 of the New England Patriots before a game against the Buffalo Bills at Bills Stadium on November 1, 2020 in Orchard Park, New York.
(Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)

An agglomeration of 20 important stats to keep in mind as the New York Jets get set for 2021 NFL free agency.

The Jets are badly in need of coverage ability at linebacker

Boosting the athleticism and coverage talent of the linebacker position must be a top priority for the New York Jets.

In 2020, the Jets allowed the most receiving yards (1,105) and receiving touchdowns (14) to the tight end position while also giving up the eighth-most receiving yards to running backs (673). None of the five linebackers to play a significant amount of snaps for the team (Neville Hewitt, Harvey Langi, Avery Williamson, Bryce Hager, Alec Ogletree) recorded a Pro Football Focus coverage grade that was at or above the league average for linebackers.

Alex Anzalone and Jarrad Davis are sneaky good linebacker targets

Anzalone, who will turn 27 in September, offers a good track record of coverage ability as a backup and sub-package player for the Saints. Playing 32.8 snaps per game in 2020, he ranked at the 79th percentile among linebackers in PFF’s coverage grade (69.1) and the 96th percentile in yards per cover snap allowed (0.50). Anzalone has allowed only 0.72 yards per cover snap throughout his career.

Davis will turn 27 in November. Like Anzalone, he’s coming off of a great season in coverage as a backup. Logging 23.5 snaps per game, Davis ranked at the 86th percentile among linebackers in PFF’s coverage grade (72.1) and the 68th percentile in yards per cover snap allowed (0.84). Be wary, however, as Davis struggled as a starter in 2019, posting a coverage grade of 30.0 and yielding 1.24 yards per cover snap. If teams believe he can sustain what he showed in 2020 going forward while maintaining the same sub-package role, he could be a tremendous value buy.

Should more people be talking about Marvin Jones?

Jones is coming off of a strong campaign in Detroit and hasn’t had an unproductive year since he missed the entire 2014 season, yet I never see any discussion about him as a good wide receiver target. Of course, the obvious reason for this is Jones’ age (he will turn 31 in three days), but he remains effective enough to where he should still be considered a quality weapon that would aid almost any team.

In 2020, Jones ranked 30th in the NFL (27th among WR) with 61.1 receiving yards per game. He also tied for 10th (8th among WR) with nine touchdown grabs.

Jones scored nine touchdowns in 2019 as well, which tied him for fourth in the league that season, and he racked up a similar average of 59.9 yards per game (40th). Prior to Matthew Stafford‘s injury, Jones was averaging 66.9 yards and was on pace for 12 touchdowns.

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When analyzing any player, you want to be sure that their efficiency matches up with the quality of their volume production. For Jones, this was the case in 2020. He ranked at the 58th percentile among wide receivers in yards per route run (1.58), the 65th percentile in routes run per conversion (11.9), the 70th percentile in PFF’s overall grade (73.6), and the 78th percentile in DVOA (+12.3%).

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