From Carl Lawson to Corey Davis, here is one skill to improve for each of the New York Jets’ top 2021 free-agent acquisitions.
Tevin Coleman: Short-yardage rushing
Tevin Coleman‘s game has always been built around the big play. He has gained 37.1% of his career rushing yards on runs that went for 15+ yards, which is way above the norm (the 2020 league average for RBs was 24.4%).
Coleman struggles with consistently picking up solid gains, especially in short-yardage situations. Coleman has converted 16 of 32 career rush attempts on third or fourth down with two or fewer yards to go. That’s a 50.0% rate, well below the NFL average since 2015 (68.7%).
Tyler Kroft: Drops
Tyler Kroft is a decent pass catcher who can provide some impactful catches every once in a while. Since 2017, he has caught 11 touchdowns in 42 games (4.5 per 17 games) and recorded a first down or touchdown on 40.8% of his targets.
However, Kroft is somewhat drop-prone. He has nine drops and 85 receptions in his career, giving him a 9.6% drop rate. The 2020 NFL average for tight ends was 6.2%.
Keelan Cole: Elusiveness
Keelan Cole makes most of his impact through air yardage, rarely providing much bonus yardage after the catch. He has forced nine missed tackles over 159 career receptions, an average of 0.057 per reception. That mark is barely more than half of the 2020 NFL average for wide receivers (0.111).
Corey Davis: Screen game
While Corey Davis provides solid elusiveness after the catch when he secures the ball downfield (his broken tackle and YAC numbers tend to be slightly above average), he has not been very good when fed the ball on designed touches. Over 20 targets on screen passes in his career, Davis has produced only 81 yards (4.1 per target) and two first downs (10.0% rate).
Dan Feeney: Overall pass protection
Dan Feeney somehow held on to a starting role for three 57 consecutive games with the Chargers beginning in his 2017 rookie season despite always being a massive liability. He allowed the most pressures among guards in 2018 (46), the third-most pressures among guards in 2019 (43), and the most pressures among centers in 2020 (33).
Sheldon Rankins: Run stopping
Sheldon Rankins is a good pass rusher with the potential to be great in that phase when he is at his best, but he has never been a notable run defender. He has picked up a run stop on 5.6% of his career snaps against the run. The 2020 average for interior defensive linemen was 6.5%.
Lamarcus Joyner: Versatility
Lamarcus Joyner had an outstanding two-year run as the Rams’ free safety from 2017-18. Over that span, he allowed 5.3 yards per target and a 48.7 passer rating on throws in his direction.
Joyner ranked as PFF’s second-best overall safety in 2017 and ranked at the position’s 67th percentile in terms of overall grade in 2018. For his career, he has earned an overall PFF grade of 91.0 when lined up at free safety.
When lining up anywhere besides free safety, Joyner has produced at a mediocre level. Joyner’s overall PFF grades of 61.3 as a slot corner and 51.0 in the box are underwhelming.
Joyner allowed a passer rating of 100.9 over his two years with the Raiders from 2019-20, playing primarily slot cornerback over that span.
Sharrod Neasman has produced at an atrocious level when asked to cover the slot, allowing four touchdowns and 106 yards over only 70 cover snaps and 12 targets in the slot. He has given up 1.51 yards per cover snap and a 134.0 passer rating as a slot defender.
On the plus side, Neasman has been really good when asked to play any other role in coverage. When dropping into coverage from a position other than the slot, Neasman has given up zero touchdowns and 155 yards over 414 cover snaps and 25 targets (0.37 yards per cover snap and 84.6 passer rating).
When you turn on the film, Neasman appears to be surprisingly apt in coverage at a variety of roles. He is more than just a special teams piece – he is a quality backup defensive back for the Jets.
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Vinny Curry: Splashy plays
Vinny Curry has always been a highly efficient situational pass rusher and remains a stud in that area. He just isn’t a guy who makes highlight-reel plays.
Over 128 career regular season and playoff games across nine seasons, Curry has five forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, two pass deflections, and zero interceptions. Four of those forced fumbles came in 2014, so he only has one over the past six seasons.
Ronald Blair: Pressure production
Ronald Blair earns his keep in the run game. As a pass rusher, he has not done much in his NFL career. His career pressure rate of 8.2% is subpar (2020 EDGE average: 9.7%).
Blair was making some minor progress in his third and fourth seasons before missing the entire 2020 season. He posted a pressure rate of 9.1% from 2018-19.
It was over a small sample size of only 112 pass-rush snaps, but in 2019, Blair earned a PFF pass-rush grade of 70.5 that ranked at the 69th percentile among qualified edge defenders.
Jarrad Davis: Tackling
Jarrad Davis is a missed tackle machine. He has a career tackle-to-missed tackle ratio of 5.3-to-1, significantly worse than the 2020 LB average of 8.3-to-1.
Davis had a career-worst ratio of 4.3-to-1 in 2020, which ranked third-worst among qualified linebackers. He failed to tackle at a league-average level in any of his four seasons as a Lion and missed at least 10 tackles in each season.
Carl Lawson: Penalties
Carl Lawson has committed 19 penalties over 1,882 defensive snaps in his career. That’s an average of 10.0 penalties per 1,000 snaps, which is extremely high. It’s more than double the 2020 EDGE average of 4.5.
In 2020, Lawson tied for 10th among edge defenders with six penalties despite ranking 27th in snaps (723). The previous year, he tied for 36th with four penalties while ranking 76th with 457 snaps.
Fortunately for Lawson, more than half of his flags have been pre-snap penalties, which are less detrimental than post-snap penalties. Of the 19 penalties against Lawson, six were Offsides penalties and four were Neutral Zone Infraction penalties.
Lawson has been knocked with four Roughing The Passer penalties in his career, but none of them came in 2020. He had only one in 2019. Three came within his first two seasons.
In 2020, Lawson was called for three Offsides penalties, one Neutral Zone Infraction penalty, one Illegal Use Of Hands penalty, and one Unnecessary Roughness penalty.