NY Jets fans have spoken
On Tuesday, I released a survey asking New York Jets fans to rate 67 notable members of the team’s roster on a scale of 0-to-10 based on how they expected each player to contribute in the 2021 season. A zero would represent no impact or league-worst performance, a five would represent about league-average-starter impact, and a 10 would represent All-Pro caliber impact.
The results give us a good sense of how the fanbase views the roster hierarchy as we head into training camp. Here are the scores for all 67 players included in the survey:
|27||Michael Carter II||CB||4.92|
|32||Greg Van Roten||G||4.52|
Let’s get into some of the most eye-popping takeaways from the list.
Mekhi Becton and Quinnen Williams have plenty of hype
Fans have mile-high expectations for Mekhi Becton and Quinnen Williams as they enter their second and third seasons, respectively. They were the only two players on the roster to earn a score above 9.0.
Over half of the voters (56%) rated Williams with a perfect 10. As optimistic as that may sound, it is not completely unrealistic. Williams was far more productive in his second season than many of the league’s current top-tier defensive tackles were. His ceiling is high enough to warrant the extraordinary amount of confidence that Jets fans have in him.
Becton was an above-average starter as a 21-year-old rookie despite constantly battling injuries and coming out of a college with a profile that suggested he would be the type of prospect who may need time to develop. He posted a 74.4 overall grade at Pro Football Focus, ranking at the 59th percentile among the 72 offensive tackles to play at least 400 snaps.
With another year of development and, hopefully, better durability, Becton has a chance to establish himself among the league’s best left tackles this year.
High expectations for the offensive rookies
Top-35 picks Alijah Vera-Tucker and Elijah Moore tied for sixth on the list with a score of 7.60, beating out established players like Corey Davis (7.59), John Franklin-Myers (6.96), Morgan Moses (6.89), and Jamison Crowder (6.47).
It seems that Jets fans have fully invested in the hype and are expecting to see Moore and Vera-Tucker light it up right away. Both are certainly capable of doing just that, but fans would probably be wise to temper their expectations a little bit. Few rookies – even near the top of the draft – are immediately great starters in the NFL.
For example, over the past 10 seasons, the 23 rookie wide receivers who were drafted between the 25th overall pick and the 40th overall pick (Moore was selected 34th overall) averaged just 484.4 total receiving yards in their first season. Only five of the 23 rookies (22%) hit the 800-yard mark.
Moore has the unique opportunity of entering a situation where he could be a featured target right away, so he will likely soar well beyond 484 yards, but nevertheless, the smartest thing to do for any rookie is to keep expectations as low as possible.
Expectations were tempered a tad more for Zach Wilson. He placed 12th with a score of 6.69, right between special teamers Braden Mann (6.87) and Thomas Hennessy (6.60).
I would probably score Wilson closer to a five – a league-average season is fantastic for a rookie quarterback – but I actually thought fans were going to rate Wilson far more exorbitantly. About 47% of voters scored him lower than a seven, so a good number of fans are keeping their expectations for Wilson at a relatively modest level.
Care to buy low on some La’Mical Perine stock?
Second-year running back La’Mical Perine ranked shockingly low for a homegrown offensive skill position player, placing 48th with a measly score of 3.16. He placed one spot behind Dan Feeney (3.24) and barely ahead of rookie cornerback Brandin Echols (3.12). About 29% of fans rated Perine with a score below three, and only 5% rated him with a score above five.
The running back room is spearheaded by Michael Carter, who ranked 17th with an optimistic score of 6.16. Carter is followed by Ty Johnson and Tevin Coleman, who ranked back-to-back at 28th and 29th with scores of 4.83 and 4.82, respectively.
As I have discussed quite often here at Jets X-Factor, Perine had an unimpressive rookie season in which he struggled as both a rusher and receiver. So, I can see why fans are low on him. He needs to show a lot of growth to earn a featured role in 2021.
The backup QB competition from hell
Taking the bottom two spots on the list are James Morgan (1.63) and Mike White (1.13), one of whom will be taking Zach Wilson’s place if the BYU legend ever misses any snaps (barring the addition of another QB; hey, Blake Bortles is available).
It’s impossible to blame fans for their lack of confidence in these two young passers. Why should fans believe in either of them?
Neither quarterback has thrown a regular-season pass in the NFL, and both were highly unimpressive the last time we saw them. White posted a 68.5 passer rating and threw one touchdown over 138 preseason pass attempts with the Cowboys from 2018-19. Morgan had the ninth-best NCAA passer rating in Conference USA during his final collegiate season.
If at least one of these two young players does not show that they have made big strides since they last played in 2019, the Jets would be out of their minds to not explore the quarterback market.
The underrated bunch
A few players stand out to me as underrated on this list.
Ronald Blair pops off the screen. He ranked 50th with a score of 3.04.
I think fans are overlooking Blair a little bit since he was added late in the offseason and they have not had as much time to learn about him. To me, Blair is more deserving of a five. He has a chance to play a key role for the Jets on rushing downs, where his excellent edge-setting ability will make an impact.
During the time they shared together in San Francisco, Robert Saleh once said of Blair, “If you like winning, you like Ronnie Blair.”
Sharrod Neasman – who ranks 61st with a score of 2.10 – suffers from the same effect. Neasman signed with the Jets on June 10, well after the initial free agency wave, so fans are not as familiar with him.
Neasman has proven to be a reliable backup safety, consistently performing like a league-average starting safety for the Falcons whenever they called upon him to replace an injured starter. Plus, he is capable of contributing everywhere on special teams.
There are a few other players I think should have ranked slightly higher, such as Javelin Guidry, Connor McGovern, Ty Johnson, and Kyle Phillips, but overall, I think Jets fans did a fairly respectable job with this leaderboard.
What stands out to you the most from the roster totem pole crafted by Jets fans?