Ranking the New York Jets roster in 2021
With the New York Jets‘ 2021 season in the books, it’s time to give the roster a thorough scan to identify who the team’s long-term pieces are and who needs to go.
I decided to rank every key contributor on the team in the 2021 season from best to worst. This ranking includes 21 defensive players who logged at least 200 snaps and 24 offensive players who logged at least 100 snaps – 45 players in total.
Let’s do it.
45. Denzel Mims, WR
Denzel Mims may have been the worst wide receiver in football this year. He had the same number of penalties as first-down receptions (5) across 11 appearances.
Mims finished the season with eight catches on 23 targets for 133 yards and no touchdowns. His 34.8% catch rate ranked third-worst out of the 271 NFL players who were targeted at least 20 times.
Over his final five games of the year, Mims had a golden opportunity to produce due to injuries at the wide receiver position, getting 133 snaps (26.6 per game), but he caught only 1-of-9 targets for 4 yards.
44. Conor McDermott, OT
Conor McDermott recorded two starts at left tackle in relief of George Fant and coughed up two sacks in each of them.
43. Jarrad Davis, LB
Jarrad Davis had the second-worst overall grade at Pro Football Focus among qualified linebackers with a dismal mark of 28.6. He missed tackles, took poor angles against the run, and was exposed in coverage.
42. Sharrod Neasman, S
Sharrod Neasman played major reps for the Jets at safety in Weeks 4 and 5 against the Titans and Falcons, struggling mightily to finish tackles against the run.
41. Chuma Edoga, OT
Chuma Edoga had two extended relief appearances at left tackle – Week 8 against the Bengals and Week 17 against the Buccaneers. Edoga held up respectably well against Cincinnati but was poor against Tampa Bay.
40. Greg Van Roten, G
Greg Van Roten started at right guard over the Jets’ first nine games before being benched. At the time of his benching, Van Roten was leading all right guards with 32 pressures allowed.
39. Shaq Lawson, EDGE
Shaq Lawson recorded a pressure on only 5.9% of his pass-rush snaps, ranking third-worst among qualified edge rushers. He had only 17 pressures on 288 pass-rush snaps across 14 games.
38. Ronald Blair, EDGE
Ronald Blair had some moments against the run but he was an even more woeful pass rusher than Lawson, recording nine pressures on 175 pass-rush snaps (5.1% rate).
37. Nathan Shepherd, DT
Nathan Shepherd tied for fourth among defensive tackles with six penalties despite ranking 72nd in snaps played (495). He was a brutal run defender, consistently getting plowed off the line of scrimmage. His pass-rushing was decent at times.
36. Jeff Smith, WR
Jeff Smith caught 8-of-17 targets for 113 yards in 12 games. He had two drops over his small sample of targets.
35. Ryan Griffin, TE
Ryan Griffin was a liability in pass protection as he tied for third among tight ends with eight pressures allowed. As a receiver, Griffin caught 27 of 42 targets for 261 yards and two touchdowns in 14 games. He had three drops and a fumble.
34. Ashtyn Davis, S
Ashtyn Davis was able to muster up some quiet games (in a good way) after an abysmal start but still provided more bad than good over the course of the year. With clear issues as a tackler, run defender, man-coverage defender, and zone-coverage defender, it’s hard to identify what exactly Davis does well right now.
Davis allowed 20-of-25 passing for 286 yards and three touchdowns in coverage, and he also missed nine tackles. On the positive side, he forced three fumbles and snagged two interceptions.
33. Kyle Phillips, EDGE
Kyle Phillips has never been a good pass rusher and that continued this year with a 5.8% pressure rate, but his ability to set the edge against the run was a welcome boost for a sputtering Jets run defense.
32. Tyler Kroft, TE
Tyler Kroft’s first season with the Jets was mired by injuries as he played only nine games. When on the field, he was disappointing. Kroft posted fairly league-average numbers as a pass protector and run blocker, but that is well below the high blocking standards he had set over his career to date.
As a receiver, Kroft caught 16 of 25 targets for 173 yards and one touchdown but had four drops and a fumble. His 20.0% drop rate was the highest in the league among tight ends with at least 20 targets.
31. Ty Johnson, RB
Ty Johnson struggles mightily with the fundamental aspects of playing running back. He led the position in drops (9) and tied for fifth in pressures allowed as a pass-blocker (8). He also had two fumbles.
Johnson provided a spark in both phases at times. In 16 games, he rushed 61 times for 238 yards and two touchdowns while catching 34 of 55 targets for 373 yards and two touchdowns, racking up 610 yards and four touchdowns in total.
30. Elijah Riley, S
Elijah Riley was tossed into the fray at safety over the second half of the season and showed some powerful hitting ability in the box, but he had some woes in coverage, including a blunder near the end of the Jets’ Week 17 game against Tampa Bay that cost them a win.
Overall, Riley cooled off significantly following a great first couple of starts.
29. Javelin Guidry, CB
Javelin Guidry played both slot and outside cornerback this year as the Jets’ primary backup corner. In some games, he was absolutely shredded, but in others, he held up well. Guidry finished the season allowing 28 catches on 39 targets for 328 yards and two touchdowns.
28. Trevon Wesco, TE
Trevon Wesco blocked nicely for the Jets, playing some fullback and some tight end. His 69.8 run-blocking grade at PFF ranked 19th out of 85 qualified tight ends.
27. Dan Feeney, C/G
Dan Feeney was thrown into the mix to play some guard and center over the Jets’ final three games. His pass protection was shaky and his snap accuracy at center was erratic (to put it nicely), but he had some outstanding moments as a run blocker, playing a big role in the Jets’ rushing success from Weeks 16-17.
26. Jason Pinnock, CB/S
Jason Pinnock was picked apart over a very small sample of relief snaps at cornerback earlier in the season, but over the final three weeks, he played a big role at safety and held up fairly well.
Pinnock made some mistakes that could be seen on the All-22 film (as broken down by Blewett’s Blitz) but were not capitalized upon by the opponent, leading fans to miss them when watching the television broadcast, but his overall production over three games at safety was still good nonetheless: no missed tackles and only two catches allowed for 15 yards.
25. Sheldon Rankins, DT
Sheldon Rankins provided a splashy play once in a while but his overall consistency was poor. He was one of the league’s worst-graded run defenders at defensive tackle and posted a career-low pressure rate of 5.8%, well below the positional average of 7.1% and his previous career average of 8.7%.
24. Brandin Echols, CB
Brandin Echols flashed talent with two interceptions (including one pick-six) and some hard hits, but he ultimately struggled, earning a PFF coverage grade of 48.0 that ranked 84th out of 92 qualified cornerbacks.
Echols allowed 47 of 73 targets in his direction to be completed for 600 yards and a touchdown. The total of 600 yards ranked 24th-most among cornerbacks even though Echols only ranked 59th in coverage snaps played (461).
23. Michael Carter II, CB
Michael Carter II had an up-and-down season in the slot, allowing 60 catches on 79 targets for 595 yards and one touchdown. While Carter II rarely had games or stretches in which he was terrible, he began giving up chunk gains on a very consistent basis starting in Week 4 after a red-hot start.
22. Foley Fatukasi, DT
Foley Fatukasi did not appear to be a great fit in the Jets’ 4-3 defense as his run-stopping impact took a nosedive. After posting an 86.2 run-defense grade at PFF in 2020, which ranked second-best among qualified defensive tackles, Fatukasi’s run-defense grade dropped to 57.3 in 2021, ranking 36th out of 71.
21. Keelan Cole, WR
Keelan Cole caught 28 of 51 targets for 449 yards and one touchdown in 15 games. He had a couple of games in which he made one or two enormous plays, but overall, he was not as consistently reliable as the team needed him to be with so many injuries at the wide receiver position.
20. Quincy Williams, LB
Quincy Williams consistently recorded highlight-reel plays for the Jets throughout the season but those came at a price. His all-out mentality led to the occasional home run, but for every one of those, there were a lot of strikeouts. Williams was at fault for many of the productive runs and screens that plagued the Jets’ defense this year.
Every defense in the NFL has a role for a tremendous athlete with a knack for playmaking like Williams, but there’s a certain level of fundamental soundness that is needed to be an every-down starting linebacker in this league. Williams does not have it in my opinion.
19. Marcus Maye, S
Marcus Maye was having a disappointing season prior to his season-ending Achilles injury. In only six games, he set a career-high with 240 yards allowed in coverage. He was already halfway to tying his career-high in missed tackles, with six.
Nevertheless, Maye was still a decent starter. The drop-off between him and the backups who took his place was blatantly noticeable.
18. Bryce Huff, EDGE
Bryce Huff missed seven games but put some impressive pass-rush reps on tape when healthy as his PFF pass-rush grade of 70.9 ranked 41st out of 127 qualified edge rushers and his 17.0% pass-rush win rate ranked 21st.
17. Tevin Coleman, RB
Tevin Coleman was a nice spark in the Jets’ committee backfield, rushing for 356 yards on 84 carries (4.2 yards per carry). He also did a nice job fundamentally, recording zero fumbles, one drop, and two allowed pressures (on 23 pass-blocking snaps).
16. Mike White, QB
Mike White had very rough games against the Patriots (in relief of Zach Wilson) and Bills (as a starter), but his historic start against the Bengals warrants giving him a high placement. Most NFL teams would love it if their backup quarterback threw for 405 yards and three touchdowns over two games, let alone one.
15. Jamison Crowder, WR
Jamison Crowder caught 51 of 71 targets for 447 yards and two touchdowns over 12 games. Crowder was not quite as explosive as he was over his first two years with the Jets, but he was a reliable safety blanket underneath.
14. Morgan Moses, OT
Morgan Moses created a lot of rushing yardage for the Jets but had a tough time keeping the edge clean in pass protection. He allowed 49 pressures, ranking as the fourth-most among right tackles.
13. Zach Wilson, QB
This feels like a generous ranking for the league’s lowest-rated quarterback in terms of passer rating (69.7), but this team’s roster is just that poor. I don’t see who is ranked below Wilson on this list that inarguably made a more positive impact on the team than he did.
If this ranking were made at the time of Wilson’s PCL injury in Week 7, he would be much lower. However, he started to accumulate positive-impact value after his return in Week 12.
Over his first six games, Wilson was holding the team back. He had a good game against Tennessee, an okay game against Carolina, and a “meh” game against Denver, but his performances against New England and Atlanta were utterly abysmal. The Jets likely win both of those games with a league-average quarterbacking performance.
But after his return in Week 12, Wilson was one of the most consistent players on the entire team. His ball security and decision-making kept the Jets in games despite an onslaught of injuries on the offensive side.
The Jets do not defeat the Jaguars in Week 16 without a great game from Wilson. They do not keep things close against the Eagles in Week 13 or the Buccaneers in Week 17 without Wilson’s precise accuracy on tight-window throws. They do not take early control against the Dolphins in Week 15 without Wilson’s perfect management of the offense in the first half. Heck, they probably do not even hang around against Buffalo in Week 18 for as long as they did without Wilson refraining from making big mistakes in a hellish environment.
Wilson’s second-half progress is the only thing that made the Jets look like a more competitive team than they were early in the season. If Wilson continued playing as well as he was over his first six games, the Jets would have continued to look just as embarrassing. Wilson spearheaded the team’s resurgence toward playing competent football.
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12. Corey Davis, WR
Corey Davis was not himself, setting career-highs in drops (6) and fumbles (2) in only nine games, but even so, he still managed to catch 34 of 59 targets for 492 yards and four touchdowns. He was on pace for 930 yards and eight touchdowns per 17 games. With a return to the mean when it comes to drops, Davis could easily have a great season next year if he stays healthy.
11. Alijah Vera-Tucker, G
Alijah Vera-Tucker’s pass protection was a roller-coaster ride but his run blocking was consistently fantastic from day one.
10. Connor McGovern, C
Connor McGovern is a great run blocker who fits the Jets’ running scheme excellently. The mental aspect of his pass protection – stunt pickups, blitz pickups, setting protections – continues to be an issue, but he makes up for it with solid one-on-one pass protection.
9. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, G
The addition of Laurent Duvernay-Tardif sparked a turnaround for the Jets’ offensive line. Once he joined the starting lineup, the unit’s performance took off.
Duvernay-Tardif fit well in the Jets’ running scheme, showing a great ability to get out and make blocks in space. His pass protection in one-on-one situations is porous, but he is adequate in the mental aspects of pass protection. He does a good job of providing help to teammates and has good awareness against stunts and blitzes.
8. Braxton Berrios, WR
Braxton Berrios was a phenomenal returner, ranking second in punt return average (13.4) and second in kickoff return average (30.4).
Late in the year, Berrios emerged as an integral piece of the Jets’ offense, proving to be a consistent threat on designed plays off of pre-snap motion. Thriving on jet sweeps, end-arounds, and screens, Berrios caught 46 of 65 targets for 431 yards and two touchdowns while rushing seven times for 40 yards and two touchdowns.
7. C.J. Mosley, LB
C.J. Mosley had a nice year even if he was not the bona fide star he once was. His coverage and tackling efficiency took steps back from their previous elite heights, but he was still solid overall.
6. Quinnen Williams, DT
Quinnen Williams was on the road to establishing himself as a legitimate superstar with a hot first half of the season before plunging down to average-ish production in the second half.
Through Week 7, Williams had 20 pressures in six games and led all defensive tackles with a 12.6% pressure rate. After that, Williams had just 14 pressures in nine games while recording a mediocre pressure rate of 6.9%.
Overall, Williams had another year that was very good but not quite Pro Bowl or All-Pro level. He had 53 tackles, 12 quarterback hits, 6.0 sacks, and three passes defended in 15 games.
Williams ranked 28th among defensive tackles with 34 pressures, five fewer than he had in 2020 despite playing two more games. His 9.4% pressure rate this season is still solid, but again, it’s not elite. He had a mark of 10.3% last year, which was knocking on the door of the “elite” category.
We know Williams has the potential to be a dominant defensive tackle. He has shown it over multi-game stretches throughout the past two years. But can he maintain that dominance over a full season to truly establish himself as a star?
Until then, Williams will remain a “very good” player.
5. Bryce Hall, CB
Bryce Hall faced a gauntlet of opposing wide receivers this season and held up admirably. He played the fourth-most coverage snaps among cornerbacks (668) but ranked 17th in yards allowed (638), giving up less than one yard per cover snap.
Hall’s sticky coverage kept him in position to make a boatload of plays at the catch point. He ranked second among cornerbacks with 17 forced incompletions.
While Hall gave up six touchdowns and failed to record an interception, the good he provided far outweighed the bad. In most games, Hall’s coverage was a net-positive.
Hall was integral to the Jets’ victories over Tennessee, Cincinnati, and Jacksonville, allowing 91 yards on 142 coverage snaps in those games (0.64 per cover snap).
4. Elijah Moore, WR
It took a while for Elijah Moore to get going from a numbers standpoint, but that was hardly his fault. He was getting open a lot early in the year. Zach Wilson just wasn’t hitting him.
Once Wilson went out, the Jets’ veteran backups started capitalizing on Moore’s separation, and Wilson picked up where they left off once he returned.
Moore became a dangerous weapon once he began to get the targets he deserved. Over his final six games, Moore grabbed 34 of 51 targets for 459 yards and five touchdowns. Those numbers put him on pace for 1,300 yards and 14 touchdowns over 17 games. He also rushed four times for 35 yards over that span.
3. John Franklin-Myers, EDGE
John Franklin-Myers was a steady presence on the edge for the Jets. He ranked 18th among edge rushers with 53 pressures, the most ever posted by a Jets edge rusher since PFF began tracking the stat in 2006. Franklin-Myers did it efficiently, generating pressure on 12.3% of his pass-rush snaps.
Franklin-Myers used his huge frame and tremendous strength for the position to set the edge effectively, earning a run-defense grade of 76.0 at PFF that ranked ninth-best out of 127 qualified edge defenders.
2. Michael Carter, RB
Michael Carter was prolific in his rookie season, picking up 964 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns in only 14 games. He rushed 147 times for 639 yards, earning an efficient 4.3 yards per carry. Carter also contributed 36 catches on 55 targets for 325 yards.
The most impressive aspect of Carter’s season – and the reason he ranks this high – is how much production he created on his own.
Carter ranked 12th among running backs with 39 missed tackles forced in the run game despite ranking 32nd with 147 carries. His average of 0.265 missed tackles forced per carry was second-best among running backs with at least 100 carries, trailing only college teammate Javonte Williams.
Carter also ranked eighth out of 51 qualifiers with 3.4 yards after contact per carry.
In the passing game, Carter forced 15 missed tackles on 36 catches, an average of 0.417 per reception that ranked fourth-best among the 56 running backs with at least 20 receptions.
1. George Fant, OT
No Jet played well on a more consistent basis than George Fant this season.
Fant allowed the third-lowest pressure rate among left tackles (3.0%) with 18 pressures allowed on 594 pass-blocking snaps. Only Andrew Whitworth and Tyron Smith fared better in the category. That’s good company.
Out of 15 appearances this year, Fant allowed no more than three pressures in any game. He allowed fewer than three pressures in 14 games, fewer than two pressures in nine games, and zero pressures in four games.
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