Which New York Jets veterans were affected most by the 2022 NFL draft?
Each team’s incoming NFL draft class has a profound impact on the futures of many returning players who were already on the roster.
Let’s discuss a few of the veteran players on the New York Jets‘ roster who were affected in a positive way by the team’s actions in the 2022 NFL draft.
The first-round selection of Florida State edge rusher Jermaine Johnson should allow John Franklin-Myers to receive more snaps on the interior of the defensive line, where he is much more effective as a pass-rusher.
Franklin-Myers broke out as an interior lineman for the Jets in 2020 before moving to a full-time role on the edge in 2021. He had a solid season but was not nearly as dominant in the passing game as he was on the inside.
- 2020: 14.4% pressure rate (98th percentile among IDL) vs. NFL IDL average of 7.0% (+7.4% margin)
- 2021: 12.3% pressure rate (79th percentile among EDGE) vs. NFL EDGE average of 10.1% (+2.2% margin)
On the edge, Franklin-Myers produced pressure at a lower frequency than he did on the inside despite the fact that edge rushers are expected to produce pressure at a much higher frequency than interior rushers.
Franklin-Myers was still very good as an edge rusher – his run defense is also better on the edge than it is on the inside – but he’s elite as an interior rusher. With Johnson aboard to join forces with Carl Lawson, the Jets now have two starting-caliber edge rushers, allowing Franklin-Myers to move back to his best spot.
Pre-draft, it was heavily rumored that the Jets could select an offensive tackle in the first round. Mekhi Becton’s murky status with the team was considered a prime reason New York would consider making such a pick.
New York ended up bypassing the offensive tackle position until the selection of Max Mitchell in the fourth round. This leaves Becton and George Fant as the Jets’ no-doubt-about-it starting tackles heading into the 2022 regular season. Who starts on which side is still up in the air, but we now know that Becton is safe in New York for the time being.
Selecting a premier prospect like Ikem Ekwonu (selected 6th by Carolina) or Evan Neal (selected 7th by N.Y. Giants) would have led to rampant speculation about Becton’s future. Now that Becton is backed up by Mitchell, Conor McDermott, and Chuma Edoga, it’s hard to imagine the Jets would consider trading Becton with such an unreliable group behind him. There is also zero threat to his starting job.
Provided he’s healthy, Becton will start for the Jets in Week 1 of the 2022 season. He will get the chance to prove that he can be a long-term building block for the organization.
You might be surprised to see Michael Carter‘s name on here after the Jets’ second-round selection of running back Breece Hall. Just hear me out.
While the Hall pick certainly takes away the clear-RB1 status that Carter held going into the draft – severely lowering the production ceiling he once had – I think sharing the backfield will benefit Carter’s efficiency, durability, and long-term outlook in the NFL.
Carter dealt with some injury issues in 2021. He missed three late-season games with an ankle injury and left very early in another game with a concussion, which was just two weeks after his return from the ankle injury. This is despite Carter handling a workload that was only moderate (10.5 rushing attempts per game).
With Hall aboard to eat up a sizable chunk of the running back snaps, Carter can take on a lighter workload that will allow him to stay fresher throughout the course of the season and within individual games.
The lighter workload should increase Carter’s efficiency on a per-snap basis. As a change-of-pace back who will typically be well-rested when on the field, Carter can go all-out every time he touches the ball.
In the long run, Carter will benefit from sharing the spotlight with Hall over the next few years. Ideally, once he hits free agency in 2025, teams will be intrigued by the relatively low amount of mileage on his tires and the efficiency he displayed in a smaller role. He’ll be seen as the rare free-agent running back whose best days are ahead of him. Hitting the market with 400 career carries instead of 800 will make him a lot of money.
Carter is a much less intriguing fantasy player today than he was before Hall came in, and he is no longer the Jets’ clear-cut “RB1” of the future. Those things might sting a bit in the present. However, when his career wraps up, I think there is a good chance he will look back on the Hall selection as something that helped him more than it hurt him.
The safety position was one of the top needs on the Jets’ shopping list entering the draft. As it turns out, the Jets did not make an addition at the position.
This is great news for Lamarcus Joyner.
Jordan Whitehead is penciled into one of the Jets’ starting safety spots. It’s still not certain who will start beside Whitehead, but the 32-year-old Joyner appears to be the early favorite. His odds of claiming the role increased significantly once the draft came and went without a new safety joining the room.
The young trio of Ashtyn Davis, Elijah Riley, and Jason Pinnock will compete against Joyner for the starting spot.
Similar to Joyner, Quincy Williams is a winner thanks to the lack of competition added to his position.
The Jets could have easily added another body to a linebacker room that lacks proven talent, but just like safety, they did not address the position in the draft. This leaves Williams as the early favorite to reprise his role as the starter next to C.J. Mosley.
Second-year linebackers Jamien Sherwood and Hamsah Nasirildeen are also winners. New York’s decision to ignore the linebacker position can be seen as a vote of confidence for the two 2021 draftees, who are both still early in their post-draft transitions from collegiate safeties to NFL linebackers.