Braxton Berrios, New York Jets, NY Jets, Stats, Contract, 2022, Zach Wilson
Braxton Berrios, New York Jets, Getty Images

Figuring out how to use Braxton Berrios will be an interesting task for New York Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur

Braxton Berrios is an underrated New York Jets success story. Instead of the usual pattern of ex-Jets doing well with the Patriots, Berrios gave Bill Belichick a taste of his own medicine.

The former Patriots sixth-round pick earned first-team All-Pro honors as a returner in 2021. He led the league in kickoff return average at 30.4 yards per return, posted an elite 13.4 yards per punt return (albeit in a small sample size), and took a kickoff 102 yards to the house to help the Jets knock off the Jaguars.

Berrios also contributed to the offense after injuries and ineffectiveness held the other Jets receivers back. He had 46 receptions for 431 yards and two touchdowns through the air. Nearly half of his catches (46%) went for first downs. This is impressive considering that his average depth of target was only 5.1 yards. He was able to move the chains so effectively thanks to his average of 5.6 yards-after-catch per reception, which ranked 16th out of 101 qualified wide receivers.

Securing 46 of his 65 targets, Berrios posted a 70.8% catch rate and dropped just one pass all year. While these rates are somewhat expected at such shallow depths of target, it’s more than other Jets’ receivers can say.

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Berrios added seven carries for 40 yards and two rushing TDs last season, making him at least a marginal threat to run from the receiving position.

In my opinion, this is one of Berrios’s most underutilized abilities. His 4.44 time in the 40-yard dash is just the first metric to measure Berrios’s speed. The eye test tells the rest of the story. His kickoff-return TD vs. the Jaguars showcases that speed (he hit 20.99 MPH on the play), as do several other plays he has made in a Jets uniform (including his TD reception from Jamison Crowder vs. Cleveland in 2020).

The Jets may have used Berrios somewhat in the jet sweep role, but 2022 is the time to fully embrace it. With Elijah Moore, Corey Davis, and Garrett Wilson ahead of Berrios on the depth chart, there is no limit to the creativity that Mike LaFleur can use to maximize Berrios’s speed and shiftiness. He is the ideal kick and punt returner, but he’s also a key cog in the Jets’ offense on all levels.

The Patriots have a history of taking undersized, speedy, shifty receivers and turning them into stars. This is one they let get away. Now it’s up to LaFleur to carve out a unique role for Berrios to thrive.

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Rivka Boord has followed the Jets since the age of five. She is known locally for her in-depth knowledge of football. She hopes to empower young women to follow their dreams and join the sports conversation. Boord's background in analytics infuses her articles with unique insights into the state of the Jets' franchise and the NFL as a whole.

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ncjetsfan
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ncjetsfan

Excellent article highlighting Berrios’ talent and potential. You did a great job detailing his speed and how he was used last year and how he could be used in the same ways again this season. LaFleur should definitely find creative ways to use Berrios if for no other reasons than he has such great chemistry with Zach and always seems to make something happen when he is on the field. Snaps may be hard to come by due to Moore, Wilson, and Davis, and Mims may force (hopefully) his way into the conversation as well. Even when he’s on the… Read more »

Noam
Member
Noam

Berrios biggest contribution IMO was the Jet Sweep. The ability of Berrios or Moore to get to the edge sets everything up for this offense. It forces edge rushers to slow a little and honor the sweep, it allows runs up the middle and it gives ZW a few extra tenths of a second. Once MLF started using the Jet sweep the offense flourished and really opened up. We could see the difference in week 17 without Berrios and Carter the Bills defenders could just pin their ears back and come after Zach.

ncjetsfan
Member
ncjetsfan

Great reply and excellent point! Good to see you here, my friend!

Jonathan Richter
Member
Jonathan Richter

Berrios is good at the jet-sweep. Too bad they didn’t use him that way against Tampa Bay last year. Could have/should have won that game.

hh11212
Member
hh11212

Berrios solid player, not better than our top 6 or 7 playmakers. So he should be able to get on the filed in 4 WR sets and to give guys a blow. But I don’t expect that much from Berrios this season, because of the improved talent.

hh11212
Member
hh11212

The fact that Berrios is running at #3 is not an indication of anything tbh, Sauce has mostly run with the two’s do we expect Hall to start at CB?

I am projecting for once the season starts and certainly as it progresses Wilson will almost certainly get those reps. Berrios is a nice player but is an average WR at best with very little ability against man coverage throughout his career. I believe he will get some Jet sweeps and maybe some gadget plays, but as I stated I don’t expect him to have a huge role.

hh11212
Member
hh11212

I don’t think we see this one the same. I will keep this discussion on the backburner and we can revisit once the season starts.