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NY Jets rookie-year stat predictions: Vital impact from Olu, Corley

Olu Fashanu, NY Jets, NFL, Malachi Corley, 2024 Draft Class
Olu Fashanu, Malachi Corley, New York Jets, Getty Images, Jet X Graphic

OT Olu Fashanu

  • 8 starts
  • 310 pass-blocking snaps, 3 sacks allowed, 3 hits allowed, 12 hurries allowed (18 total pressures)
  • 5.8% pressure rate allowed (Would have ranked 35th of 73 qualified OT in 2023)
  • 57.0 PFF run-blocking grade (Would have ranked 52nd of 73 qualified OT in 2023)
  • 3 penalties

Based on the durability track records of Tyron Smith and Morgan Moses, my guess is that Olu Fashanu will start eight games for the Jets this season.

Smith averaged six missed games per year over the past eight seasons. Moses had gone eight straight seasons without missing a game before 2023, but nagging injuries had him coming on and off the field for the Ravens last year, causing him to play 69% of the offensive snaps (equivalent to about five missed games) despite actually missing just three games. As he turns 33 and steps onto the MetLife Stadium turf, it’s probably fair to expect a middle ground between his previous iron-man track record and his 2023 woes, so I’ll estimate he misses two games. Tack those two games onto Smith’s average of six games per year, and you have eight vacated starts that must be filled by a backup.

As for his on-field performance, I do not expect Fashanu to be anywhere close to a star in his first season, but I do think he will provide production that any team would be ecstatic to get from their backup tackle across half the season.

With smooth footwork, clean technique, a dominant pass-blocking resume in college, and the luxury of learning from Smith and Moses, Fashanu is poised to be a solid pass protector right off the bat. I think his pass-blocking production will be around the level of an average starting tackle. I have him giving up a 5.8% pressure rate, which would have ranked 35th out of 73 qualified tackles in 2023 (53rd percentile) and is better than the league-wide average of 6.4% for tackles. Getting this type of production from your backup tackle would be stellar. Compare that to Max Mitchell’s 8.9% pressure rate last year, which ranked 64th out of 73 qualifiers.

However, I think Fashanu will be raw as a run blocker in his rookie year. I have him placing just outside the top 50 among 70-plus qualified tackles in PFF’s run-blocking grade with a mark of 57.0. I do not think he will be terrible in the run game, as his athleticism will lead to some flashes, but there will be plenty of room to improve after the year. Yet, this would still be an improvement for the Jets’ backup tackle role. That 57.0 grade would be better than every tackle who played for the Jets in 2023 outside of Alijah Vera-Tucker. The average PFF run-blocking grade of the Jets’ non-AVT tackles was 51.9, which would have ranked 63rd out of 73 qualifiers.

Overall, while Fashanu will certainly undergo growing pains this year, I think he is talented enough to immediately produce at a level that would be considered excellent for a backup tackle. The Jets will be very happy with how well he holds the fort down whenever he has to fill in for Smith or Moses.

Looking long-term, if Fashanu establishes this type of floor in his rookie year, he will put himself on a trajectory to become a great starting tackle within the next two years.

WR Malachi Corley

  • 30 receptions
  • 45 targets
  • 350 receiving yards
  • 3 receiving TD
  • 10 rushes
  • 60 rushing yards
  • 1 rushing TD
  • 40 kickoff returns for 28.0 yards per return and 1 TD

Some might consider these predictions too modest, but let’s be realistic about the expectations here. Malachi Corley is a third-round pick, comes from a non-Power 5 school, saw 11 wide receivers picked over him, and will have to compete for targets against Garrett Wilson, Mike Williams, Breece Hall, and Tyler Conklin. I do not expect Corley to light the world on fire this year.

Still, I think Corley will have a role in the offense where the Jets make it a point to get him the football. His skill set is ideal for immediate impact. While it will take him some time to develop the all-around game that is necessary for him to become a starter-caliber player, his talent with the ball in his hands can be weaponized right away. Just get him the ball and give him chances to cook. In an offense with so many other weapons demanding attention from the defense, the Jets can create some highly optimal situations for Corley to make plays.

I have Corley getting a combined total of 55 targets and rush attempts, an average of 3.2 playmaking opportunities per game across 17 contests. That’s a nice number for a rookie third-round pick with four players above him in the pecking order.

With those opportunities, I see Corley producing 410 total yards and four total touchdowns. As a receiver, I think Corley will catch a high percentage of his targets since they will largely be uncontested throws in the underneath area, such as screens and crossers. With his YAC ability, he should be able to generate an efficient yards-per-reception rate on those plays. I also think he can sneak in four total touchdowns as the Jets mix him into the red-zone playbook every now and then.

Among players on the current roster, Corley is my favorite candidate to be the Jets’ kickoff returner. Barring the addition of better competition (I don’t see who gives him a push right now outside of Xavier Gipson or Israel Abanikanda, and neither option is inspiring), I think Corley will win the role and do a great job. Jets special teams coordinator Brant Boyer has shown multiple times in the past that he can coach his unit to block up return lanes at an elite level. Boyer has led two different returners to All-Pro status with the Jets. I’d argue Corley is a far more dynamic athlete than Andre Roberts or Braxton Berrios were, so if they could do it, why not Corley?

The NFL implemented a new kickoff system this year, which will lead to significantly more returns and likely more yards per return as well. With Boyer’s track record, I trust him to maximize these new rules as well as any coach in the league. He’ll have his guys prepared to create lanes under these new rules, and Corley is the type of playmaker you want to have running through those lanes.

RB Braelon Allen

  • 70 carries
  • 280 rushing yards
  • 2 rushing TD
  • 8 receptions
  • 55 receiving yards

I think Braelon Allen will emerge as the Jets’ RB2 behind Breece Hall. With that being said, I think the Jets are going to rely heavily on Hall as their workhorse, so I do not foresee the RB2 role entailing a heavy workload. In my prediction, I have Allen registering 70 carries, which is about four per game across 17 games.

My guess is that Allen will see much of his work in short-yardage and clock-chewing situations. These plays will hamstring your YPC average, so I only have Allen averaging 4.0 YPC, leading to 280 yards on 70 carries. Despite the subpar YPC, I think Allen will positively impact the offense through a high conversion rate in short-yardage situations.

While I do see Allen getting at least a couple of touchdowns, I don’t necessarily see him being the Jets’ go-to guy at the goal line in the mold of 2022 Jamaal Williams. I think the Jets trust Hall enough to handle the majority of those touches. Allen might be occasionally mixed in at the goal line, but I wouldn’t expect him to automatically sub into the game any time the Jets are down there. A powerful back in his own right, Hall deserves the chance to rack up goal-line touches after he got just one carry inside the 5-yard line in 2023.

QB Jordan Travis

With all due respect to Jordan Travis, let’s all hope he does not play a single regular season or playoff snap in 2024.

However, I’ll make some preseason predictions. With two old quarterbacks ahead of him on the depth chart and nobody behind him at the moment, Travis is in line to get plenty of preseason reps as long as he is healthy enough to play by then.

  • 48 for 70 (68.6%)
  • 400 yards (5.7 Y/A)
  • 2 TD
  • 1 INT
  • 10 rushes for 60 yards

Preseason football tends to be extremely vanilla and checkdown-happy. I think Travis is suited to handle that style nicely. I see him completing nearly 70% of his passes while only throwing one interception – he did a great job of protecting the football last season. On top of that, he will toss in a couple of chunk runs against soft defensive coverages and a pair of touchdown passes on some sort of busted coverage in the flat. That’s preseason football in a nutshell for ya.

The downside of my prediction for Travis is the measly 5.7 yards per attempt, including just 8.3 yards per completion. While I can easily picture him having a preseason in which he looks stable and consistent, I feel as if he will rarely make big-time downfield throws that showcase starter-caliber potential.

Altogether, my guess is that Travis will look like a decent backup quarterback if he plays this preseason. As he develops over the years, his challenge will be to show teams why they should believe he can raise their ceiling as a starting quarterback. Aaron Rodgers is the perfect guy to learn from in that regard, but it will take at least a year or two before Travis can really put any of Rodgers’ advice into practice, especially as he spends much of this offseason continuing to rehab from his ankle injury.

RB Isaiah Davis

  • 30 carries
  • 130 rushing yards
  • 1 TD

As the Jets’ RB3 (in my prediction), Isaiah Davis probably won’t see many opportunities when everyone is healthy. Still, behind what projects to be a good offensive line, I can see him making good use of his carries. I have him at 4.3 yards per carry on about two totes per game.

CB Qwan’tez Stiggers

  • 8 special teams tackles
  • 1 blocked kick

Qwan’tez Stiggers won’t get any defensive snaps when everyone is healthy. However, I think he’ll earn a key role on special teams. Stiggers was a highly active tackler in the CFL, ranking 33rd among all defensive players in tackles despite being a cornerback. For perspective, the highest-ranked NFL cornerback in tackles placed 63rd (Taron Johnson).

That stat is a good sign for a fifth-round pick who will be looking to prove himself as a weapon in kick coverage. I’m predicting eight special teams tackles for Stiggers, which would have tied him with Irvin Charles for the third-most among Jets players in 2023. Ashtyn Davis led the way with 12 while Jamien Sherwood followed with nine.

And you know what? I’m going to say the former CFL star becomes a cult hero with a clutch blocked kick in a huge moment.

S Jaylen Key

  • Practice squad

While safety is probably the best position on the Jets’ roster for a player in Jaylen Key‘s position, I still don’t see him making the roster. The Jets only kept four safeties on their initial 53-man roster in 2023: Jordan Whitehead, Tony Adams, Ashtyn Davis, and Adrian Amos. Adams and Davis are back while Clark will take Whitehead’s place, leaving one spot. In line to fill that spot is 2023 sixth-round pick Jarrick Bernard-Converse, who was on injured reserve to start the 2023 season.

It really comes down to Bernard-Converse versus Key for the final spot. Key could easily beat out Bernard-Converse. At this point in time, though, it’s impossible to project what either player brings to the table since neither has even logged a training camp rep, so I’ll lean toward the earlier-drafted player.

The Jets could also still add a veteran free agent at some point within the next few months, which would further muddy Key or Bernard-Converse’s path to making the roster.

We’ve already seen the Jets waive a rookie seventh-round pick as part of their final cutdowns. They did it with Zack Kuntz last year. Kuntz cleared waivers and returned to the Jets’ practice squad. I see the same fate for Key.

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christian herzeca
christian herzeca
14 days ago

none of these rookies will have to contribute, hopefully. yes I see Olu playing some games though nowhere near 8, as I see Smith and Moses too proud to sit unless really injured. Allen will get reps to keep Hall rested, but that is about it, except for Corley. He is the wild card, who could get 1,000 yards as a rookie with KC, but with jets OC, god knows