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Burning questions surrounding NY Jets ahead of OTAs

Israel Abanikanda, NY Jets, NFL, Roster
Israel Abanikanda, New York Jets, Getty Images

One week remains until New York Jets OTAs

From an objective lens, the New York Jets have had a successful 2024 offseason. They have addressed almost every need on their roster through a combination of trades, free agency, and the NFL draft. The offensive line is improved at both the starting and depth levels, the wide receiver core is much stronger than last season, and they filled out their depth on the defensive side of the ball.

However, the Jets have not filled every single need on their roster. Heading into their OTAs, some lingering questions remain about the team.

Is there additional WR depth on the way?

While they have added to the position in a significant way, the Jets still arguably need another player at the wide receiver position.

Garrett Wilson, Mike Williams, and Malachi Corley are projected to round out the starting group for the Jets. One injury to those players, though, and the likes of Allen Lazard, Xavier Gipson, and Jason Brownlee would be thrust back into the starting lineup. It would be a considerable blow to the offense.

There are still some available options on the free-agent market who could strengthen the Jets’ depth. One such name is former Raiders wide receiver Hunter Renfrow. Renfrow is not the same player he was back in 2021 when he racked up over 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns. As a depth option, though, Renfrow could provide good separation ability in spurts to help the offense out.

Another option is Marques Valdes-Scantling. A former teammate of quarterback Aaron Rodgers on the Packers, Valdes-Scantling would provide another deep-threat depth option behind Williams. He is another player who should not be counted on as a starter, but he would be a nice backup.

Ultimately, any additions will be predicated on how the Jets feel about their current depth. If they are unsatisfied, a player like MVS or Renfrow will likely be brought in. But if they do not make any more additions, there is a decent chance that Lazard, Gipson, or Brownlee could be one play away from a starting position.

Who replaces John Franklin-Myers?

Arguably, the most open-ended question surrounding the Jets is whether they are replacing the production of John Franklin-Myers.

Franklin-Myers, traded to the Denver Broncos for a late-round selection, was a significant force in both the running and passing games for New York. He provided at least 50 pressures in his four seasons with the Jets while also posting an average PFF run defense grade of 72.2 across the past three seasons.

The best bet for New York is that a group effort will help to replicate what they lost. A Will McDonald breakout season would do wonders for their pass rush, especially if Haason Reddick and Jermaine Johnson replicate their previous seasons.

In the running game, UDFA Leonard Taylor provides an intriguing option for the Jets to develop into a tweener player similar to Franklin-Myers. Additionally, players like Javon Kinlaw, Leki Fotu, and Micheal Clemons must step up to solidify the run defense.

One player cannot immediately replace what Franklin-Myers brought to the table. However, the Jets’ defensive line depth as a whole is capable of coming together to fill the void.

How does the RB room stack up?

Behind star running back Breece Hall, the other slots on the depth chart are up for grabs.

Along with 2023 fifth-round pick Israel Abanikanda, the Jets added Wisconsin’s Braelon Allen and South Dakota State’s Isaiah Davis on the third day of the 2024 draft. Abanikanda is a lethal speed threat with the ball in his hands, while Allen and Davis are bruising, downhill runners.

Regarding the depth chart, the final results will likely be determined by what the Jets want their offensive style to be. If they want a mix of power and speed, Abanikanda could still have a considerable role on the roster and challenge for a main running back spot. On the other hand, Allen and Davis could quickly supplant the former Pittsburgh product if the Jets shift directly toward a power-running approach.

The end result of the running back battle has more at stake than just spots on the 53-man-roster. Their decisions could key the public in on their entire offensive vision in 2024.

How will the team manage the veterans on the roster?

More than anything else in 2024, managing veteran players correctly will be a foundation piece of the Jets’ season.

It is no secret how reliant the Jets will be on older or injured veterans in 2024. Aaron Rodgers, Mike Williams, Tyron Smith, and Morgan Moses are all coming off significant injuries or have a history of missing games. On defense, C.J. Mosley is one of the team’s foundational pieces and is only getting older.

New York must learn from past mistakes with players like Duane Brown and Mekhi Becton. They must have a solidified plan to have their veterans ready to roll for the regular season.

OTAs will be the first opportunity to view this game plan before seeing it fully in action during training camp. Significant changes to their management of at-risk veteran players could lead to much better injury outcomes.

This is arguably the most important question on the list, and unlike the others, it falls on the shoulders of the organization. The coaching and medical staffs must do whatever is necessary to maximize their players’ odds of staying healthy.

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4 days ago

Here’s a subquestion to “Who replaces John Franklin Myers:” What the hell are Solomon Thomas (2023 pff grade 37.0) and Javon Kinlaw (2023 pff grade 49.6) doing on the Jets’ roster? Both players are out-and-out first round busts who were dumped by the 49ers, which is arguably the smartest franchise in the NFL.
We know the answer is probably that Saleh likes them from his ’49er days and argued for them. All I can say is that Saleh will have a lot to answer for if these two play to their standard.

Robby Sabo
3 days ago
Reply to  DFargas

It’ll be interesting to see how this run D works (particularly the interior). It’s safe to say that I’m not optimistic.