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The most exploitable player on every NY Jets 2024 opponent

Colton McKivitz, 49ers, NY Jets, Schedule
Colton McKivitz, San Francisco 49ers, New York Jets, Getty Images

These are the players the New York Jets should target in each game of the season

The New York Jets may view their 2024 schedule as extremely favorable. It’s been ranked one of the easiest slates of any in the NFL. However, the league is all about matchups — and that could end up making a supposedly easy matchup look difficult or the reverse.

Here are the most exploitable players on each team the Jets face in 2024. The Jets should game plan to target these players in their games.

49ers: RT Colton McKivitz

Brock Purdy’s 2023 numbers were top-notch no matter the slicer, but he was definitely more turnover-prone when under pressure. Purdy averaged 8.2 yards per attempt when under pressure, but he also had an 11:6 TD:INT ratio and a 5.4% turnover-worthy play rate, which ranked 25th out of 33 qualified passers. Purdy was under pressure on 38.6% of his dropbacks, ranking 23rd, and right tackle Colton McKivitz was a big reason why.

According to Pro Football Focus, McKivitz was responsible for 25.3% of Purdy’s pressure, the eighth-highest mark for any right tackle. His 8.2% pressure rate ranked 60th out of 75 qualified tackles, while his 8.6% adjusted pressure rate and 13.9% true pass set pressure rate both tied for 64th. While his 68.1 run-blocking grade was above average (29th/70), his pass-blocking makes him the player the Jets should target when they play San Francisco. Haason Reddick will likely line up against McKivitz regularly.

Titans: QB Will Levis

Several spots on the Titans’ offensive line are suspect, but ultimately, the biggest wild card for them is quarterback Will Levis. Some anticipate a big sophomore season from him, but his rookie year was spent mostly chucking the ball up to DeAndre Hopkins deep. His 69.1% adjusted completion percentage was second-worst among 39 qualified passers, and his 4.5% turnover-worthy play rate was third-worst.

The Titans joined Calvin Ridley and Tyler Boyd with Hopkins in an attempt to give Levis some legitimate weapons. However, Hopkins is coming off the worst season of his career in contested-catch rate and receiving success rate, while Boyd is also coming off a career-worst year.

Levis could prove his doubters wrong, but for now, the Jets’ defense must be licking their chops at facing this kind of quarterback.

Patriots: LT Chukwuma Okorafor or Caedan Wallace

Both Chukwuma Okorafor and rookie third-round pick Caedan Wallace are right tackles, one of whom will be forced to move to the left side. Although Okorafor’s pressure numbers are okay (4.4% pressure rate on 272 pass-blocking snaps in 2023), the Steelers benched him in 2023 for ineffective play. Whichever one ends up manning the left side, Jermaine Johnson and Reddick will be ready.

Broncos: LB Alex Singleton

The Broncos have many poor players in coverage, but linebacker Alex Singleton takes the worst spot. His 1.17 yards per coverage snap allowed ranked 61st out of 66 qualified linebackers (min. 250 coverage snaps). Singleton also allowed five touchdowns, tied for the most among linebackers. The Jets should heavily utilize Breece Hall and Tyler Conklin in this game.

Vikings: RG Ed Ingram

Vikings right guard Ed Ingram had a 6.6% pressure rate in 2023, tied for 56th out of 69 qualified guards. Javon Kinlaw posted only one pressure on 18 pass rush snaps against the Vikings in 2023, but he’ll have another shot at Ingram in 2024.

Bills: WR Keon Coleman

Keon Coleman might be generating a lot of hype, but Buffalo has likely tried to place a square peg in a round hole. According to Reception Perception, the level of Coleman’s struggles against man and press-man coverage spells an almost-certain bust at the NFL level unless the player moves to the slot (as Amon-Ra St. Brown, Cooper Kupp, and others have done). The Bills intend to use Coleman as their X receiver. The Jets’ outside cornerbacks should have a much easier time with him than they did with Stefon Diggs.

Steelers: WR Van Jefferson and CB Donte Jackson

The Steelers’ No. 2 receiver spot was vacated when they traded Diontae Johnson. Rookie Roman Wilson profiles primarily as a slot receiver, which means that Van Jefferson will likely fill the No. 2 role. In his last two seasons, Jefferson has posted just 44 catches for 578 yards and three touchdowns in 28 games played.

Meanwhile, on the defensive side of the football, cornerback Donte Jackson came over from Carolina to pair with Joey Porter Jr. Jackson’s 1.16 yards per cover snap allowed in 2023 ranked 53rd out of 72 qualified corners (min. 400 coverage snaps).

Texans: LG Kenyon Green or RT Tytus Howard

It remains to be seen whether former first-round pick Kenyon Green will get another shot at guard after an atrocious rookie season and a season-ending injury in the 2023 preseason. Green had a 27.0 Pro Football Focus pass-blocking grade as a rookie in 2022, coupled with a 47.4 run-blocking grade. He allowed a 9% pressure rate and was also called for 12 penalties. Quinnen Williams will be ecstatic if he faces Green.

Meanwhile, Tytus Howard played fairly well at right tackle in 2022, but his 2023 guard numbers were ugly. In seven starts, he allowed a 7.4% pressure rate (the position average was 5.2%) and also posted a 49.6 run-blocking grade. Perhaps kicking back out to tackle will do him good, as he had always been a decent pass-blocker at tackle.

Cardinals: DT Justin Jones and CB Sean Murphy-Bunting

The Cardinals added some talent in the draft, but they still have glaring holes, particularly on defense. Defensive tackle Justin Jones posted a 47.4 PFF run defense grade, ranking 58th out of 75 qualifiers, and he was also well below the 9% position average for pressure rate (7.4%). The Cardinals signed Sean Murphy-Bunting as a supposed upgrade at cornerback, but Murphy-Bunting ranked 57th out of 72 qualified corners with 1.23 yards per cover snap allowed, 64th with 9.1 yards per target, and 67th with 10 penalties.

Colts: LB Zaire Franklin and CB JuJu Brents

Zaire Franklin ranked 68th out of 70 qualified linebackers with 1.29 yards per coverage snap allowed in 2023. His 745 yards allowed were the highest at the position. His 66.1 PFF run defense grade ranked 45th out of 66 linebackers. Meanwhile, cornerback JuJu Brents did not qualify at the position in 2023, but his 1.54 yards per cover snap would have ranked the third-worst among qualifiers.

Seahawks: LG Laken Tomlinson

Jets fans need no introduction to Laken Tomlinson. Touted as an iron man due to his steady track record of health, Tomlinson’s supporters neglect to mention that his actual play on the field has been putrid. In 2023 alone, he ranked 59th out of 69 qualifiers at guard with a 7% pressure rate, allowing the most pressures at the position (51). He added a 49.6 PFF run-blocking grade that ranked 56th out of 66. Quinnen Williams, meet your old teammate.

Dolphins: LB David Long

David Long is a great run defender for the Dolphins, but he was one of the worst cover linebackers in the NFL in 2023. He ranked 53rd out of 70 qualified linebackers with 1.05 yards per cover snap allowed and 60th with 8.96 yards per target. He added 0.40 EPA per target (60th) and a 37.5% coverage success rate (61st). Long coupled poor coverage with bad tackling, ranking 52nd with a 12.7% miss rate (15.7% for his career).

Jaguars: CB Tyson Campbell

Tyson Campbell started 11 games for the Jaguars at cornerback in 2023. When reducing the qualifying mark to 390 cover snaps, Campbell’s 1.25 yards per cover snap ranked 61st out of 75 qualifiers. He also allowed eight touchdowns, tied for the fourth-most at the position. His 5% forced incompletion rate ranked 70th, and his 127.4 targeted passer rating ranked 71st.

Rams: S Russ Yeast and LG Jonah Jackson

Russ Yeast was up there with Jordan Whitehead as one of the worst two-way safeties in the NFL. His 22.5% missed tackle rate ranked 72nd out of 74 qualifiers, and his 61.7 PFF run defense grade ranked 51st. In coverage, his 0.77 yards per route run ranked 64th, and his 10.8 yards per target ranked 66th. His saving grace was a 20% forced incompletion rate (T-9th), but he was still quite exploitable.

Offensively, the Rams seemingly took the sloppy seconds from the Detroit Lions’ offensive line when they signed guard Jonah Jackson to a three-year, $51 million deal. Jackson’s 5.6% pressure rate in 2023 ranked 47th out of 69 qualifiers (32nd percentile), and his 58.2 run-blocking grade ranked 42nd. Interestingly, Jackson’s gap-blocking grade (58.1) was worse than his zone-blocking grade (63.6), but the Rams targeted him, anyway.

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