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These 10 NY Jets players can be among the elites at their positions

AVT, Alijah Vera-Tucker, NY Jets, Guard Rankings, NFL
Alijah Vera-Tucker, New York Jets, Getty Images

These New York Jets are among the best at their positions in the NFL

Who’s a better New York Jets player, Quinnen Williams or Sauce Gardner?

This is a fun debate that can go in many different directions. Positional value, impact compared to backup, and overall defensive impact are among the talking points that can come up.

Obviously, Gardner and Williams are both among the top players at their positions in the NFL. That got me thinking about all the elite talent the Jets have and how they rank compared to their peers.

Which New York Jets players rank among the top at their positions? Here are 10 of the Jets’ most talented players ranked by how they stack up at their respective positions.

10. Alijah Vera-Tucker

It’s hard to determine exactly where Alijah Vera-Tucker ranks among guards due to his back-to-back seasons of injuries. He’s pretty clearly an elite run-blocker as evidenced by Breece Hall’s on-off field statistics and the Jets’ win-loss record with and without him, as well as his elite Pro Football Focus run-blocking grades.

Vera-Tucker’s pass-blocking numbers are not nearly as stellar, but as Michael Nania detailed, PFF is too critical of him in that phase, while NFL Next Gen Stats is more accurate. Elite run-blocking with slightly above-average pass-blocking likely places Vera-Tucker around the 10th-to-15th-best guard in the NFL with significant upside. The only reason I ranked him here is that he has yet to prove it consistently.

9. Haason Reddick

Haason Reddick is more of an elite finisher than an elite pressure artist, but he is still a consistent game-wrecker. Reddick has at least 11 sacks in each of the last four seasons, ranking fourth in the NFL with 50.5 sacks during that span. He also leads the league with 13 forced fumbles since 2020. Reddick has the 19th-highest edge rusher salary during the 2024 season, and he’s probably around the 15th-best edge rusher in the NFL overall (maybe slightly higher depending on the exact season).

8. Garrett Wilson

Garrett Wilson is criminally low on this list, but it’s primarily because of the plethora of elite receivers in the NFL. Wilson has never had a chance to fully showcase his potential due to atrocious quarterback play. Still, his separation statistics are elite, and his 2024 ceiling is immense if Aaron Rodgers can stay healthy. He’s probably somewhere around the 15th-best receiver in the NFL right now.

7. Aaron Rodgers

It’s difficult to know where to place Aaron Rodgers due to his Achilles tear and mediocre 2022 season statistically. Still, after his back-to-back MVP years of 2020-21 and with the information from Robby Sabo that he’s still slinging it as well as ever, I think PFF’s ranking of Rodgers as the eighth-best quarterback in the NFL is fair. It speaks to just how excellent the Jets’ roster is that a player who is eighth-best at his position only ranks seventh-best on the team compared to his position.

6. Quincy Williams

Though PFF inexplicably ranked C.J. Mosley in the top 10 linebackers and not Quincy Williams, it’s Williams who ranks among the top players at the position. His first-team All-Pro berth showcased his elite athleticism combined with phenomenal play recognition and instincts. Williams also led all linebackers in run stops (52) and pass breakups (8), displaying his two-way impact. Entering his age-28 season, Williams is still in his prime and should be able to replicate his performance in 2024.

5. Tyron Smith

Tyron Smith was a second-team All-Pro in 2023. His 3.36% pressure rate was the third-lowest among 83 qualified tackles (min. 200 pass-blocking snaps). He also had the highest pass-blocking grade at PFF (87.3) and the lowest fourth-lowest blown-block rate at Sports Info Solutions (2.0%). When all the statistical outlets agree that a player is elite, you know he’s elite.

Smith’s run-blocking scores were more all over the place (No. 4 in ESPN run block win rate, 25/83 at PFF, 39/67 at SIS), but his average percentile ranking was 70th. He is also an excellent fit for the gap scheme.

4. Michael Carter II

Trent McDuffie and Taron Johnson were the All-Pro nickel cornerbacks in 2023, you say? What about Michael Carter II?

Carter II will never get the recognition he deserves outside of the Jets’ fan base, but he’s a top-three nickel corner at worst. It’s easy to take him for granted. In 2023, he took his game to a whole different level, especially in man coverage.

3. Quinnen Williams

I still think Quinnen Williams is the Jets’ most impactful player, but across the NFL, he’s likely not the best defensive tackle in the league. Williams is generally ranked either No. 2 or No. 3, behind Chris Jones and either ahead of or just behind Dexter Lawrence. Williams had the best PFF run defense grade among interior defensive linemen (90.4) and the second-best pressure rate (15.1%) in 2023. Don’t let the sack numbers fool you; Williams was even better in 2023 than in 2022.

2. Breece Hall

NFL scouts and coaches just ranked Breece Hall the No. 2 running back in the NFL behind Christian McCaffrey. He has a chance to pull ahead of McCaffrey in 2024, too. Hall’s performance in an atrocious situation in 2023 showcases his elite potential with any sort of blocking in front of him. He’s a perfect fit for the new gap scheme the Jets are expected to run.

1. Sauce Gardner

Sauce Gardner is widely considered the best cornerback in football with good reason. His impeccable technique makes it difficult for any receiver to run by him, and his phenomenal athleticism and closing speed allow him to catch up even when a receiver does get behind him. He also plays through the ball as well as any defensive back in the NFL, separating the receiver’s hands or chopping down on his arm to jar the ball loose. The only areas Gardner could realistically improve in are his tackling and catching interceptions that come his way (although he likely should not aim for more picks).

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