The Jets were expected to be one of the worst teams in football in 2017, but they managed to win five games. New York finished in last in the AFC East for the third time in four seasons while failing to make the playoffs for the seventh straight year.
Todd Bowles will coach the team for the fourth straight year. He has 22-29 record in NFL career. Bowles has been in the NFL since 2000 with most of his experience and coaching coming the secondary. Before the head coaching job for the Jets, Todd was the defensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals.
New York promoted Jeremy Bates from quarterback’s coach to offensive coordinator in 2018. Bates has ten years of experience coaching in the NFL. In 2010, he held the offensive coordinator job for the Seattle Seahawks. Bates hasn’t held a job longer than three seasons with any NFL team, which may be a sign of power issues.
In 2017, the Jets ranked 24th in the NFL in points scored (298) and 28th in yards allowed. They’ve scored fewer than 300 points in five of their last six seasons.
Kacy Rodgers returns for his fourth year as the defensive coordinator. Over the previous 13 seasons, Kacy primarily works as a defensive line coach. After a nice showing in 2015 in points allowed (314 – 4th) and yards allowed (8th), Rodgers’ defense fell to 28th (409) and 22nd (382) in points allowed over the last seasons.
This team is in a rebuilding mode, but the coaching staff may not survive another season without a move up in the standings.
The biggest loss in the offseason was DE Muhammad Wilkerson who signed with the Packers. Wilkerson was once one of the best run stoppers in the league while offering upside in sacks. His game lost all value in 2016 while showing a push back to league average last year. DE Kony Ealy moved onto the Cowboys after showing growth in his fourth year in the league, while only seeing part-time duty. Ealy struggled in run support with a career-low one sack in 2017. New York added DE Brandon Copeland for depth in the defensive line.
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins signed with the Jaguars, and K Chandler Catanzaro has a new home in Tampa. New York brought in Cairo Santos to take over the kicking duties.
C Wesley Johnson started 14 games for the Jets as an injury cover last year, but he was a losing asset. He’ll compete for playing time in Detroit in 2018. The Jets added former Lions C Travis Swanson who has one league average season on his resume while being a poor option in his three other years in the league. The Jets signed C Spencer Long as well who missed most of the second half of 2017 with a quad injury. He projects a below average player.
After a career season, LB Demario Davis signed with the Saints. He set a career high in tackles (135) and sacks (5) while playing at a high level vs. the run. LB Neville Hewitt and LB Avery Williamson were brought in to cover the loss of Davis. Williamson is coming off his best year in the league with impact value against the run with some value sacking the QB.
Both RB Thomas Rawls and RB Isaiah Crowell were added to the roster to compete for the starting job. Crowell has the better resume, which gives him the inside track on early downs.
WR Terrelle Pryor will try to revive his career in New York after struggling to find his way with the Redskins. The Jets signed QB Teddy Bridgewater to a minimal deal, but he looks to be squeezed for an opportunity after New York drafted QB Sam Darnold.
CB Trumaine Johnson will move into the starting lineup after vacating the rising Rams’ defense over the winter. Johnson should be a slight asset in coverage.
With the third overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft, the Jets selected QB Sam Darnold. He was expected to be the top selection in the draft before Cleveland made a move to add QB Baker Mayfield. Darnold was my top QB heading into this year’s draft. He has the skill set to lead a team early in his career thanks to plus vision and decision making.
With no selection in the second round, New York added three defensive players over their next four picks (DT Nathan Shepherd, CB Parry Nickerson, and DT Foley Fatukasi).
Shepherd is a late bloomer who still needs time for his skill set to develop. He has pass rushing upside with a chance to be an edge defender against the run. Nathan is athletic with a physical presence. He needs to improve his technique and add more strength to earn a living in the trenches in the NFL.
Nickerson will add speed to the Jets’ secondary, but he’s undersized (5’10” and 182 Lbs.) with questions about his value in tackling. His vision and instincts are a plus while offering playmaking skills. Parry can get beat by physical WRs, and he’ll struggle in press overage.
Fatukasi is another player who lacks refined skills. He plays with power and a quick step after the snap. His range is limited as of now due to poor foresight and game plan after contacting defenders when the play is away from him. Foley is a project with the talent to develop into a winning player in the NFL.
In the fourth round, New York invested in TE Chris Herndon. He’s a former WR who will bring speed to the TE position. Herndon can handle his own in the blocking game with open field ability after the catch. He’ll get clean breaks off the line, but Chris does need to add more strength. Herndon isn’t a great route runner with question marks about his hands. Last November he suffered a torn MCL that required surgery.
With their last draft selection in the sixth round, the Jets took a dance with RB Trenton Cannon. His base skill set look electric while offering impact speed and playmaking ability. His glaring negative at the next level is his size (5’11” and 185 Lbs.). If his frame can handle 20+ lbs. while maintaining his explosiveness, New York may have an exciting piece to the puzzle in a couple of seasons. For now, Cannon will try to earn a spot on the team as a return man.
New York ranked 19th in rushing yards (1,702) last year while scoring 13 rushing TDs. They gained 4.0 yards per carry, but they did tie the league high in rushes over 40 yards (5) and sixth in runs over 20 yards (14). The Jets finished 24th in passing yards (3,182) with 19 TDs and 12 Ints. Their offensive line allowed 47 sacks and 97 QB hits.
LT Kelvin Beachum signed a three-year $24 million deal in March of 2017. His game was at its best in 2014 with the Jaguars. At best, Beachum is a league average player at his position with more downside than upside. Last year he struggled in run blocking with strength in pass protection.
LG James Carpenter was the Jets’ best offensive lineman in 2016 while offering upside as run blocking. Unfortunately, Carpenter delivered another poor season in all areas last season. Seattle selected him in the first round in 2011 (25th).
C Spencer Long will compete with Travis Swanson for the starting job this year. Both players at their best are league average options while grading well below league average in most seasons. Long looks to be the better option vs. the pass.
RG Brian Winters was a bust again in 2017 after being a league average player in 2017. In most season, Winters underperformed his NFL draft value (third round 2013).
RT Brandon Shell battled a shoulder injury after getting drafted in the 5th round in 2016. He started the last three games in 2016 due to multiple injuries on the Jets’ offensive line. He may have upside as a run blocker, but his technique isn’t where it needs to be which invites some risk in pass protection. Many of his battles will result in draws, so a running back will have a small window to clear the defensive line on his side of the field. Last season Shell missed multiple games while failing as run blocker.
There’s a ton of disaster on this offensive line which doesn’t bold well for an incoming rookie QB. Sometimes the talent around the line can cover up some holes. The Jets don’t have an elite runner or upside at WR. New York needs an upgrade at all five spots on their offensive line.
The above data shows the strength of schedule as far as rushing attempts (RATT), rushing yards (YDS), yards per attempt rushing (YA), rushing touchdowns (TDs), completions (COMP), passing attempts (PATT), passing yards (YDS), yards per attempt passing (YA), and passing touchdowns (TDS).
This information is based on 2017, which will work as our starting point for 2018. We’ll look at all the changes on offense on each team in the NFL plus the upgrades and downgrades on each team on the defensive side. We’ll update this table when we finish the research on all 32 teams.
2017 LG Average = the league average of all stats from all 32 teams in 2017.
2017 Results = this is the results for each team in the NFL.
2017 Adjustment is based on the 2017 league average and the 2017 results for each team, this number will show if each team is above or below the league average in each stat category and the basis for the strength of schedule.
The Jets face three teams (MIN, DEN, and TEN) that have talent defending the run. Overall, they don’t play one team that has an extreme weakness defending the run.
Their passing offense has a neutral schedule. The Jaguars should shut down the Jets’ pass game with Denver and Minnesota having talent in the secondary as well. Their best two games will come against the Patriots with Detroit, Tennessee, and Indianapolis looking favorable.
New York would like to play defense at a high level leading to a balanced offense. Game score tends to hurt them, and their overall talent on offense is well below the league average. Last season the Jets ran the ball 45.6 percent of the time.
QB Sam Darnold – As a two-year starter for USC, Darnold passed for 7,229 yards with 57 TDs and 22 Ints. Sam has a good feel for the pass rush with the ability to slide in the pocket to create a longer passing window. He won’t be a running threat, but Darnold can convert scoring plays at the goal line and extend drives with his legs. If given an open field, he’ll take the long run. Most of his throws came out the shotgun. He has vision and the ability to locate his secondary receivers with quick decision making. He throws the ball well on the run while needing to improve his spiral when rushing his throw under duress. Darnold will trust his arm to make tight throws in coverage. At age 20, he looks poised to have a long career in the NFL. In 2018, Sam should get an opportunity to start many games. However, New York has a poor offensive line and a below average offense. In his first season in the league, Darnold projects to be more of a game manager on a team that wants to keep game score in line. I don’t see him starting in Week 1 and when/if he gets a starting opportunity, he will be a below par Fantasy option.
QB Josh McCown – In his 15 teams in the NFL, McCown has a 23-50 record with a boring completion rate (60.4) and a poor TD to INT ratio (97:78). Despite his poor resume, Josh played the best ball of his career at age 38 for the Jets behind a weak offensive line and questionable receiving talent. McCown completed a career-high 67.3 percent of his passes in 2017 with 18 TDs and 9 Ints. New York will give him a chance to win some games out of the gate, but the future of the franchise will steal his job at the first sign of trouble. Low upside in TDs with no upside in playable value in 2018 in the season-long games.
QB Teddy Bridgewater – After a nice season for the Vikings in 2015, Bridgewater looked on the verge of being an upside ball control QB. A preseason knee injury cost him his starting opportunity and the last two years. When at his best, Teddy had an 11-5 record in Minnesota while completing 65.3 percent of his 447 passes for 3,231 yards with 14 TDs and nine Ints. He also ran for 192 yards on 44 catches with another three TDs. His age and upside may point to him offering more to the Jets than Josh McCown as a starting QB in 2018 until Sam Darnold is ready to seize the job. Even with talent, Teddy has to prove he’s over his injury. Just a player to follow over the summer.
QB Christian Hackenberg – Over three seasons at Penn State, Hackenberg completed 56.1 percent of his passes for 8457 yards with 48 TDs and 31 Ints. His completion rate declined in each season in the college, which isn’t a great sign for his development long-term in the NFL. With no clear answer at QB headed into the draft in 2016, New York invested in Hackenberg with their second-round pick. He has NFL size (6’4” and 223 lbs.) and arm strength with solid quickness and speed. Christian shows the ability to read defenses pre-snap with the skill set to make all NFL throws. His biggest liability is his accuracy. Hackenberg needs to improve his mechanics while improving his ability to move within the pocket to limit the damage in sacks and turnovers. He will need time to develop, which puts him in line to be a long-term backup in New York.
RB Isaiah Crowell – In each of his four seasons in the NFL, Crowell saw his carries rise (148, 185, 198, and 206) while starting 32 games over the last two years. He scored 19 rushing TDs in his first 48 games, but only two TDs over a full season in 2017. Isaiah has never had over 1,000 yards rushing in a season. His pass catching ability showed growth in 2016 (40 catches for 319 yards), but Duke Johnson was the primary receiver in Cleveland over the last the last three years. In 2017, the Jets ran the ball 383 times for 1,523 yards and eight TDs. Their RBs caught 82 of 109 targets for 678 yards and one TD. I expected to have a similar role as his last two seasons with the Browns. At best, Crowell will see about 250 combined touches with about 25 coming in the passing game. He opportunity projects to about 1,100 combined yards with five to seven TDs. Weak third RB option for a Fantasy owner in PPR leagues while being projected for about ten Fantasy points per week.
RB Bilal Powell – Over the previous two seasons before 2017, Powell was at his best late in the year as a high-volume pass-catching back with early down chances after an injury to Matt Forte. Fantasy owners expected more upside out of him last year with a better path to playing time. Bilal did set a career high in rushing attempts (178), rushing yards (772), and TDs (5), but the Jets failed to get him involved in the passing game (23/170). In 2015 and 2016, Powell caught 105 of 138 combined targets for 776 yards and four TDs. His game isn’t explosive even with four runs over 40 yards in 2017. His opportunity looks shot on early downs with Crowell added to the roster, and New York would love to get Elijah McGuire move involved in the passing game. Tough call on Bilal’s value this season. Possible 125 touches for 500 yards with minimal TDs with a rebound in catches. More of an insurance policy than an upside Fantasy investment.
RB Elijah McGuire – Over four seasons at Louisiana-Lafayette, Elijah rushed for 4,301 yards with 42 rushing TDs. His yards per rush declined in each season (8.4, 7.6, 5.0, and 4.9) despite rising rushes (103, 166, 209, and 232). He finished with 130 catches for 1,394 yards and another 10 TDs with declining value in his yards per catch (17.5, 10.4, 8.9, and 8.2) in each season as well. He did play through a foot injury in 2016 that limited his explosiveness. Overall, he needs to improve his ability to pick up the blitz before playing on early downs. McGuire has more speed than short area quickness while needing to improve his vision and decision making. In his rookie season, Elijah had 105 touches for 492 combined yards with two TDs and 17 catches. He gained only 3.6 yards per rush while showing explosiveness in the passing game (10.4 yards per catch). His pass blocking came in about the same as Powell, which tells me New York will get him more involved in the passing game in 2018. Possible 50+ catches if he can handle his pass project assignments. His game should offer more overall upside than Bilal Powell as the second RB for the Jets.
Other Options: Thomas Rawls, Trenton Cannon
WR Robby Anderson – I had my doubts with Anderson in 2017, but he proved to be a much better player than I thought. He had a strong seven-game stretch (35/601/6 on 57 targets) to build Fantasy owners excitement heading to the championship round. Unfortunately, Robby struggled over his last four games (3/27, 5/40, 5/51, and 1/2) while receiving 28 targets. Anderson caught 63 of his 114 passes for 941 yards and seven TDs. He had 17 catches for over 20 yards with three catches netting 40 yards or more. Over the last year, Robby got himself in trouble twice setting up a possible suspension in 2018. His trial date for a couple of felony charges is set for August 6th, so a Fantasy owner needs to be careful when setting his draft value. Big play type WR with scoring ability. His catch rate (55.3) isn’t great, but he did draw plenty of attention for opposing team’s defense in 2017. Buy at your own risk until we have a better picture of his league issues.
WR Terrelle Pryor – After a great season at age 27 with the Browns in 2016 (77/1007/4), Pryor was bust in Washington. He finished with only 20 catches for 240 yards and a TD on 37 targets over nine games. His season ended after Week 10 with an ankle injury. The Redskins gave him 11 targets in Week 1 leading to six catches for 66 yards. In his next eight games, Terrelle had three catches or fewer in all games while never receiving more than five targets in any game. A big receiver with a short resume at age 29. Possible value based on his 2016 success, but his route running was a reason for his failed stint in Washington. I’ll set his bar at 60/900/5 while understanding the risk and reward on both sides of the equation.
WR Quincy Enunwa – Quincy missed 2017 with a neck issue. In 2016, the Jets gave Enunwa plenty of chances to prove his worth. He finished with 58 catches for 857 yards and four TDs on 105 targets as the WR3 for the Jets, which was similar to the opportunity by Jermaine Kearse last year. His downside was tied to four games with only one catch. Over the first five games, Quincy had 27 catches for 284 yards and a TD on 39 targets. From Week 6 to Week 13, he only had one game with over six targets while delivering three playable games (2/73/1, 4/93/1, and 5/109/1). His catch rate (55.2) needs improvement. Enunwa is a big WR (6’2” and 225 Lbs.) who almost offers a TE type skill set. Quincy did have four catches over 40 yards. His path points to growth, but the Jets’ WR core is much cloudier in 2018. With positive reports in August, Enunwa would be worth a late Fantasy pick.
WR Jermaine Kearse – In his five seasons in Seattle, Kearse caught 153 passes for 2,109 yards and 11 TDs on 271 targets. His low resume suggested a boring option in 2017. Jermaine ended up setting a career high in catches (65), receiving yards (810), and targets (102) with the Jets. He played well in Week 1 (7/59) and Week 2 (4/64/2). Over the next eight games, Kearse had fewer than ten Fantasy points in six games before having two great games (7/105/1 and 9/157). With Terrelle Pryor added to the roster, Jermaine should drop another notch in the receiving chain in New York unless Robby Anderson is suspended. Tough buy as a starter for a Fantasy owner without better information.
WR ArDarius Stewart – Over the last two seasons in college, Stewart caught 117 catches for 1,564 yards and 12 TDs. He’ll bring toughness to the WR position with a nice combination of power and speed. His release gives a chance to win the early edge in his routes with enough speed to beat a defender deep. New York will use him over the short areas of the field where his strength offers an edge. Stewart needs to improve his route running while adding more variety to his playmaking ability. In his rookie season, ArDarius caught six of 13 targets for 82 yards.
Other Options: Chad Hansen, Andre Roberts, Devin Smith, Charles Johnson, Charone Peake
TE Chris Herndon – Over three seasons at Miami, FL, Herndon had 86 catches for 1,048 yards and seven TDs. His best year came in 2017 (40/477/4) despite missing a couple of games. A torn MCL in November, which gives him a chance to be ready at the start of training camp. Chris will threaten defenses in the deep passing game while needing to improve his route running. His hands remain in question while offering the quickness to beat defenses in the open field or off the line of scrimmage. In 2017, the Jets’ TEs caught 70 passes for 609 yards and four TDs on 103 targets. The TE catch total was much higher than 2016 (18/173/0) and 2015 (8/95/1). Herndon doesn’t have a ton of talent blocking from the starting job, but there will be a learning curve. Only a TE2 in PPR leagues with a wide range of outcomes with falling short of expectations.
TE Clive Walford – Over his first two seasons with the Raiders, Walford caught 61 combined passes for 688 yards and six TDs on 102 passes. Oakland put him on the back burner with Jared Cook added to the roster leading to him being waved over the winter. His NFL resume looks high enough to project him as the early favorite to earn the starting job for the Jets. Clive is only worthy of being a bye week cover in PPR leagues if he’s getting starting snaps.
Other Options: Jordan Leggett, Eric Tomlinson, Neal Sterling, Bucky Hodges
K Cairo Santos – A groin injury led to Santos missing the last 13 games in 2017. The Chiefs gave Cairo an average of 36 field goal attempts over the previous two years. In 2016, Santos made a career-high 88.6 percent of his kicks. He did miss three of his 39 extra point chances while having a much shorter opportunity in kicks from 50 yards or more (2-for-2 compared to 4-of-8 in 2015). Over 53 career games, Cairo made 84.1 percent of his field goal chances and 7-for-13 from 50 yards or more. In 2017, the Jets scored 28 touchdowns while 25 of 30 field goals. Decent leg, but I don’t like New York’s offense. Matchup option only.
The Jets defense has a neutral schedule for their run defense. They face three teams (DET and MIA X 2) with poor running games. New York will have the toughest time vs. the Jaguars rushing offense.
Even with three bad matchups (DET and NE X 2) for their pass defense, the Jets have a favorable schedule defending the pass. They have seven games (CLE, IND, CHI, TEN, GB, and BUF) with weakness in the passing games, but the Colts and the Packers will be better with healthy QBs.
New York fell to 24th in rushing yards allowed (1,887) with ball carriers scoring 13 TDs. They allowed a league-high six runs over 40 yards with runners gaining 4.0 yards per rush. Their defense had 28 sacks. QBs gained 3,749 yards with 30 TDs and 11 Ints.
DE Leonard Williams becomes the top player on the defensive line in 2018 after losing Mohammed Wilkerson in the offseason. Williams is a former first-round draft pick (2015) who plays well vs. the run with 12 sacks in 48 career games. Last year Leonard hit the QB 65 times, which means is getting close to a bump in sack production.
New York added DT Henry Anderson in a deal with the Colts a 7th round pick in April to help improve the interior run defense. Anderson has three career sacks in 29 games as a rotational player. DT Stephen McLendon is a veteran run clogger with minimal value getting to the QB. All other options of the defensive line look mediocre.
LB Darron Lee set a career high in tackles (94) and sacks (3) in his second season in the NFL after getting drafted in the first round in 2016. He has a nice combination of speed and quickness with excellent vision and anticipation. Lee doesn’t have the ideal size (6’1’ and 232 lbs.) plus he needs to add more strength to win more battles at the point of contact. His style of play should work well within the Jets’ defensive structure.
LB Avery Williamson signed a three-year $22.5 million contract in March to help upgrade the second level of the defense against the run. LB Jordan Jenkins set career highs in tackles (49) and sacks (3) in his second year in the league after New York drafted him in the third round in 2016. Jenkins needs to add more upper body strength. His instincts offset his lack of quickness and speed. Jordan’s game is built on power with his best value coming close to the line of scrimmage when on the attack. LB Josh Martin had the most playing time of his career in 2017 leading to 43 tackles and 1.5 sacks. Martin tends to play better vs. the run.
S Jamal Adams proved to be well worth a first round pick after recording 83 tackles, two sacks, and six defended passes in his rookie season. Adams was very good in run support while understanding offensive play development. Adams tends to play it safe rather than leave the opening for big plays. Jamal will handle most TEs in coverage while being challenged if mismatched with top WRs. His best value will come when moving forward as an attacker.
S Marcus Maye started all 16 games after New York drafted him in the second round in 2017. Maye posted 79 tackles with two Ints and two defended passes. His best value will come as a read and react guy in coverage, but teams will look to beat him deep if he gets matchup one-on-one with a top WR. Maye reads the QB well, but the best QBs in the NFL will set him up for mistakes. Marcus has an excellent feel for the game with his judgment being one of his better assets while having enough physical talent to add value against the run. His game will offer more upside with some coaching to minimize his mistake in decision making in coverage. His season last year ranked well below the best players in the game at his position. Marcus should improve in his second year in the league.
Trumaine Johnson should be a league average CB or better after signing with New York. He has 18 Ints over his 85 career games. Over the last three seasons, Johnson has 42 defended passes with two TDs. CB Morris Claiborne played poorly in four of his last five seasons while being at his best of his career in 2016. Claiborne will be a weak link in the secondary if he repeats in failed 2017 season.
This defense is built to defend the run with limited upside rushing the QB. The CB position has one risk in coverage while the linebacking position will be challenged outside the hash marks. Low-grade Fantasy option with the right matchup if the young core plays well. The Jets’ defense will be found in the first agent pool in most leagues.
2018 NFL Team Outlooks