Zach Wilson is entering his second season with the New York Jets, a pivotal one in his development. General manager Joe Douglas has allocated a great amount to the collection of talent surrounding his young signal-caller. Let’s take an in-depth look at all of the pieces surrounding Wilson.
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Offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur
Starting out with the coaching Wilson has, there is tremendous optimism with Mike LaFleur. In his first year calling plays, LaFleur made significant strides as the season went on. Early on in the season, he showed his leadership when things were not going well. He stayed true to the process, and things ultimately started to come together. He proved his innovative mind with creative play designs. LaFleur comes from good company with his brother Matt and seven years under Kyle Shanahan. LaFleur is the right offensive coordinator to help Wilson grow and maximize his potential.
The top three running backs at Wilson’s disposal make for a good trio with potential. It is hard to ask for a better and younger running back duo than Breece Hall and Michael Carter. The first and second-year runners complement one another perfectly. In Hall, size and speed are added to the Jets backfield. Carter is built lower to the ground and very quick. They each have contact balance, receiving, and pass blocking ability. Both Hall and Carter fit the LaFleur zone running scheme. Tevin Coleman is the veteran of the group who provides quality depth. He has a ton of experience in the offensive system with LaFleur. Coleman still has great speed and can help as a pass-catching back.
Elijah Moore, Garrett Wilson, and Corey Davis are an exciting starting group of wide receivers for Wilson. Davis is the experienced target who thrives on the intermediate level. Moore brings exceptional route running ability with his speed and quickness. His hands are close to automatic. Wilson can help as a contested-catch receiver in one-on-one situations and in the red zone. He runs great deep-level routes as well. Braxton Berrios is a solid fourth option. Berrios can play in the slot or be utilized in a gadget role. Also, in the screen game, he can be dynamic after the catch. The fifth receiver of the group should be Denzel Mims. He is the size and speed player of this receiving core. Mims has the talent to win downfield outside the numbers and in the red zone. This group is more than capable of getting the job done for Wilson.
Out of all the position groups around Wilson, this one is easily the most improved from the offseason. C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin were both signed in free agency to three-year deals. With Uzomah, size, speed, yards after the catch, and vertical ability are his most notable attributes. Conklin is a great route-runner with sure hands and looks to be entering his prime. Then, in the draft, the Jets selected Jeremy Ruckert in the third round. Ruckert has the size, toughness, and athletic ability to help early on. To top it all off, all three of these players can help as both run and pass blockers.
The five starters along the Jets’ offensive line are George Fant, Laken Tomlinson, Connor McGovern, Alijah Vera-Tucker, and Mekhi Becton. With a healthy Becton and the addition of Tomlinson, this group has what it takes to do a great job for Wilson. Fant, Vera-Tucker, and McGovern are three respected players. The Jets know what they have in them upfront. The depth of the offensive line is also better. It is rounded out by Max Mitchell, Nate Herbig, and Dan Feeney. Mitchell is a rookie tackle with upside. Herbig and Feeney will backup on the interior of the line. Both players are relatively experienced for backups. They each offer the versatility and durability needed.
Across the board, it is hard to find a specific weakness with what Douglas has built around Wilson. The starting talent and even the depth are solid and improved from a year ago. Now, it will be important for the unit to stay healthy. If so, Wilson has been set up for success by Douglas and the Jets. Wilson has the talent to take a big year-two jump.