The New York Jets lacked an exciting offense filled with youth for quite some time. Over the last three drafts, Joe Douglas has done a respectable job of changing the landscape of the Jets’ offense.
Since the 2020 draft, four first-round picks went toward the offense. Two very early second-round selections were spent on skill talent. Lastly, a late third and early fourth went toward another two skill position players. All eight of these players will play the 2022 season at 23-years-old or younger.
Before reviewing the players in-depth, it is worth noting that offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur is young and innovative himself. He is only 35-years-old. LaFleur is someone all Jets fans are optimistic about. As a first-time coordinator last year, he showed growth and put together some incredible games calling plays throughout the second half of last season. His system is quarterback-friendly. It starts with running the football and leads to play-action off it. LaFleur is talented and has a promising future.
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Assessing the Jets’ offensive core
The Jets’ eight young offensive players are Zach Wilson, Breece Hall, Michael Carter, Elijah Moore, Garrett Wilson, Jeremy Ruckert, Mekhi Becton, and Alijah Vera-Tucker.
All the attention is on Wilson as he enters year two as the hopeful franchise quarterback. He will turn 23-years-old in August. If Wilson continues to build on a few of his strong performances late in his rookie year, he can lead the Jets forward. Wilson has the arm strength, mobility, work ethic, and leadership to turn the Jets around.
There is a great reason for excitement in the Jets backfield with Hall and Carter. Hall just turned 21-years-old, and Carter will play this season at 23. Douglas traded up two selections early in the second round to land Hall. Carter fell to the Jets in the fourth round last year. The two can both contribute in the passing game, have similar attributes as runners with their vision and contact balance, and they complement each other perfectly with their size. This year should just be the start of something fun with Hall and Carter.
The Jets also have a young wide receiver duo with significant upside in Moore and Wilson. Moore will play this season at 22-years-old and was one of the early second-round picks who surprisingly fell to the Jets. Wilson was just drafted 10th overall and turns 22 next month. The two both offer 4.3 speed, big-play threat ability, slot versatility, and are dynamic after the catch. Wilson offers a ton as a contested-catch receiver with his rare body control. Moore runs fantastic routes and has very reliable hands. As first and second-year players, Moore and Wilson bring immense elation to the Jets’ offense.
Ruckert was picked by his childhood team late in the third round this year. He has the chance to be the best tight end the Jets have drafted since Dustin Keller. In August, Ruckert turns 22. His ability as both a run and pass blocker will be apparent from the start. With more opportunities, he can be an impactful receiver. The talent and toughness are there for Ruckert to be a consistent asset to the Jets over the long haul.
Finally, on the offensive line, Becton and Vera-Tucker will both play this season at 23. They can each be very dominant run blockers. During Becton’s rookie season, he showed all the promise you could ask for. Now back healthy, he should get back to form. His massive size, paired with his athleticism, is special. Vera-Tucker seems destined to be a reliable Jet for many years. He proved himself well as a rookie and should continue to improve.