Jordan Whitehead was one of the New York Jets’ early free agent signings this busy offseason. The Jets added Whitehead on a two-year deal. Whitehead is a very young player. He will play this upcoming season, his fifth in the NFL, at 25 years old. The Jets needed at least one starting safety this offseason. Whitehead will play at the strong safety position for the Jets. In 2022, Whitehead is poised to have a big first year with the Jets.
Brief review of 2021:
Whitehead started all 14 games he played last year. He continued to build on his success from 2020. Last season, Whitehead had 73 total tackles, five tackles for loss, eight passes defended, two interceptions, a forced fumble, and a quarterback hit. He made some impressive plays and had moments where he was a top contributor to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense. Overall, Whitehead had a very good 2021.
Whitehead has a lot of the needed attributes to play as a strong safety in the box for the Jets’ defense. He is 5-foot-10 and 198 pounds. Whitehead is strong and plays a physical brand of football. His mindset is something the Jets’ defense had to add. He is tough, always plays with effort, and is a willing tackler who can make his presence felt. He is terrific as a run defender. While deployed in the box, Whitehead offers the ability to play the run sideline-to-sideline, he can get into the backfield to make plays as well, he is able to pressure the quarterback, and also sit underneath in zone coverage using his ability to read and react.
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Projected role with the New York Jets:
Entering 2022, Whitehead is unquestionably the Jets’ best safety. As mentioned above, he will start at strong safety. With the amount of cover 3 the Jets are likely going to run, Whitehead will predominately play in the box, close to the line of scrimmage. He should be a key run-stopper for the Jets’ defense. Lining up in the box should enable the relentless pursuit he plays with to be on display.
2022 stat projection:
Whitehead has had 69 to 76 tackles all four years of his career. He should have another 70 to 75 tackle season. Whitehead had five tackles for loss in 2021 and nine in 2020. He should record at least five tackles for loss this year. His passes defended amount should be over five (eight in 2021). He has recorded two interceptions each of the last two seasons. Having another two interception season or possibly building on that and even getting up to three would be great. In terms of impact plays, Whitehead should have a sack, forced fumble, and a quarterback hit all at some point too.
Final preview thoughts:
Whitehead will be a big and exciting addition for the Jets. He is tough and physical with a presence the Jets defense needs. Expect him to make his impact felt, especially as a run defender. Whitehead is a young 25-year-old player set to enter his prime years. As a result, he has the opportunity to establish himself as a long-term player for the Jets. In the end, Whitehead will give the Jets a great year one in 2022.