The 5-2 New York Jets had some deflating injury updates provided on Breece Hall and Alijah Vera-Tucker Monday. Following a fourth-straight win, head coach Robert Saleh stated that the two young players will be sidelined for the rest of 2022.
Before the page turns with this upcoming week’s game, the special years had by Hall, and Vera-Tucker deserve an in-depth review. Hall, a 21-year-old rookie, and Vera-Tucker, a second-year player at 23, were both selected by the Jets in trade-ups over the team’s well-documented last two drafts. Hall and Vera-Tucker were arguably the Jets’ two best players on the way to this incredible start. While their season-ending injuries are gutting, they both have extremely promising long-term futures with the Jets that are exciting to ponder on.
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Reviewing Breece Hall’s rookie year:
Much elation was provided to the Jets fan base following what was an already thrilling first round when Joe Douglas made the move up to get Hall at the top of the second round.
In just his first seven NFL games, Hall proved himself as well as he possibly could.
Hall concludes his first year with a stat line of 80 rushing attempts, 463 yards (5.8 per carry), four touchdowns on the ground, and his longest run went for 62 yards. He had a longest carry of at least 14 yards in every game, showing his big-play threat ability.
As a receiver, Hall had 31 targets, 19 catches, 218 yards (11.5 per catch), one touchdown, and a longest catch of 79 yards. In total, 681 yards from scrimmage in not even seven whole games. Just a remarkable beginning to the young career of Hall.
He recorded one game of 100 yards rushing. It was in Week 6 that Hall ran for 116 yards on 20 carries (5.8 per rush), with a long 34-yard score. It is worth noting in not even a half played in Week 7, Hall put up 72 yards on the ground with his longest run of the year, 62 yards, for the Jets’ only touchdown in their fifth win.
Hall had another game in which he posted triple-digit scrimmage yards, nearly getting to 200. In Week 5, Hall had 100 receiving yards, with one catch going for 79. He also had 97 yards rushing with a score.
There were two games in which Hall had six receptions, proving his pass-catching reliability well. He had at least 38 receiving yards in each of those games.
In four of the six games, Hall completed, he averaged at least 4.9 yards a carry. He was on pace for 1,124 rushing yards in 2022. Hall was well on his way to over 1,600 total yards as well. He was running away with the Offensive Rookie of the Year by the week. Certainly, an unfortunate sequence for him to go down with an ACL and meniscus injury.
He was just starting to heat up and execute at an elite level. Over the Jets’ four-game winning streak, he had a rushing touchdown in each game.
Hall undoubtedly offers a complete skill set. Whether it be physically, with his size and power. Athletically, with his speed and quickness. Or mentally, with his vision and natural feel for the game.
As stated throughout, with the long yardage gained on plays, Hall is a top-tier big-play threat for the Jets offense. He is incredibly young, only turning 22 late next May. Hall has one big future ahead of him with the Jets.
Alijah Vera-Tucker’s exceptional year two:
Prior to the kickoff of the 2022 Jets season, Vera-Tucker moved from left to right guard. Not only his positional flexibility but his selflessness to do whatever for this football team cannot be understated.
Going back to 2019, Vera-Tucker’s redshirt sophomore year at USC up until this year with the Jets, it was four seasons in a row he was starting at a different position.
Then, after just three weeks, with the Jets decimated by injuries to their top three offensive tackles, Vera-Tucker not only changed positions on the line but moved to the opposite side, at left tackle. There, he filled in seamlessly and was immensely valuable in the Jets’ Week 4 win.
The following week, Vera-Tucker stayed at tackle but now moved to the right side, where he yet again did a sound job.
In just 23 games started for the Jets, Vera-Tucker has played at four different positions along the offensive line. That alone can make him this football team’s most valuable player.
Going even further than his versatility was his dominant play, regardless of position. Vera-Tucker was a sure thing as a pass blocker allowing just one sack in 432 snaps played. Mistakes were kept at a minimum, only committing one penalty.
With his physicality, athleticism, and size, Vera-Tucker is a difference-maker in the running game for the Jets as well.
Vera-Tucker ultimately embodies everything that the Jets should look for in a player. Toughness, unselfishness, talent, work ethic, and All-Pro caliber play are what Vera-Tucker already has a reputation for.
Similar to Hall, Vera-Tucker has youth on his side, just turning 24 in the middle of next June. His long-term future with the Jets could not be brighter. Both Hall and Vera-Tucker are key players moving forward for the Jets.