The New York Jets roster in 2022 featured their most impressive collection of players in years. Despite falling short of the playoffs in frustrating fashion, the talent on this football team this season was there to make the postseason. In this top 20 power ranking of the best Jets from the year, one could fairly make the point that each of the top seven listed below played All-Pro level ball or close to it.
Before diving into who the top 20 Jets were in 2022, it is worth noting that there were some players who just missed the list and were hard to leave off. This was a Jets football team that was not just top-heavy in talent.
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Honorable Mentions: Bam Knight and Duane Brown
The top two players to miss the cut were undrafted rookie running back Bam Knight and 15-year veteran left tackle, Duane Brown.
With Brown, the execution in the run-and-pass game may not have been great, but his commitment to the Jets and the availability he somehow provided were invaluable and worthy of being mentioned here. The Jets signed Brown in the middle of training camp. In just a few weeks, he landed on injured reserve and, with a guaranteed salary, could have shut it down for the year and got surgery.
Instead, Brown opted to fight through it, providing tremendous reliability for a position group decimated by injuries all year. Despite having a banged-up shoulder at 37 years old, Brown did not miss a snap from Week 5 through 16. Had he not played, who knows who would have replaced him? Brown is more than deserving of recognition for battling for the Jets all season.
Then, with Knight, the first-year player started on the practice squad before he was elevated to the active roster in Week 12. In his first three games, Knight recorded an impressive 298 total yards (230 rushing). He finished his rookie year with 85 carries, 300 yards (3.5 per rush), and a touchdown. Knight also caught 13 of 14 targets for 100 yards.
In seven games, he finished with 400 all-purpose yards (57.1 per game). Knight showcased his explosion, one-cut ability, the ability to make pursuing defenders miss, and reliable hands as a receiver. He turns 22 this offseason and should be an exciting piece to this offense in 2023.
New York Jets Top 20 Players in 2022:
20. Mike White, QB
For the second straight year, the Jets went to Mike White mid-way through the season, and he delivered with some promising excitement. In his first three starts, White amassed 952 yards passing (317.3 per game), averaging 7.4 yards per attempt. He showed improvement in the turnover department compared to 2021, throwing just two interceptions in his first three starts. The lone issue was that all three of his touchdown passes came in his first start.
White gave the Jets a noticeable spark when inserted as the starter in Week 12. The team rallies around his leadership, poise, and, as much as anything, his toughness. White has quietly been with the Jets for a while, since 2019. He is now a free agent, and it would certainly be tough to see him go.
19. Nate Herbig, RG
The Jets made one shrewd waiver claim in early May when Nate Herbig was made available. At that time, he was a terrific depth piece who would provide a strong presence to complete the interior of the offensive line. Well, it only took until Week 4 for the Jets to need Herbig to fill in, and he did so admirably.
He went to play 100% of the Jets snaps from Week 4 through 9 and then 12 through 16. Herbig started 11 games for the Jets in 2022 despite being banged up (shin and ankle). There was a clear drop-off in the few games he missed. He proved that he can be a starter and a high-level backup. Herbig is a free agent and only turns 25 in July. The Jets should have interest in retaining him.
18. Tyler Conklin, TE
Perhaps it was not a great start for Tyler Conklin with the Jets, but he still did give the team the best production it has had from a tight end in a long time in just his first year. Conklin was available every week for the Jets. He wrapped up the year with 87 targets, 58 catches, 552 yards (9.5 per catch), and one touchdown.
Conklin recorded 40 yards or more in six games. In 10 games, he caught three or more passes. He contributed as a run-and-pass blocker. Conklin turns 28 this summer and will be key to the Jets’ passing game next year.
17. Connor McGovern, C
For the third straight year, Connor McGovern gave the Jets at least 15 starts. This year, he not only played in all 17 games but 100% of the offensive snaps (1,114). He had great moments in the running game utilizing his athleticism.
The consistent availability McGovern has proven to give makes him one valuable free agent. Coming off a solid season, it will be fascinating to see if the Jets keep McGovern around in the middle of their offensive line.
16. Greg Zuerlein, K
The Jets signed Greg Zuerlein in free agency, and he provided some of the best, most reliable kicking this team has had since 2018. He went 28-29 on extra points (96.6%) and 30-37 on field goals (81.1%).
Zuerlein made six kicks from 50 yards or more. Inside 50, he was near automatic, going 24-26 (92.3%). He is a pending free agent who the Jets should certainly have interest in re-signing.
15. Kwon Alexander, LB
For the second year in a row, Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh got significant value on a summer signing. In 2021, it was Morgan Moses. This year, it was Kwon Alexander.
He brought the contagious energy he is well-known for. Alexander was available in all 17 games. His speed and physicality were well on display. He wrapped up 2022 with 69 tackles (six for loss) on 559 snaps. Alexander is yet another important free agent the Jets have this offseason.
14. Sheldon Rankins, DT
Sheldon Rankins put together a very nice year, his second with the Jets. He was essential to the run defense each and every week. Rankins did make his presence felt as a pass rusher, too, posting three sacks and seven quarterback hits in 15 games played.
He asserted himself alongside Quinnen Williams as one of the top defensive tackle duos in football. Rankins is a free agent who will turn 29 in April and someone who the Jets could surely use next year.
13. Justin Hardee, ST
In year two with the Jets, core special teamer Justin Hardee earned a Pro Bowl appearance for his strong coverage on punts. He played 80% of the Jets’ special teams snaps (367), recorded 14 total tackles, and forced one fumble.
Hardee plays with all the effort and heart he can on special teams for the Jets. He is a core leader, strong presence in the locker room, and a captain in both of his years with the Jets. In 2023, Hardee will remain the Jets leader on special teams.
12. Bryce Huff, DE
Bryce Huff brought tons of excitement to the Jets’ pass rush in 2022. After being inactive for whatever reason to start the year (the first three weeks), Huff played the final 14 games and constantly made his presence known.
Huff played 191 snaps, recorded 36 pressures, 3.5 sacks, and one forced fumble. His fast get-off, closing speed, bend, and variety of moves were all on display. Huff has a fun skill set on the edge and only turns 25 this off-season.
11. Carl Lawson, DE
In his first year coming off an Achilles injury, Carl Lawson, while maybe not as dominant as some had hoped, did give the Jets some of their best edge pass-rushing production in a while. Lawson was available for all 17 games, had 49 pressures, and seven sacks. A more than respectable season.
The big question looming now, entering this offseason, is his status with the team for 2023. Per Over The Cap, the Jets can free up $15.4 million by releasing Lawson, who enters his age 28 season. Do the Jets go that route, look to restructure, or have him take a pay cut but guarantee his salary? It will be fascinating.
10. Quincy Williams, LB
Quincy Williams put together a very good second season with the Jets. He cut down on the mental errors in a big way, which in part, allowed the speed and physicality he is gifted with to take over. In 15 games, Williams had 106 tackles (74 solo, 12 for loss), three sacks, and six quarterback hits.
He made plays in the backfield and going to sideline-to-sideline. Williams always plays with inspiring effort. He is now a free agent and turns 27 in late August. As a likely ascending player with now comfortability in the scheme, it will be intriguing to see how hard the Jets attempt to retain Williams.
9. Michael Carter II, CB
In his second year with the Jets, Michael Carter II was consistently reliable for the Jets’ fourth-ranked defense, playing some great football. Carter played in all 17 games, wrapping up 63 tackles (three for loss), with two interceptions, and nine passes defended.
Carter proved himself as one of the best slot cornerbacks in football this year and completed the Jets’ elite cornerback trio. He turns only 24 in March and will be a crucial piece to this Jets’ defense in 2023.
8. John Franklin-Myers, DE
It was yet another productive year, the third in a row for John Franklin-Myers with the Jets. He concluded 2022 with five sacks, 19 quarterback hits, and four tackles for loss. His versatility between edge and defensive tackle was utilized all year. Franklin-Myers started outside on early downs and did a great job against the run before teeing off inside as a pass rusher.
He is still only 26 years old, and for the fourth straight year, Franklin-Myers will be a core asset to the Jets’ defense.
7. C.J. Mosley, LB
The Jets’ defensive captain put together a stellar 2022 season, earning Pro Bowl and second-team All-Pro honors. C.J. Mosley played all 17 games for the Jets, tallying up a whopping 158 tackles (99 solo, five for loss). He made plays on the ball in coverage, with seven passes defended and one interception.
Mosley brings elite intangibles and intelligence to the table for the Jets and is the perfect lead communicator for the defense. He should have another quality year in him for the Jets in 2023.
6. Breece Hall, RB
The excitement Breece Hall was bringing to the Jets offense was through the roof before a tough season-ending ACL injury. He played in seven games and had 681 total yards. Of those 681, Hall picked up 463 on the ground with four rushing touchdowns and averaged 5.8 yards per rush. He showed his complete skill set as well, catching 19 passes for 218 yards and one receiving score.
Hall is still only 21 years old. As a first-year player, he made quite the impact. He has a special combination of size and speed. Hopefully, Hall is feeling better and continuing to make progress in his rehab.
5. Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL
There was no Jets player more valuable in the first seven games of 2022 than Alijah Vera-Tucker. He played three different positions in three weeks and somehow remained dominant at each one. His high-level run blocking continued from his rookie year, and as a pass protector, Vera-Tucker showed improvement.
Along with Hall’s Week 7 injury, losing Vera-Tucker simply crushed the Jets’ hopes of making the playoffs. In 23 games played for the Jets, Vera-Tucker has started at four positions along the offensive line and has been one of the team’s best players.
4. DJ Reed, CB
What a first year with the Jets DJ Reed just had. Reed played in 100% of the snaps in all 17 games the Jets had (1,136). He racked up 12 passes defended and one interception. His coverage was sticky all year long, and he made plays on the football at the catch point. The physicality of Reed was also routinely on display. He finished 2022 with 80 total tackles.
He may not have garnered the honors of Pro Bowl or All-Pro, but there is no denying Reed played up to that standard on a week-to-week basis for the Jets’ defense.
3. Garrett Wilson, WR
Garrett Wilson generated loads of elation to the Jets’ offense through just his first 17 games. He was featured in a big way for a first-year player, with 147 targets, and delivered. Wilson concluded his rookie season with 83 catches, 1,103 yards (13.3 per catch), and four touchdowns.
After the unfortunate injuries to Hall and Vera-Tucker, Wilson was clearly the Jets’ best offensive player. He did more than enough to be the Offensive Rookie of the Year. Wilson will be the unquestioned catalyst for the Jets’ passing game next season.
2. Sauce Gardner, CB
The Jets’ first selection in the 2022 NFL draft earned a reputation as a top-flight cornerback in the NFL as a rookie. Sauce Gardner led the league in passes defended with 20. He also had two interceptions, both of which were in divisional wins at home.
Gardner is representing the Jets in the Pro Bowl and as a first-team All-Pro. His physical and athletic gifts are special, but it’s his mental makeup, as much as anything, that stood out as a first-year player.
1. Quinnen Williams, DT
The competition with Gardner was tough, but Quinnen Williams takes the number one spot as the Jets’ best player in 2022. He wrapped up his fourth year as a Jet playing in 16 games, recording 12 sacks and 71 pressures (4.4 per game). With his special play, Williams and Gardner got the Jets recognition on both the Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro roster.
Williams simply crushed it all year long for the Jets as both a pass rusher and run defender. He was not only the Jets’ best player or one of the best defensive tackles but players across the entire National Football League.