While the New York Jets have strengths across-the-board, they do have several weaknesses that could hurt them in 2020. The secondary is a bit thin at the cornerback position, especially after releasing Trumaine Johnson, who failed to earn his keep as the number one option on the defense. The pass rush is also a bit tumultuous, but the Jets took to the draft to try and att competition.
Of course, stating a player is a steal is always optimistic, but the Jets landed two high-upside players that could be immediate starters in the NFL.
1. Bryce Hall
Hall was drafted in the fifth round, and there are a number of analysts who coined him as a potential steal. Injuries derailed him in his senior year with Virginia, and the Jets took advantage of that, landing him in the later rounds. Some projected at Hall as a potential first-round pick if he remained healthy. He’s one of the best man-coverage corners coming out of college and recorded the most pass breakups last season in all of collegiate football.
Scouts are excited about the potential he brings to the NFL, but he does have some weaknesses that require refinement. His lack of ball skills and experience in zone coverage could hold him back a bit, but his strength in man should match up well with the defense Gregg Williams tends to utilize – a nice dosage of off-ball-man.
With Johnson leaving the Jets, Hall is expected to take a more in-depth role quickly. I believe they will allow him to develop earlier in his career, hopefully putting him in a starting position in 2021. However, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of him earning starting reps early on considering the lack of talent at the position. The Jets currently have Pierre Desir, Quincy Wilson, Arthur Maulet, Bless Austin, and Hall, as their options at corner.
2. Jabari Zuniga
Zuniga is an exciting pass rusher coming out of Florida. In 2018, he posted 45 total tackles, 11 tackles for loss, and 6.5 sacks. However, injury significantly hurt his draft stock, and the New York Jets eventually landed him in the third round. Jabari is a talented athlete with explosive traits, with the capabilities of emerging as a potential start early on in his career.
His strength at the line of scrimmage and aggressive mentality allow him to dominate blockers. His build allows him to play multiple positions, as his length and thick frame give him the necessary tangibles to hold his own.
Zuniga’s motor promotes a more dynamic pass rush style, as he often burns out due to fatigue. Overall, I like his physical abilities and desire to win in the trenches, but he needs a bit more development, especially after coming off a significant ankle injury in 2019. He has incredible upside, similar to Hall, meaning the Jets could’ve landed two solid players on defense moving forward.