New York Jets 2021 Draft Targets: Micah Parsons

Micah Parsons

Despite the enjoyment of August baseball, it’s never too soon to talk about the next NFL Draft. The New York Jets will certainly need to prep for this upcoming draft, as they’ll now have two first-round selections following the Jamal Adams trade. Judging by the state of the league, it also stands as a very real possibility that the Jets are drafting near the top of the order. So, I wanted to begin highlighting a couple of targets for the Jets in the 2021 draft.

Who is Micah Parsons?

Micah Parsons has been a member of the Penn State Nittany Lions since 2018. From Harrisburg High School, Parsons was a highly-touted athlete in his recruiting class. As he’s transitioned over the past two seasons to college football, he found his niche as a new age linebacker. Similar to Isaiah Simmons in last year’s class, Micah can do it all.

He’s a tackling machine, a threat in the box, and brings solid coverage abilities to the table. Personally, I firmly believed that with a strong season in 2020-21 he could have been a candidate as a top 5 pick. Instead, Micah chose to opt-out for the greater good of his child and the rest of his family. So, Micah will now turn his attentions to training for the NFL Draft, where he will still be picked early with solid combine and pro day showings.

Just How Good Is Micah?

Micah has been an absolute beast since showing up to University Park. In his freshman year, Micah put up pretty solid numbers with 82 tackles, 4.0 TFLs, 1.5 sacks, and 2 Forced Fumbles. Micah’s biggest gain from that season was his experience on the field and the knowledge he gained on how to develop further as a linebacker who can do it all. Then, last season, he EXPLODED.

Micah had 109 tackles, 14 TFLs, 5 sacks, 4 Forced Fumbles, and 2 Fumble Recoveries. He finished 3rd in the Big Ten in tackles, 6th in Solo tackles, 2nd in assists and 10th in TFLs. He was highly regarded, but his performance in the Cotton Bowl launched him to superstardom. Parsons ended up with a stat line of 14 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 3 TFLs, and 2 forced fumbles. Parsons blew the college football world away and has already solidified himself as a future star in the NFL.

How Micah Could Fit With The Jets

Micah Parsons is the kind of player who could be the captain of the defense for the next 15 years. As a linebacker hybrid, he would add a similar value to what Jamal Adams brought to the team. Micah would be a building block as a leader for the long term. It would also make the possibility of moving C.J. Mosley a lot more feasible. The Jets would be able to free a load of cap and have a future leader with the Parsons move.

Obviously, a lot of things would need to fall the right way for Micah to be wearing the Green and White, but hypothetically, he could make sense in the organization. My only worry with any future defensive piece is he may overplay his contract worth, and the team may continue to flounder, and the Jets would have another Jamal situation on their hands.

New York Jets: Healthy linebackers can make all the difference

The New York Jets‘ linebacker group was riddled with injuries last season. Newly acquired C.J. Mosley suffered a groin injury in Week 1 that kept him out much of the season. Avery Williamson missed the entire season after tearing his ACL in the preseason. Those two injuries, while not decimating the entire group, had a huge impact on the group and defense as a whole.

 

What a healthy C.J. Mosley can do

People may have forgotten, but when Mosley was in the game Week 1 against Buffalo last season, he was playing great football. He had 6 total tackles, 2 passes defended, a fumble recovery and a pick-six. He accumulated those numbers while playing only 70% of the defensive snaps. When he went out, the feel of the defense drastically changed, at least to a certain viewer.

Even if Mosley isn’t at the exact level of production he was at with Baltimore a few seasons ago, he can still be dominant, as shown in the game mentioned above. While with the Ravens, he was selected to four Pro Bowls in five seasons. Across those five seasons, he amassed 579 total tackles, 9 interceptions and 8.5 sacks. Those are great numbers for most players and positions, including linebacker.

A healthy C.J. Mosley can easily get 100 tackles, a few interceptions and sacks, plus other impact plays the stats may not show. Aside from the stats, Mosley adds an established Pro Bowl centerpiece to Gregg Williams’ defense.

 

What a healthy Avery Williamson can do

After spending the first four years of his career in Tennessee, Williamson’s first season as a Jet in 2018 was the best of his career. He had a career-high in tackles with 120 and also had a career-high in passes defended with 6. He also was a major anchor in the middle of the defense.

Williamson is somewhat of an underrated player in conversations about top linebackers. Of course, he has not been to a Pro Bowl so that argues against him, but he is a strong number two alongside Mosley, to say the least. He is a good tackler with great sideline-to-sideline movement and ability.

If words aren’t enough, the stats should do the trick. On the flip side of the 120 tackles, he had just 5 missed tackles. That means he made the tackle 96% of the time. If you compare that to the great season that Bobby Wagner had for the Seahawks last season, the numbers are similar. Wagner, who is widely considered the best linebacker in football, had 159 tackles and 10 missed tackles. That means he made the tackles 94% of the time, slightly lower than Williamson.

While Avery Williamson may not be a star linebacker, he is a good player who can help make a duo with C.J. Mosley one of the best in the league.

 

Outside linebacker

With Mosley and Williamson holding down middle linebacker most of the time, outside linebacker will mostly be held down by one player: Jordan Jenkins. As of right now, Jenkins seems to be the only lock for the 53-man roster at this position.

Jenkins has played all four years of his career with the Jets. However, he has never started all 16 games in a season. He started 13 games last season and had just 32 total tackles, the lowest of his career. However, he improved greatly in other areas. He had 13 quarterback hits and career-highs in both sacks and tackles-for-loss, with 8 and 9 respectively. So, while he doesn’t rack up a large number of tackles, he gets a lot of action behind the line of scrimmage.

While Mosley and Williamson try to shut down the middle of the field, Jordan Jenkins can provide a nice amount of pressure behind the line.

 

Total impact

With Jenkins missing some time last season with a calf injury, Mosley missing time with a groin injury and Williamson tearing his ACL, the group was never at full strength. If they can all stay healthy, the linebacker group can be among the best in the league.

With a couple of sure tacklers and some decent pass rush, the rest of the defense could be under less pressure. With a relatively unproven cornerback group and uneasiness at safety with Jamal Adams at the moment, linebacker can be the one group that holds down everyone else on defense for the New York Jets.

 

New York Jets: Defensive expectations for upcoming season

New York Jets, Jamal Adams

The New York Jets‘ defense played well last season, ranking seventh in the NFL in fewest yards allowed. The defense kept the team in games and was one of the few somewhat-consistent areas of the team. The team should be bolstered with some new additions, both in the draft and free agency, and some returning players. I won’t mention every player, but let’s take a look at the expectations for each defensive position group for this upcoming campaign:

This is assuming no additions or changes will be made from this point, i.e. Jamal Adams will be on the team

 

Defensive Line

The defensive line had some positives, and negatives, last season. The main positive is that they contributed greatly to allowing the second-fewest amount of rushing yards last season, behind only the Buccaneers. The line, led by Steve McLendon and Quinnen Williams played well in that regard. McLendon totaled 36 tackles and 2.5 sacks while Williams produced 28 total tackles, one fumble recovery and 2.5 sacks as well. Keep in mind, Williams played in only 13 games last season, as a rookie, due to an ankle injury which kept him off the field weeks two, three and four. Barring any injuries or suspension, he should be expected to improve. He should be expected to total around 40 tackles and 5 sacks across a full season in year two.

One player I expect to get more consistent playing time is Foley Fatukasi. The third-year man out of UConn played in 14 games last season, totaling 26 tackles, in which 7 were for a loss, and a sack. To top it off, from weeks six through nine, he was the third-highest graded defensive lineman in football, behind only Aaron Donald and Calais Campbell. That is some outstanding company to be in, especially for someone who is mostly a rotational player. As a result, I believe he gets more consistent playing time, although he will not be a starter.

The team also added defensive end Jabari Zuniga in the third round of the draft. In 42 collegiate games at Florida, he totaled 118 tackles, in which 34.5 were for a loss, and 18.5 sacks. Depending on his field time and progression, he can add somewhat of an edge rush, which the defense needs. Overall, expect the run defense to remain in the top-five.

 

Linebacker

The linebacker group is going to be an interesting one leading up to, and throughout, the season. The group, led by C.J. Mosley and Avery Williamson, could be set up for a strong campaign. Both players are coming off of injury-riddled seasons and should be expected to bounce back. Mosley played in just two games while dealing with a recurring groin injury. In the first game of the season against the Buffalo Bills, Mosley showed why he was signed to lead the linebacker group. Before leaving the game, he totaled 6 tackles, a fumble recovery and a pick-six. If he remains healthy and plays all 16 games, Mosley should be expected to total no less than 90 tackles and a couple of sacks and interceptions. He should have a well-rounded season as he is accustomed to having.

Avery Williamson missed all of last season due to a torn ACL. The year before, he totaled 120 tackles, 6 for a loss, and 3 sacks. There’s no reason to believe that, if he’s healthy, he won’t be near those numbers again. While he may not exactly replicate them due to the number of talented linebackers around him, he should be able to put up numbers near those that Mosley should be expected to.

The team brought back a few players from last season during free agency as well. They brought back James Burgess, Jordan Jenkins and Neville Hewitt. Jenkins, an outside linebacker, had a career-high in sacks last season with eight. His returning outside rush will be one of the top options this upcoming season. For a team that doesn’t have the strongest presence of outside pass rush, Jenkins returning was a nice touch. He shouldn’t be expected to repeat and have a career-high in sacks again, but he should be expected to have between 5 and 6 sacks easily. As for Hewitt, he played the most snaps out of any Jets linebacker last season with 718. He shouldn’t be expected to play the same amount or even have the same amount of production, especially if the main starters remain on the field. He should be a rotational player.

 

Cornerback

The cornerback group played better than many people thought they did. With that being said, they were a middle-of-the-pack group. The team ranked 16th in the league in passing yards allowed per game. The group, led largely by Brian Poole last season, has him returning on a one-year deal. Poole is arguably their best cornerback and should be expected to retain that title throughout the season. He should be expected to have a slight increase in passes defended with more depth and talent around him in the secondary.

The Jets also added veteran Pierre Desir to the group. Desir, who recently played for the Colts, is not necessarily a team-changing addition. However, he does add experience and depth to the thinnest part of the defense.

One of the most interesting additions to the cornerback group is rookie Bryce Hall. Before the 2019 season, Hall was projected to be a potential first-round draft pick by some mock drafts. However, his season was cut short due to injury, and, as a result, he fell to the fifth found. While on the field, Hall, who transitioned to cornerback after originally playing wide receiver, has shown good ball skills and coverage. During his junior season, he led all collegiate players in pass breakups. If he can stay healthy, the Jets may have drafted a day one talent in the fifth round. Hall shouldn’t be expected to be a day one starter, but rather a rotational corner who can produce. In all, the Jets should be expected to have a more productive and stronger year from their corners.

 

Safety

Jamal Adams is the leader in the secondary, on defense and the team as a whole. He has even been in the discussion for being the best safety in the league. After not making the Pro Bowl as a rookie, he has made it in each of the last two seasons. He should be expected to be a Pro Bowler once again and be among the top safeties in the league.

Marcus Maye has been a nice complimentary piece to Jamal Adams since they were both drafted in 2017. Maye bounced back with 65 total tackles, 7 passes defended and one interception after his season before was cut short due to injury. Maye is more than capable of increasing his tackle amount to above 70, as he showed his rookie season. He should be expected to approach the 75 tackle mark and have a few interceptions.

Now we get to Ashtyn Davis, who was drafted by the Jets in the third round of this past draft. Davis is somewhat of a mystery in the secondary. He can play safety, of course, but he could also be moved to play slot corner or nickel. He is extremely versatile and can provide help anywhere. Whether it be rotational help at safety or fill-in time at corner, Davis should provide help everywhere. In all, the Jets’ safety group should be expected to be one of the best in the NFL.

 

Bottom Line

The New York Jets’ defense should be better as a whole this upcoming season. Their run defense should be expected to remain top-five and their pass defense should show improvement. A defense that has some big-time players, such as Jamal Adams and C.J. Mosley, now has a better infusion of talent and help around them. Expect the defense to move up a few spots in the rankings next season.

 

The Last Dance Shows The Value of One New York Jets Player

New York Jets, Jamal Adams

The Last Dance has been the most talked-about fixture in the sports world as of recently. The documentary that highlights the career of Michael Jordan sheds light on what it takes to be great. Michael not only pushed himself to be the greatest player on the court at all times, but he pushed everyone around him to match his intensity. He was an intense leader devoted to helping his team perform at the highest possible level. That leadership style and overwhelming desire for success are what it takes to be a champion. In the past, there are very few New York Jets that fit into that category of guys “who hate to lose more than they love to win”, as Joe Douglas says. The Jets do have one player who fits the bill though, Jamal Adams.

Jamal Is A Jordan Esque Leader

Before you swipe to a different article, hear me out. I am NOT saying Jamal Adams is on Michael Jordan’s level of a professional athlete, however his leadership style emulates Jordan’s. Jamal is a vocal and outspoken leader. Connor Rodgers recently reported that many of his teammates get irritated by that aspect of his personality. The thing is, that’s what Michael’s teammates hated about him.

From saying “How bout them Cowboys”, after he helped the Jets upset his hometown team, to publicly calling out the Jets to give him help on both sides of the ball, to being the Jets’ biggest ambassador, Jamal has given the Jets an identity. Without Jamal, you can make the case that CJ Mosley and Lev Bell don’t come to New York. Jamal is the kind of guy who is capable and willing to change a culture.

Although his future is murky amid the reported contract impasse. Jamal has given everything to be a driving factor in the Jets turnaround. That emotion and drive is a part of the reason for the contract impasse. When the Jets floated his name around at the trade deadline, many within the organization said that Jamal felt personally betrayed. The New York Jets need to extend Jamal. Good teams don’t trade away their best players, and Jamal is undoubtedly the Jets’ best player. Although you can debate him on the field contributions based on positional value, nobody can debate his leadership value. If the Jets want to change the culture, the Last Dance documentary should be an example of the impact an outspoken leader, with an overwhelming desire like Michael Jordan and Jamal Adams to win, can have on a franchise and a city.

New York Jets: Is Jamal Adams the most important player on defense for the Jets?

New York Jets, Jamal Adams

Taking a look at the New York Jets’ defense and if Jamal Adams is really the most influential player on defense:

Most would say that the most important player on defense for the New York Jets is safety Jamal Adams. Adams is one of the best strong safeties in the NFL, having a career year in 2019.

In 14 games, Adams logged 6.5 sacks, 75 combine tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 13 quarterback hits, and three total turnovers. He also posted a 55.3% completion rate against and allowed just two touchdowns. He was a fantastic tackler posting a 5.1% missed tackle rate. Overall, the influence Adams has on defense is unparalleled, but the only player that can stand up to him and CJ Mosley, who missed most of 2019 with an injury.

Reflecting back on Mosley’s 2018 season (last healthy one), he has the potential to be an even more significant factor than Adams. He posted 105 combine tackles, six tackles for loss, and one turnover. He missed just seven tackles on 112 attempts, earning a 6.3 missed tackle rate. Mosley is undoubtedly one of the best linebackers in the NFL, but Adams’ production is simply too much to compare.

The Jets’ strong safety can simply do it all, from rushing the passer to dropping back in coverage in tackling at a higher rate. The New York Jets seemed to do something different with Adams in 2019, sending him as a blitzer more frequently than a year prior. He blitzed 90 times last season compared to 69 in 2018. He also improved his tackle success rate and was targeted less in coverage, an interesting statistic.

Nonetheless, the Jets have one of the more dynamic duos at safety and linebacker in the NFL, and it ultimately comes down to health. Adams is still waiting on a new contract from general manager Joe Douglas, but nothing has been solidified just yet. The hope is that Douglas will extend Adams prior to the completion of his fourth year on his rookie deal, but he did mention he rarely entertains those negotiation tactics.

However, Adams is doing the right thing for himself, attempting to solidify a long-term deal before the upcoming season, which would help him cash in in case of injury. Adams has had impeccable health, missing just two games last season, the only two he’s missed in his entire career up to this point. Mosley, on the other hand, missed 14 games last year, but it’s set to return to full health and act as a game-changing defender for the Jets.

New York Jets: C.J. Mosley would not be happy if Jamal Adams was on the trade block

New York Jets, C.J. Mosley

The New York Jets trading Jamal Adams would be ludicrous according to one other stud playmaker:

The pairing of Jamal Adams and CJ Mosley is one of the more dynamic in the NFL, despite the latter of the two missing nearly the entire 2019 campaign due to injury. After spending his first five seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, Mosley fell ill to the injury bug, which was a surprise given his stellar health over the course of his career to that point.

In 2018 with the Ravens, Mosley played at an elite level, posting 105 combined tackles, five passes defended, and a 6.3% missed tackle rate. His elite status was exactly what the Jets needed at the inside linebacker position, and they are hoping to get that quality of player in 2020 and beyond.

However, Adams is a significant part of the defense and has been demanding an extension for quite some time. He has skipped out on voluntary virtual workouts to advocate for GM Joe Douglas’ proactive spirit in extending his contract. Nonetheless, reports have indicated that Adams could be on the trade-block in recent weeks. Mosley, though, has not been phased by those talks.

“To me, I wasn’t too worried about that,” he said in an interview with ESPN. “That would be a crazy move.”

He further commented:

“First of all, he’s one of the leaders on the team,” Mosley said. “That’s first and foremost. He brings that extra energy whether guys want it or not. Sometimes you might be tired or not feeling good, but as soon as he steps on the field, you’re going to hear that voice and he’ll be flying around. To have that presence in the secondary, a guy that can make plays in the passing game and also plays in the backfield — in the box — that’s always exciting.”

As Mosley stated, Adams’ influence on the team is significant, from his leadership to his athleticism. The former first-round selection is the Jets’ primary playmaker, and they cannot afford to lose him in a trade or free agency. Douglas has stated that he normally doesn’t entertain extensions in the fourth year of a rookie contract, but in this specific scenario, he might be willing to bend the rules.

New York Jets place CJ Mosley on IR

The New York Jets‘ biggest addition this off-season was CJ Mosley. Sadly, Mosley’s injuries will limit him to just two games this season.

Adam Gase has announced that the New York Jets are placing star linebacker CJ Mosley on IR. That will put a disappointing end Mosley’s first season with the team.

The Jets have severely missed CJ Mosley this season. Despite the league-leading run defense and top-10 defense in DVOA, his absence has been felt.

CJ Mosley’s two replacements Neville Hewitt and James Burgess have graded out as two of the worst pass coverage linebackers in the NFL. Teams have been able to shred the Jets in zone coverage because neither is able to cover the middle of the field. Hewitt and Burgess are also among the team’s leaders in missed tackles.

Having CJ Mosley in the lineup would change the Jets defense. He would be ab;e to competently cover his zone and he would limit runs in the second level. Two things the Jets have severely struggled with.

None of this is to mention the amount of money Mosley is getting paid to miss the season. CJ Mosley is getting paid $19 million this year. That’s a lot of wasted money for the Jets.

When Mosley has been on the field he’s been a difference-maker. He was the Jets’ best player in week one against the Bills, and he stood out when he returned for a short while in week seven. He’s clearly still the All-Pro caliber players he was when the Jets signed him in the off-season.

Mosley is set to have surgery to fix his groin injury sooner rather than later. Adam Gase is optimistic that Mosely will be healthy in time for off-season activities.

Hopefully, Mosely will be healthy in 2020. the Jets defense isn’t the same without him.