New York Jets to open season against a familiar face

The New York Jets‘ Week 1 game has finally been released and it should be an interesting one. On Sept. 12, the Jets will travel to Carolina to face Sam Darnold and the Panthers.

Sam Darnold, who was dealt to Carolina after a subpar three seasons in New York, will be getting an early chance to show what they moved on from. For the Jets and Zach Wilson, it’ll be an early chance for them to show why they moved in a new direction.

Darnold isn’t the only former Jet on the Panthers’ roster, though. They also have WR Robby Anderson, S Justin Burris, OL Pat Elflein, RB Trenton Cannon and LB Frankie Luvu on their team.

As for New York, new additions on offense, including WR’s Corey Davis and Elijah Moore, will look to make it a better day for Zach Wilson than Sam Darnold.

The Jets haven’t defeated the Panthers since 2001, winning 13-12. However, they have been good recently in road openers, winning four of their last six. They’ll look to make that five of their last seven.

New HC Robert Saleh will look to start his era with a win on the road, and what better way to start than against the former “franchise quarterback.”

New York Jets land CB Brandin Echols out of Kentucky

brandin echols, jets

The New York Jets continue to spend the back half of their draft providing weapons for Robert Saleh. Brandin Echols, a 5 foot 11, 178-pound corner from Kentucky, is the latest addition. Echols played alongside day two selection Kelvin Joseph and had success in his two seasons down south. The receiver converted to corner and began his career on the JUCO route. After being named a JUCO All American, Echols transferred to Kentucky and quickly earned a starting role.

Echols debuted in his Junior season playing 13 games and racking up 54 tackles, 2.5 TFLs, 1.0 sack, 9 PDs and 2 FFs. Echols caught some eyes and expectations rose going into his senior season. Up against some of the top receivers in the country, Echols held his own, and finished his season with 54 tackles, 2.0 TFLs and an INT.

Echols progressed as a corner and given he is still relatively new to the position he still can grow. He has great fluidity and excellent speedrunning a blazing 4.30 forty. He is a superb athlete who can hang with some of the burners in the league. The expectation is he and Carter Jr. will likely compete for playing time in the slot and in various packages. Echols has shown more in coverage to this point but both players are exceptional athletes.

One thing to note with Echols is that he does have the size to play outside if need be. His game may not fit there as well as Jason Pinnock, but if he can utilize his speed on the outside he could earn playing time there as well, and relatively quickly. This is another high upside swing on a defensive back as the Jets look to round out their secondary.

New York Jets snag Pittsburgh cornerback Jason Pinnock

The New York Jets continue to look to round out their defense and establish depth in the secondary. This time in the form of 6 foot, 200 plus pound corner Jason Pinnock. Pinnock was a part of a talented high school football squad where he excelled at corner but also had 1,000 plus receiving yards and 15 TDs. Pinnock committed to Boston College originally before rescinding his commitment and choosing between Notre Dame and Pittsburgh. After picking Pitt, Pinnock never looked back.

Despite battling injuries early in his career, Pinnock showed flashes in his first three seasons, Pinnock still played in 21 games racking up 34 tackles, 2.5 TFLs, 1.0 sack, 3 INTs, 14 deflections, a fumble recovery, and a touchdown. He played a bulk of his snaps as a rotational corner and on special teams for those years before taking over as a starter last season.

Pinnock put up good numbers last season with 20 tackles, 3 INTs, and 1.0 TFL. Pinnock then put on a show at his pro day with a sub 4.50 forty and impressive vertical numbers. The physical makeup is there to be a good corner, but Pinnock needs to develop his football IQ rather than rely on physical skill. If he can developmentally, he can be potential outside corner option.

Although some have wondered why the Jets waited to invest in the secondary, the reports have stated Robert Saleh wants to go after late round guys and develop them to his liking, a la K’Wuan Williams and Akello Witherspoon. If he can get half that production out of Pinnock or Carter Jr., that would be a success.

New York Jets select shifty UNC running back Michael Carter, what to know

jets, michael carter

The New York Jets have selected RB Michael Carter from the University of North Carolina with the 107th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. After drafting QB Zach Wilson from Bringham Young University, IOL Alijah Vera Tucker, and certified weapon from Ole Miss Elijah Moore. Now, the plan to put Zach Wilson in the best position possible continues. The Jets drafted a talented back in Carter.

In High School, Carter ran for over 2,500 yards in his senior season. The explosiveness carried over to Chapel Hill as he had 3,404 yards in his time with the Tarheels. That number puts him in the record books with the fourth best total in the school’s history. His burst and athleticism is evident in all facets of his game.

Last season on the ground, he rushed for a whopping 8.0 yards per carry, which was fifth in the NCAA last season. He also had 684 yards before contact, which was fourth best in the college ranks last year. On top of that, he had 267 yards receiving and 11 total scores last season. Oh yeah, and he did this alongside fellow draft pick and now Bronco running back Javonte Williams.

His talent is apparent, and he’s an even better guy off the field. He was voted team captain, and despite the fact he and Williams could’ve been at odds competing for reps, he was happy taking whatever role possible to benefit the team. Carter projects as a top-tier change of pace back at the next level, and he will slot in with Tevin Coleman, La’Mical Perine, and Ty Johnson as the backfield committee looks set heading into the 2021-22 season. This should allow the pressure on Zach Wilson to continue to ease while providing Mike LaFleur even more weapons in his first season as Offensive Coordinator.

BREAKING: New York Jets Select IOL Alijah Vera Tucker

new york giants, alijah vera-tucker

This is not the same old New York Jets. After hinting towards a trade, the Jets have made a move up nine selections to grab a monster from USC. After nabbing their guy at Quarterback, the Jets have grabbed Alijah Vera Tucker. Tucker is a versatile guard from Oakland, now he heads to the Big Apple.

Tucker was a highly touted prospect out of high school, receiving offers from a majority of PAC-12 schools. Tucker immediately excelled at USC and only allowed five sacks in 927 snaps. Tucker, at 6 foot 4, 315 pounds, has the size to carry that excellence over to the next level. Tucker is a plug-and-play guard with the All-Pro potential as run and pass blocker.

With Tucker likely slotting in at left guard, the Jets now have their left side of the line-locked down for the foreseeable future. Pairing Becton and Tucker up ensure Wilson’s blindside will be well protected, which is something that Sam Darnold did not have in his time with gang green. A nice little wrinkle as well, Tucker was a captain for the Trojans, something Douglas has made a point for picking players to this point.

The Jets did have to trade up to nab Tucker, but the cost was not too bad. The Jets moved up nine slots while giving their 23rd selection to Minnesota. They also gave the Vikings both pick 66 and 86. In return, aside from pick 14, they also got pick 143 in the 4th round. While they lost both their third-rounders, with three picks in the 4th, don’t be surprised if Douglas moves back into the 3rd if a guy he covets is there. Now, the Jets look to pick 34 to get their pick of the guys who slip out of the first round, with a prime chance to grab another blue-chip prospect.

New York Jets draft Zach Wilson with 2nd overall pick

new york jets, zach wilson

The New York Jets have drafted BYU quarterback Zach Wilson with the second overall pick in the 2021 Draft. Wilson has been the expected pick for some time now, and it has finally happened. Now, he steps into a situation in New York where he will be the starter from the get-go.

The BYU product broke onto the scene this past year with a fantastic junior season. He totaled 3,692 passing yards with a 73.5 completion percentage, 43 total touchdowns and just 3 interceptions.

Wilson seemed to put the rest of his projected draft-position doubts to rest during his pro day. His ability to make all the throws, both on and off-balance, and extend plays has created a lot of buzz and excitement about the next stage.

The new Jets quarterback has drawn comparisons to the likes of Patrick Mahomes and, according to NFL Analyst Lance Zierein, Aaron Rodgers.

“[Wilson’s] an ascending quarterback prospect who possesses the swagger and arm talent to create explosive plays inside and outside the pocket,” Zierlein said in his overview of the quarterback. “The gunslinger’s mentality and improved release points are clearly patterned off of one of his favorite players, Aaron Rodgers.”

If Zach Wilson can resemble the Packers’ star to any degree, the Jets, and their fans, will be head over heels for the next decade, at least. However, the time for talking is over. The clock for him to prove it starts now.

Daughter of former NY Jets WR Al Toon dead in apparent murder-suicide

Molly Lillard, the daughter of former New York Jets wide receiver Al Toon, was found dead Sunday in her Arizona home, according to reports. Lillard was shot in an apparent murder-suicide.

“All indications are that this was a murder-suicide,” police sources told TMZ after the initial investigation.

It is believed that Lillard’s husband, 36-year-old Royce Lillard III, is behind the shooting, according to police.

The SWAT team entered their house around 10:45 p.m. local time and found the husband dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The couple’s 8-month-old child was found inside the home and was present at the time of the shooting but was not injured.

Lillard was a standout volleyball player and played at the University of Michigan from 2010-2014.

Al Toon, a former three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver for the Jets, has not spoken publicly on the events.

 

New York Jets ink versatile offensive lineman Corey Levin

The New York Jets have added more depth to the offensive line in the form of 26-year-old Corey Levin. Levin, a former sixth-rounder from Chattanooga, was a competent lineman for the Chattanooga squad before staying in Tennessee with the Titans. Levin now joins the Jets as a depth piece for next season.

How Does Levin Fit?

Levin has become somewhat of a journeyman in his brief career. After being waved by Tennessee, he’s found homes in Chicago, New England, and Denver all briefly. Now he finds a home in New York as a versatile depth piece moving forward.

Levin has yet to register a substantial amount of playing time in any of his last three spots, but he did dress for all 16 games his rookie year, playing snaps on special teams and rotating in at center and guard for one game.

Although there is not a lot to go off with Levin, one preseason evaluation from 2019 was encouraging as the Titan-sized site on SB Nation reported, “Offensive lineman Corey Levin was also a standout player. Levin could get some run at center this season, and he has the versatility to play elsewhere on the offensive line.” For a team that needs more bodies in the room, the addition of the young lineman is intriguing as the team fills out the roster before the draft.

Sayonara Sam: Darnold’s best plays with the New York Jets

The New York Jets have finally answered the question on many people’s minds: what are they going to do with Sam Darnold? For them, the answer was to trade him to the Carolina Panthers.

Darnold’s time in New York was riddled with losses, criticism and mono. However, it wasn’t all bad. There were some times of excitement, hope and celebration.

So, as a farewell, I highlighted some of Sam Darnold’s best plays as a New York Jet.

Behind-the-line scramble vs Buffalo

For the first play, we’re going all the way back to 2018. The Jets were 3-9 and the Bills were 4-8. The game had no playoff implications but it was a game against a division rival – so it mattered. Darnold and the offense needed a touchdown to tie the game and, well, this happened:

That play is still amazing today and shows some of Darnold’s unique abilities. The only problem is that these theatrics weren’t an all-the-time thing on the field.

Oh, and, by the way. Who caught that pass? Darnold’s new teammate Robby Anderson.

Cross-body throw vs San Francisco

Sam Darnold had arguably his best career throw this past season against the San Francisco 49ers. After breaking a sack, he rolled out left and threw across his body to Braxton Berrios for the touchdown.

Here’s the play:

If this play has started to bring out any emotions about Darnold being traded away, don’t fret. Zach Wilson can make that throw as well.

46-yard TD run vs Denver

The last play that’s going to be highlighted happened about two weeks after the previous one. Darnold once again showed his scrambling ability, but in a different way:

Jets fans and the NFL were all raving about this play because, well, he turned on the jets. This play showed that he can do more than run around behind the line and either throw a dart or an interception.

Despite Darnold showing in these three instances that he has talent and potential, the Jets only went on to win one of those three games. That’s the issue. You can have all the talent in the world, but if you don’t win, it doesn’t matter.

Fans and the organization are hoping the next chapter of Jets football brings along some wins. That next chapter begins on April 29 when the Jets are on the clock with the second overall pick.

Jets add veteran RB Tevin Coleman: How does he fit?

New York Jets potential free agency target Tevin Coleman.

The Jets have added another playmaker on the offensive side of the football. Joining La’Mical Perine, Ty Johnson, and Josh Adams in the backfield next season will be Tevin Coleman. Coleman joins the team on a one-year deal worth $2 million dollars. Coleman played for the Atlanta Falcons for four seasons before inking a deal with San Francisco just two years ago. Now, Coleman, after two seasons with the 49ers, reunites with Mike LaFleur in the Big Apple.

How Does Coleman Fit?

Tevin Coleman is going on 28 years old and joins a group of young backs. Coleman has started games in the past, most notably 14 in 2018. A season where Coleman also had over 1,000 yards from scrimmage and 9 touchdowns. Coleman has had productive seasons in the past, and he joins an offense he has played and thrived in, in the past.

Coleman will be both a good veteran presence in a locker room of young backs by showing them how the system works, but he will also be a weapon on the field. Last season, in the Shanahan offense, Coleman was unable to get going with only 28 carries for 53 yards, totaling up only 1.9 yards per attempt.

Despite those career worsts last season, in his first season with San Fran, Coleman had 137 carries for 544 yards and 6 touchdowns. He also added 180 yards and 3 touchdowns, receiving on 21 receptions. That level of production is something the Jets hope he can get back to in this upcoming season. Ultimately, Coleman will not be a bell-cow back, but in a running back room that is relatively inexperienced, Coleman provides stability.

Not only that, but if the Jets do opt to draft another back into the fold as a bell cow, Coleman can be a great complementary back. Overall the addition is not going to be as headline-grabbing as a trade for a premier back or an attempt to sign someone along the lines of a Leonard Fournette or James Conner, but the move is a low-risk high reward add for Douglas as he looks to fill out the offense with more pieces after a disastrous 2020.