New York Jets acquire Shaq Lawson from Texans

shaq lawson, jets

The New York Jets have replaced an injured Lawson with a healthy one, adding veteran end Shaq Lawson in a deal with the Houston Texans, per multiple reports.

The addition of Shaq Lawson will certainly not fill the entire void left behind by Carl Lawson’s injury, but he’ll make an impact nonetheless.

The former first-round pick hasn’t lived up to the expectations, only starting 24 of his 64 NFL games. In those games, he has amassed 20.5 sacks, 56 QB hits, 29 tackles-for-loss and 6 forced fumbles.

It is unclear what his exact role will be initially, but he should command substantial playing time alongside Bryce Huff, John Franklin-Myers and rookie Hamilcar Rashed Jr., among others. The Jets’ defensive end group now gets a little bigger and, hopefully, a little stronger.

Lawson, 27, spent the first five years of his career in the AFC East with the Bills and Dolphins before being dealt to Houston in March. He now returns to the division he knows so well.

New York Jets beat New York Giants 12-7 in First Preseason Game | Recap and takeaways

new york jets, zach wilson

The New York Giants and New York Jets faced off tonight in Week One of the 2021 NFL preseason. The New York Jets came out victorious. FINAL SCORE: 12-7.

Key stats and takeaways

New York Jets

  • QB Zach Wilson: 6/9, 63 yards
  • WR Denzel Mims: 3 receptions, 51 yards
  • DE Bryce Huff: 2 sacks, 2 TFL

2021 second-overall draft pick Zach Wilson had a solid debut in his first NFL action. While he did not light up the scoreboard, Wilson was smart with the football. He was accurate, had some impressive plays, and avoided any major mistakes. An all-around good performance by a rookie quarterback.

Many felt as though the Jets got a steal in the second round of last year’s draft when they selected wide receiver, Denzel Mims. Tonight, Mims looked like an impressive wide receiver, totaling 51 yards. Denzel Mims had a nice highlight, converting a 3rd and 18 while showing off some skills after the catch.

The New York Jets’ defense took advantage of the New York Giants’ thin offensive line. The Giants lack depth upfront and this allowed the Jets to total 5 sacks in the contest. Bryce Huff contributed two sacks on the night.

The Jets also seem to have some solid quarterback depth. Mike White threw for 127 yards on 13 completions. James Morgan gained 45 yards on 5 completions. No turnovers for any of the Jets’ quarterbacks.

New York Giants

  • QB Clayton Thorson: 5/16, 72 yards, 1 TD
  • WR David Sills V: 3 receptions, 49 yards
  • LB Carter Coughlin: 5 total tackles, 1 sack, 1 TFL

The New York Giants’ starting offensive linemen did participate in tonight’s matchup. For the most part, the unit was impressive. Andrew Thomas looked good in both pass protection and run-blocking, including a dominant pass set in the first quarter. RG Will Hernandez also looked like an improved version of himself. Hernandez moved very nicely as a lead/pulling blocker and had a couple of key blocks in the running game. However, it was not a perfect outing for the starters as RT Matt Peart let up a sack on a third down.

Once the starting offensive linemen went out and the reserves went in, Giants fans were reminded just how poor this team’s depth on the offensive line truly is. The Giants let up 5 sacks, losing 34 yards and allowing a safety. The reserve linemen struggled mightily and also lost OG Kyle Murphy with an ankle injury.

Quarterback Clayton Thorson struggled throughout the game. He did throw a nice touchdown pass after evading pressure late in the game, though the majority of the game was relatively unimpressive.

Training camp standouts WR David Sills V and CB Rodarius Williams were on the field for the majority of the game. Sills lived up to the hype, beating cornerbacks with great releases off the line of scrimmage and making a few sound receptions for 49 yards (he also drew a DPI on a deep target). Williams had a rough night, letting up plenty of yards in receptions. But he did recover a fumble in the fourth quarter and nearly took it back to the end zone.

LB Carter Coughlin also stood out defensively for the Giants. The second-year player transitioned to off-ball linebacker this offseason after playing EDGE in his rookie year. Coughlin looked like he had been playing inside linebacker for years, putting together an impressive 5 tackle, 1 sack, 1 TFL performance. Carter was all over the place making plays.

What can the New York Jets expect from Zach Wilson in his rookie season?

new york jets, zach wilson

The New York Jets have had some rough seasons over the last 20 years. Whether their final record has been 4-12, 5-11, or 6-10, the Jets have struggled to put together a sustainable level of success and have faced several disappointing finishes along the way.

However, last year the Jets hit a new all-time low that this franchise hasn’t endured since its nightmare 1-15, 1996 season, illustrating a level of despair and ineptitude that many of their young fans have never experienced before. Finishing 2020 with a dismal 2-14 record, the Jets ended up having to offload most of their core talent midseason to free up cap space, and in the process, began their next rebuild endeavor by securing the 2nd overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Though the Jets might have missed out on selecting wonder kid Trevor Lawrence at first overall, they selected debatably the next best option at quarterback in the young protégé out of BYU, Zach Wilson. With a big arm, pinpoint accuracy, and impressive pocket mobility, Wilson brings everything the Jets need from their new franchise quarterback and, along with it, really bright potential. That being said, Wilson also enters a big, new role that is laden with immense pressure as the Jets desperately aim to achieve a significantly better record than their last. And with a tough and imposing division, as is, the Jets will need to rise to the occasion big time this season, and it all starts with Zach Wilson.

When a team suffers a setback as great as the Jets have, there’s a lot of different variables that come into play, be it the offense, defense, special teams, or coaching. And despite the fact that all of these components influenced the poor season the Jets underwent to some degree, the greatest and biggest problem for this franchise was nothing but its ailing offense. Placing last in the league in total yards, yards per game, and points per game, the Jets offense reached a rock bottom level of ineffectiveness that would present even the best quarterback talents in the league, an overwhelmingly great deal of pressure and intimidation to endure and overcome (ESPN).

But despite all the weight and responsibility that comes along with this highly important role, the Jets spent a lot of time and money over the offseason to not only establish a culture change in their locker room but also revamp their offense in several key areas.

For starters, hiring head coach Robert Saleh was a big step in the right direction. With plenty of experience as a defensive coordinator under the San Francisco 49ers for four seasons (that included a Super Bowl visit in 2019), Saleh also brings excellent leadership, insight, passion, and dedication to a team that’s in desperate need of just about all of that. After undergoing a brutal, confidence-draining season, the Jets will really benefit from the positive energy and motivating commitment to excellence Saleh brings to the table.

However, with Wilson in mind, the Jets also splurged on not only bright talents at the wide receiver position in both Corey Davis and Keelan Cole. They also invested in new running back Tevin Coleman and boosted their depth at the tight position by acquiring Tyler Kroft. But the Jets didn’t stop there. After selecting Wilson second overall in the draft, the Jets also went after the bright and dominant USC guard Alijah Vera-Tucker with their 14th overall pick, selected Elijah Moore out of Ole Miss with their first, second-round pick, and then proceeded to draft the strong and evasive running back out of UNC in Michael Carter with their fourth pick (ESPN). From running backs to wide receivers to offensive linemen, the Jets went on a tear over the offseason to provide Wilson with just about everything he needs to succeed.

But even with all of this talent, the greatest test for Wilson is whether he has what it takes to spearhead the production needed offensively to put this Jets team back on track. Wilson produced an immaculate 2020 season in what would be his last for BYU, throwing for 3,692 yards, 33 touchdowns, and only three interceptions whilst running for an additional ten more touchdowns (ESPN). That said, can Wilson recreate that kind of magic to some degree in his NFL rookie campaign, despite so many new pieces that he has yet to get fully acquainted with?

Though it might be hard to believe, the answer is a big, fat yes. Is it audacious to think so? Maybe. But Wilson is about as prepared and gifted as any coming out of this draft class, who comes with not only this resiliently poised and calm demeanor, but who also has the complete skill set and potential the Jets need from their next franchise quarterback.

A good way to break down Wilson’s first season outlook is to take a hard look at the first season Baker Mayfield accomplished after joining a Cleveland Browns team that went 0-16 the season before. Naturally, it’s very important to keep in mind that Mayfield was a Heisman Trophy winner over his collegiate career and possessed an edge to his game that led him to throw for 40 or more touchdowns in each of his last two seasons at the University of Oklahoma (ESPN). But the biggest similarity to keep an eye for here is the impact that Wilson can generate this season for the Jets, similarly to how Mayfield did in Cleveland in his first season.

Back in 2018, Mayfield transformed a winless Browns team into a playoff-contending one that finished their season with a 7-8-1 record, throwing for 3,725 yards, 27 touchdowns, and posting a 63.8 completion percentage in the process (ESPN). For Wilson to achieve these kind of numbers, more or less that kind of result with this team in his rookie season, is certainly a hefty challenge. But he has that same kind of potential and the full package of pristine skills to execute this newly-built offense the same way Mayfield did with his Browns. In 2018, Mayfield came into a situation where the Browns had a handful of strong pieces already in place, with guys like Jarvis Landry, Reshard Higgins, Kevin Zeitler, and Greg Robinson. But they also had several rookies and second-year players on that offensive unit as well, which included Nick Chubb (rookie), Antonio Callaway (rookie), and David Njoku (sophomore year). Though it wasn’t the strongest supporting cast, it was still a robust one that allowed Mayfield to thrive and perform at a very high level.

Well, lo and behold, Wilson is also entering a team that has plenty of good vets, rookie starlets, and young players, with plenty of talent in all the areas he needs to succeed. The similarities don’t stop here though: Mayfield is an excellent pocket passer, Wilson is a great one too. Mayfield brought sharp and astute mobility, Wilson has elite vision and is elusive on the ground. Mayfield had a bright rookie running back and wide receiver, Wilson has an exciting rookie running back and wide receiver as well. Mayfield was blessed with a sturdy offensive line, Wilson has a solid one as well.

In short, history tends to repeat itself in unique ways, and with so many parallels between the two, it can certainly make you wonder about the potential and impact Wilson will have on this Jets team. And considering how much talent the Jets surrounded him with on top of the fact that he’s so gifted and dedicated to his craft as is, Wilson is poised to have a very big rookie season, and don’t be surprised if you get flashbacks to Mayfield’s breakout success in 2018.

Jets cornerbacks are due for a much-improved season

New York Jets, Bless Austin

The New York Jets defense has received a fair amount of notice this offseason. With the addition of Carl Lawson, the return of CJ Mosley and the continuing emergence of Quinnen Williams, there’s a lot to be excited about. However, one hasn’t received nearly as much praise, to say the least.

That would be the cornerbacks.

Sure, it’s easy to understand why that is: they’re young, unproven and lack “big names.” Nevertheless, this group is due for a much-improved season.

Now, let’s see why they are, highlighted by three key players:

Bryce Hall

Let me preface this by saying that I have very high hopes for Bryce Hall. And why wouldn’t I? The former Virginia corner was one of the best pass-defenders in college…when he wasn’t injured.

In 2018, when he played all 13 games, he led the nation with 22 pass breakups and was tied for first in the nation with 24 passes defended. Those are two of the key stats for cornerbacks and based on what he did compared to everyone else, you can’t get any better than that.

His first season in the NFL was a different story. Along with only playing in eight games, he allowed 37 catches on 52 targets. In case it needs to be said, that isn’t great.

He did show some on-field potential, though, especially for a young player with injury concerns. In those eight games, he had 36 tackles and an interception. Now, in case this needs to be said, or shown, his first interception was a beauty.

Hall will be one of the top-two corners for the Jets this season, and he should be ready for it. At 6-foot-1, 202 pounds, he has the size, and the speed, to trace top receivers. He also has a knack for finding the ball and stopping it from finding receivers’ hands.

Now, he has to put it all together on the field consistently. In year two, he’ll be ready for the challenge and the fifth-round pick with first-round talent will help this secondary leap forward.

Bless Austin

Along with having a great name, Bless Austin will most likely be alongside Bryce Hall as the top-two corners. His case is an interesting one, though, as it feels like his numbers should be better than they are.

Across his first two seasons, he has played in just 18 games, starting 16. He has eight passes defended in those games and has allowed 71 catches on 110 targets (64.5%). He’s a good tackler with great movement and speed, so it’s odd that his numbers aren’t better.

Numbers don’t always tell the whole story, though.

Analysts and fans tend to focus solely on stats and not enough on players’ non-stat impacts. Bless Austin is a guy who can make plays that don’t necessarily show on the stat sheet but drastically impact the outcome of a game.

Austin is due for a breakout third season and has all of the tools to have one. His passion and grit show on the field, whether his stats reflect it or not. It’s about time his stats do reflect his play, though, as something tells me this will be the year.

With no career interceptions, but impressive ball skills, this is the year that Bless Austin should make a name for himself.

Jason Pinnock

Jason Pinnock is a real x-factor this season. The fifth-round pick from Pittsburgh had six collegiate interceptions, along with 25 pass breakups. That’s all good, but here is where it gets really exciting.

All cornerbacks “know” how receivers move, but Pinnock really knows (notice how there are no quotations). This is because he was a receiver in high school, and he was a pretty damn good one. As a senior, he had 59 catches for 1,172 yards and 15 touchdowns. So, one might say he knows how to track the ball in the air pretty well.

You can see these skills clearly if watch him play, even for a short time.

Having experience playing receiver isn’t enough to be a successful corner, and he knows that. To complement his talent, skill and experience, he studied.

In a March interview with TheSpun.com‘s Chris Rosvoglou, Pinnock explained how he admired, and studied, two legendary cornerbacks.

“During my childhood, I’d say it was Darrelle Revis. I was a fanatic of his for years… I had the opportunity a few times to talk to him,” Pinnock said. “He helped my game out a lot just through a few conversations. As far as being in college and high school and getting to that level, I watched Richard Sherman. I’ve been breaking him down play-by-play since 2017.”

If Pinnock can replicate any of Revis and Sherman as a rookie it’d be really promising. His expectations may not be all too high being that he’s a fifth-round pick, but Jason Pinnock should be a major part of the exciting, young secondary this season.

Oh, and it helps that the Jets have an improved pass rush this season as well.

New York Jets sign Alijah Vera-Tucker to rookie deal

alijah vera-tucker, jets

The New York Jets have finally signed Alijah Vera-Tucker to his rookie deal, making him the first of their top-three picks to do so. It’s a four-year deal, with a fifth-year option, fully guaranteed for $15.8 million. He also has a signing bonus of $8.9 million.

Vera-Tucker is expected to be the starting guard alongside Mekhi Becton on the left side of the line from the get-go. The former USC guard has high expectations coming in as a rookie and now the contract talk can finally be pushed into the rearview mirror.

The Jets, who traded up to draft Vera-Tucker with the 14th overall pick, made acquiring him a priority in April.

“We felt we had a unique opportunity to get a top-10 player in our minds as our board was stacked,” General Manager Joe Douglas said after making the trade to move up in the draft. “To go up and get a guy like Alijah Vera-Tucker, a player that has started at tackle, has started at guard and has been highly productive at both, that versatility and that production is something we really value.”

The Jets will now move their focus to signing their other top-two picks: Zach Wilson and Elijah Moore.

Did the New York Jets ‘finally’ solve their offensive line woes?

alijah vera-tucker, jets

Just one spot ahead of the New York Giants, the Jets ranked 31st in pass blocking efficiency last season, per PFF. In run blocking, they landed at 20th, thanks to a surprisingly successful performance by right tackle George Fant. Hopefully, with the insertion of UNC stand-out running back Michael Carter, the Jets will finally have a more committed running approach. With head coach Robert Saleh coming from the Kyle Shanahan system in San Francisco, it is possible they utilize a rotation of backs, exposing mismatches and running lanes.

However, the success of the Jets’ offense heavily relies on the protection of Zack Wilson in pass blocking. Considering how poorly they performed last year, the organization realizes it was a priority to upgrade the blocking personnel as much as possible. They brought in multiple new players, including USC versatile lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker, veteran Morgan Moses, and a few depth pieces to help mitigate fatigue and supplement injuries.

Offensive line coach John Benton attested to the scheme fits in the trenches and the new faces the team has brought in:

“I get the feeling that everyone’s pretty excited about it [the wide-zone scheme]. It seems to be a good buy-in at this point across the board. The guys fit the scheme real well. I think they’re excited to see where it can go.”

Projected starting offensive line for the Jets:

LT: Mekhi Becton

LG: Alijah Vera-Tucker

C: Connor McGovern

RG: Alex Lewis

RT: Morgan Moses

Depth:

OT: George Fant

OG: Dan Feeney

OG/OT: Conor McDermott

OL: Chuma Edoga

OG: Greg Van Roten

Simply looking at the expected starting group, it is with confidence we can say Wilson’s protection should be improved. Considering what Sam Darnold had to deal with last year, being sacked 35 times over just 12 games, it was about time the team allocated significant resources toward the bolstering of the unit.

Tucker has shades of Quenton Nelson embodied in his style of play, and Becton is a big left tackle with the ability to maul pass rushers at the point of attack. A veteran like Moses should provide substantial experience and an upgrade at right tackle, despite Fant having a solid 2020 season. However, having adequate depth shouldn’t be overlooked; Fant will return to his swing tackle role, which he played with the Seattle Seahawks before joining Gang Green.

Ultimately, with the injection of new talent, players who have performed well in the past, like Conner McGovern, should return to form with more consistency around him. If the line can hold up and develop chemistry as the season progresses, Wilson could find himself exceeding expectations in his rookie season, which would be a sign of optimism for the future.

New York Jets receivers will surprise everyone in 2021

The New York Jets completely revamped their offense for the upcoming season. Rookie Michael Carter and veteran Tevin Coleman joined a running back group that will surely be by-committee. As for the passing game, that’s where it gets really, really fun.

Obviously, the team drafted BYU product Zach Wilson to be their quarterback of the future. However, he can’t throw the ball to himself. The receiving group the Jets built around Wilson is truly one to be excited about.

Well, for some people it is.

Pro Football Focus seems to feel differently. They ranked receiving groups for the upcoming season, keeping every addition and subtraction in mind for each group. The Jets landed at number 28. I may be biased, but that just doesn’t seem right.

Mark my words: the New York Jets receivers will surprise everyone in 2021.

The upgraded group starts with new addition Corey Davis, the former fifth overall pick and four-year vet from Tenessee. After an underwhelming first three seasons, Davis had an underrated 2020 season. Although missing two games, he posted career-highs in yards (984) and touchdowns (5) and tied his career-high in receptions (65).

According to PFF, he also posted a career-high grade of 86.9, along with his career-highs in recorded stats. Davis is a guy who does most of his damage in the intermediate level of the passing game, but can cause serious problems for defenses after the catch as well. The clear-cut number-one receiver is a big addition to this exciting, young offense and may very well make the Titans regret letting him leave.

Second-year wideout Denzel Mims has the ability to be a future number-one target, but he should be the number-two if things go as hoped. Personally, I have very high hopes for Mims. At 6-foot-3, 207 pounds, he is the big, outside target that pretty much every quarterback loves to have.

His ability to go up and win 50/50 balls, along with making guys miss after the catch, is a beautiful combination to see. However, having the ability isn’t enough. He needs to put it together over the course of the season.

Mims did earn a PFF grade of 70.4 last season and averaged 15.5 yards per reception, but only played nine games. If he stays on the field, he should take a big jump forward for the Jets this season.

Next comes Elijah Moore. The rookie has a lot of hype around him already, reportedly “turning heads” within the team. The ever-explosive slot receiver had a great junior season at Ole Miss, totaling 86 receptions for 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns in eight games.

Moore earned 2020 All-American and All-SEC First Team selections and the Jets were able to get him in round two of the draft. Being the best slot receiver in the draft, he may end up being a major steal compared to the other receivers drafted. Moore will be more than a regular rookie option. He’ll have a major impact going forward.

Rounding out the top-six receivers on the team are Jamison Crowder, Keelan Cole and Braxton Berrios. Crowder should be competing for slot time with Elijah Moore, and should still be a productive option on offense. If nothing else, he could mentor Moore as well. Berrios, who would probably be most productive as a slot guy as well, will have his work cut out for him to earn meaningful time on the field.

Keelan Cole is a bit of a mystery. Across his first four seasons in the league, he had over 500 yards twice and five touchdowns once. He won’t be one of the top-target options, but he’ll easily provide capable depth for the group.

For a New York Jets team that ranks 29th in receiving grades since 2018, the only place to go is up (for the most part). Even though the group is drastically improved as a whole, the question remains if the young players can improve on the field. They should be expected to and the group should be expected to be good.

The problem is, they aren’t expected to do that, clearly. As a result, the receivers will end up surprising people this upcoming season.

 

How do you think the receiving group will be this season? Let me know and keep the conversation going by tweeting me @brendancarpESM!

2 players the New York Jets absolutely struck gold with in the 2021 NFL Draft

elijah moore, jets

There is no question the New York Jets had one of the best draft classes in the NFL this year on paper, and now it’s time for them to display their talents during training camp and hopefully come the regular season. Of course, the drafting of Zach Wilson will plaster the headlines, but they have two more players capable of achieving greatness at the next level.

Two players the New York Jets struck gold with in the 2021 NFL Draft:

WR: Elijah Moore

Elijah Moore is the ideal slot receiver, standing at 5’9″ and 178 pounds. As a shifty pass catcher, he posted 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns last year with Ole Miss, presenting a fantastic athlete in the open field and consistent hands.

Falling to the second round, the Jets couldn’t believe their luck, as Moore fits multiple offensive systems, whether it be a West Coast style or Air Raid. He has the versatility to align outside and in the interior, representing a dynamic athlete with sudden quickness and sky-high potential. While his route running is still a bit raw, the right coaching should do the trick regarding his development at the next level. As a tough and gritty player, more has the ability to create after the catch and offer home-run capabilities.

While the drafting of Moore created the narrative that Jamison Crowder’s time in green might be coming to an end, the two sides settled on an agreement, slashing Crowder‘s salary by about 50%.

So far this off-season, Elijah has been a massive stand-out, impressing Robert Saleh as he shifts alignments. He checks all the right boxes when it comes to progression and fundamentals coming out of college. He is already making stellar improvements with the team, and gaining chemistry with Wilson could curate one of the most exciting QB-WR duos the Jets have seen in years.

OL: Alijah Vera-Tucker

Aside from Moore, the Jets also landed USC stand-out offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker. A unit the  New York Jets desperately needed to upgrade, Tucker has the versatility to play offensive tackle and guard, contributing toward his value.

In fact, Hall of Fame OT Anthony Munoz has already become a big fan of Tucker, who not only impressed him on the field but also with his intellectual nature.

“The first thing I knew about Vera-Tucker was that he played guard, he opted out because of Covid, then when the Pac-12 decided to play, he played left tackle and he played extremely well. I knew he was versatile, to move from inside to outside and to be effective. … I knew he was a pretty good offensive lineman, but the thing I noticed right away was how genuine and down to earth he is. At the same time, he’s focused and eager to get to work. He wanted to learn. That’s the sign of a guy who’s going to be a great, great player. He wants to learn and he’s not satisfied with his performance at the college level.”

Munoz detailed one specific factor that should excite fans about Alijah, his transition from the inside at guard to starting at left tackle, where he played well. That type of transition is not simple or smooth, and he held his own with ease, elevating his draft stock considerably. Per PFF, AVT played 975 total snaps during his career at USC, allowing 5.0 sacks, 3 QB hits, and 8 quarterback hurries.

Consider this, Greg Van Rotan, who the Jets signed last year to help supplement weaknesses in the interior, allowed three sacks, two QB hits, and 19 hurries in 752 snaps last season. AVT should offer an instant upgrade at guard but also has the versatility to swing outside if injuries arise. His development will be exciting to watch, and adding potentially elite players on offense is exactly what the Jets needed to build around Wilson.

Report: Jets ink OT Morgan Moses to one-year deal, add more competition to OL

morgan moses, new york jets

The New York Jets have been contemplating the idea of signing former Washington offensive tackle Morgan Moses to a one-year contract. Well, on Friday, they finalized the deal to bring Moses to New York, having started 97 games in his career for Washington.

The Jets, who have Mekhi Becton, George Fant, and rookie Alijah Vera-Tucker capable of playing offensive tackle, now have added competition from a solid veteran.

In 2020, Moses played the majority of his snaps at right tackle, featuring at left tackle in Weeks 11 and 12. He’s capable of playing on both sides but was far better in pass blocking when featuring on the right side of the OL. He allowed five total sacks, 14 QB hits, and 22 hurries.

Overall, Moses has been a consistent option for Washington for the past seven seasons. At 6’6″ and 335 pounds, rookie quarterback Zach Wilson now has himself a consistent OT on the right side who can provide support due to injury and will likely push Fant for the starting job.

Moses is coming off a five-year, $38.5 million deal, so the Jets signing him to a one-year contract should land in the $5-8 million range for the 2021 campaign. Fortunately, Moses hasn’t missed a game in six seasons, showcasing his reliability, and was mainly cut due to financial reasons and not performance-based factors.

Did the Jets stumble upon a stud in mid-round running back selection?

jets, michael carter

The New York Jets don’t have a clear-cut starting running back, but rookie Michael Carter out of UNC already has the advantage to be the opening day option for Zach Wilson in the backfield. Last year in 2020, Carter posted 1,245 yards and nine rushing touchdowns, including 267 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns.

As one of the most productive running backs in the country, nobody anticipated Carter falling to the 4th round. Jets management waited patiently for Carter to fall as they sat with their eyes glued to the screen as every team passed him by.

Having sweated the entire third round in hopes Carter would be available, general manager Joe Douglas stated they would have had a serious discussion taking him in the 3rd, but thankfully, he fell right into their laps and is already penciled in as a potential starter come Week 1.

Projected running back room for the Jets:

RB1: Michael Carter

RB2: Tevin Coleman

RB3: Ty Johnson

RB4: La’Mical Perine

RB5: Josh Adams

Carter has already gained the majority of first-team reps during OTA‘s, but the anticipation is that Robert Saleh will execute a rotation of running backs this upcoming year, especially with the signing of Tevin Coleman.

A committee-based approach would help Carter find his sea-legs at the NFL level, easing him into a more physical and athletic league. Heading into the draft, Carter’s strengths included solid agility, vision of the field, and protecting the football efficiently. The UNC product hasn’t fumbled in two years, and most of his negatives include diagnosing running lanes and a lack of top-end speed.

Breakaway speed for running backs is more of a luxury than a necessity, as finding running lanes and picking up first downs is more beneficial than blowing the top off of defenses at the second level. Plenty of backs with average speed produce above-average play. Some examples include Joe Mixon, Nick Chubb, Aaron Jones, Chris Carson, etc.

Ultimately, if Carter can improve his vision and ability to hit holes with confidence, the Jets could have themselves a steal in the mid-rounds. He is a player to have a close eye on during training camp, gauging his snap count with the starters.