Did the New York Jets get a steal in pass rusher Jachai Polite?

The New York Jets drafted Jachai Polite in the third-round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

When the New York Jets picked Florida pass rusher Jachai Polite in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft, most had their reservations, but it marked the second talented defensive lineman they selected.

Polite had one of the worst NFL Combine performances in recent memory, but it shouldn’t scare you away, as in fact, he’s an extremely effective and production pass rusher.

Being bothered by a hamstring injury certainly didn’t do him any favors in the Combine — his usual fast speed and agility were hurt badly with a 4.84 40 yard-dash. He only participated in two events due to his deficiency.

The New York Jets may have gotten a steal in Jachai Polite:

On the field last year, Polite was one of college’s most effective playmakers, racking up six fumbles, 11 sacks, and 19.5 tackles for a loss. His numbers skyrocketed in 2018 and it gave him the foundation to be a high draft pick. At one point, he was even considered a first-round selection, but we can see how detrimental the Combine really is to a player’s stock.

However, while his statistics tell a positive story, he’s also had issues off the field and was even benched at one point for violating team rules. He has endured some other issues too — having terrible interviews at the Combine to go along with his performance.

If the third-round pick can manage to alleviate his off the field concerns and reach his potential, there’s no question he can be the steal of the draft for the Jets. There’s reason to believe Polite will flourish in an aggressive Gregg Williams defense that requires speed and agility off the line of scrimmage. It’s not guaranteed he will earn a starting role off the bat, but that ultimately comes down to him and if he shines this offseason during training camp and pre-season.

5 Things New York Jets General Manager Joe Douglas Should Do

New York Jets, Sam Darnold

The New York Jets have hired Joe Douglas as their General Manager, he’ll be taking over a franchise that has been starved for any relevancy in the past 50 years. Here are some moves he can make to get the green and white back to the promised land.

1. Get some legitimate competition for the starting Center

One position that the New York Jets haven’t had an issue with over the past 20 years has now become their biggest weakness. The past two years former General Manager Mike Maccagnan has tried to patch up the center position with two massive failures in Wesley Johnson and Spencer Long. This year they have perennial backup Jonotthan Harrison listed as the starter with no real competition to compete against him. Some options for General Manager Joe Douglas to consider are John Sullivan and Gino Gradkowski who both have experience starting at center.

2. Find your No. 2 cornerback 

The second biggest need for the Jets is finding a corner that can play alongside Trumaine Johnson. Over the last couple of years, the Jets have had Morris Claiborne manning down that spot, but after not being re-signed the Jets were left with a big hole to fill. Some names the Jets could look at are Morris Claiborne, Sam Shields, and Artie Burns. Burns is especially interesting because of his age, potential, and price tag.

3. Don’t try to change the culture

The most important ingredient to a Super Bowl-winning team isn’t what Quarterback you have, how good your line play is or even if you have an all-star team like the Browns, it’s about how good the culture in your locker room is. Yes, obviously you can’t win a Super Bowl with a guy like Blake Bortles, but with a good young core of leaders like the Jets have they can compete in a year or two with a promising young QB like Sam Darnold.

4. Don’t become a buyer

The Jets are in a great position to make a playoff run this year, but that is no reason for them to become a buyer. There are many holes on this team, and they have many rookie contracts coming up, so those draft picks can be used to get replacements if they are not able to re-sign everyone they want. A big reason why the Jets hired Douglas was for his ability to evaluate talent, so why limit his options in the draft to have immediate success instead of long-term success and sustainability.

5. Fire Gase if he doesn’t make playoffs year one

This seems a little harsh but honestly its what needs to happen. Adam Gase went all in on making the playoffs this year after he orchestrated the coup that allowed the Jets to land Joe Douglas. Adam Gase has all the tools he needs to make playoffs and any competent Head Coach would be able to make the playoffs with a roster that consists of C.J. Mosely, Le’Veon Bell, Jamal Adams, Sam Darnold, etc.

This is the most pivotal point in franchise history, and they cannot afford to screw this up. If Adam Gase we’re to get fired a couple of candidates the Jets would look at would be Jim Harbaugh, Todd Monken, Matt Rhule, John DeFilippo, and Eric Bieniemy.

New York Jets: LeVeon Bell is going to make Sam Darnold that much better

New York Jets, LeVeon Bell

The New York Jets are in great shape moving forward with LeVeon Bell at the helm:

While Isaiah Crowell presented a decent running back option in 2018 for the Jets, he doesn’t even compare to the talent they acquired in LeVeon Bell.

Despite the rumors that Adam Gase wasn’t interested in signing the star running back, his influence will be impactful, and he will elevate Sam Darnold’s numbers and success exponentially. Having a safety option like Bell in the backfield will give Darnold an extra progression in case his receivers are bottled up.

To give you some context:

Bell, who missed all of 2018 with a contract dispute, earned 1,291 rushing yards the year prior to go along with 655 receiving yards and 11 scores. As a dual-threat back, Gase will be able to open up his playbook and really exercise screens more effectively and efficiently. It will be interesting to see how Gase utilizes Bell’s unique skill-set and implements it on the offense.

Darnold commented on his abilities and how he is going to confuse defenses, according to ESPN:

“When he’s out there in the huddle, the defensive coordinator doesn’t know where he’s going to line up. He doesn’t know what’s coming his way. With Le’Veon out there, we’ve become a little more unpredictable, just because he’s such a great route runner. He’s not just running a ‘smoke,’ and he’s not just running 5-yard routes. He could run deep on you. He could run a slant … and score. There are a lot of different things he can do.”

That’s one of the more underrated aspects of Bell, he can run routes like a legitimate receiver — post routes, slants, etc. Unpredictability will be the word to use when it comes tot he Jets’ new running back – Gase said it himself:

“Is he going to be in the gun? Strong? Offset? Weak? Is he going to be under center [in the Wildcat]? Is he going to be split out wide? Is he going to be the single receiver? Is he going to be in empty? Is he going to be in the slot? There are five different spots he can go if we go empty.

I anticipate Bell not only being the leading rusher for the Jets but also their top receiver. Adding just Jamison Crowder in free agency to bolster their receiving corps simply isn’t enough to get the job done for Darnold. They still have Robby Anderson on the team but lost Jermaine Kearse – this unit surely needs a boost otherwise opposing defenses will look to scheme Bell out of the game.

Bell had Antonio Brown to help deter defenders from stacking the box against the running back in Pittsburgh.

New York Jets: Adam Gase says what every Jets fan wants to hear

New York Jets head coach, Adam Gase.

The New York Jets were enjoying a stellar offseason before general manager Mike Maccagnan was fired surprisingly after a reported dispute between himself and new head coach, Adam Gase.

The signings of LeVeon Bell and CJ Mosely suddenly took a backseat after a successful free agent period, but there’s still hope on the horizon, because as we know, being a Jets fan can never be easy.

However, Gase has taken on the role of interim general manager and has activated his positivity to band together with the fan-base.

“I think our fans care if we win or lose,” Gase said. “If we win games, no one is going to remember this, I know that. Our job is to win. Our job is to win. That’s it.”

Gase was accused of fighting with Maccagnan over the signing of Bell, as the former Miami Dolphin coach apparently believed that premium running backs weren’t necessary. Although, Gases’ relationship with Bell has been great since the firing.

The New York Jets can erase the bad with the good in 2019:

The Jets desperately need to have a successful season if they wish to wash the criticism away after the transgressions that occurred this offseason. With Sam Darnold going into his second-season, Gase and his offensive prowess should help him reach his potential.

Darnold threw 15 interceptions in 2018 – finding a way to lessen that number and utilize his playmakers efficiently will be the priority. Bell will certainly play a big part in the progression of the offense and the efficiency of the team as a whole.

Bell will act as a fantastic security blanket for Darnold in the passing game but will also give the Jets a quality at running back they haven’t experience in quite some time. Hopefully, Gase can bring out the best in Darnold and Bell individually.

New York Jets: Sam Darnold preparing to take big leap in 2019

New York Jets, Sam Darnold

The New York Jets didn’t hesitate to throw quarterback Sam Darnold into the fire last season, skimping him of playmakers on offense and protection on the offensive line.

Being sacked 30 times surely didn’t do his confidence any favors, yet he still earned 17 touchdowns through the air. However, he will look to improve upon his 57.5% completion percentage, a number that speaks more about his lack of talent at the wide receiver position rather than his inadequacies throwing the football.

The fact of the matter is, Darnold can be elite, but he will need to learn how to utilize talent. With players like LeVeon Bell and Jamison Crowder joining the Jets, the second-year passer will have playmakers to employ that trump any he’s ever worked with before.

Bell has the ability to break a big play at any moment and will be Darnold’s best friend in the passing game. A security blanket like Bell will open up the door to tons of offensive plays, especially screen passes and the play-action.

How did Sam Darnold look in the first team practice?

The young quarterback was stellar in the Jets’ first open practice on Thursday. While OTAs aren’t the best source or indication of success, they show the fundamental works of any given player. In those terms, Sam looked like a franchise signal caller.

He dropped a dime in the bread-basket of WR Robby Anderson on a 43-yard bomb down the sideline. He also sniped Quincy Enunwa across the middle in a tight window. New head coach Adam Gase and his offensive genius will help Darnold reach his potential. Coaching a stripped Miami Dolphins team limited the potential of the talented coach, but joining an organization with solid playmakers and a great young quarterback to help develop should extract the most out of his abilities.

I’m extremely excited to see what Gase and Darnold can accomplish as a duo.

 

 

Did the New York Jets Make a Mistake Signing Le’Veon Bell?

New York Jets, LeVeon Bell

The first thought that ran through my head when the New York Jets elected to fire Mike Maccagnan was, “there must be going on between him and Adam Gase.”

Very rarely do you see a general manager get fired after spending $200M in free agency and working through an entire draft, but it seems as if management is siding with their new head coach. Reports quickly emerged stating that Maccagnan and Gase were rifting, or otherwise divided in their ideology for building the team.

Maccagnan was dead set on acquiring star running back Le’Veon Bell while Gase apparently wanted to use in open-cap in other ways to further bolster the depth and offensive line. However, the Jets went out and secured Bell for $52.5M over four years.

The question is:

Was signing Le’Veon Bell worth it for the New York Jets?

Right off the bat, we can say — Bell theoretically got Maccagnan fired which has put a huge thunder cloud over what seemed to be a fantastic offseason for the Jets. But what would a great offseason be without a lick of drama at the end?

Nonetheless, the Jets gained a stellar offensive playmaker that will aid second-year quarterback Sam Darnold in every facet of the game. Bell will be the best runner the Jets have had in years – a security blanket in the pass game, and a solid blocker in protection.  The money spent on Le’Veon wasn’t out of this world either. He’s only on the book for four-years with an out after two that would count just $4M in dead cap.

His contract was formed perfectly to keep the Jets safe from bad-value and extract the most potential possible. If Bell performs well, he will remain in New York for years to come — if not, he will be released after just two seasons. Basically a trial run.

I can’t imagine Gase hated this move to the degree some are reporting. It doesn’t make physical or logical sense unless Gase hates elite playmakers on beautifully constructed contracts.

So, the bottom line, Bell was certainly not a bad acquisition for the Jets, and I’d be surprised if Gase was so opposed he managed to get Maccagnan fired.

 

New York Jets: Most Impactful Acquisition Might Not be Le’Veon Bell

The New York Jets acquired CJ Mosely this offseason.

The New York Jets acquired several free agents this offseason – Le’Veon Bell headlined the group, but he might not be the most impactful player in 2019.

After New York Jets first-round pick from 2018 Sam Darnold went through growing pains last season, there was no question the team needed to bring in more talent.

Providing Darnold with Jermaine Kearse as his No. 1 receiving option and Robby Anderson as his most productive target just didn’t cut it. Going out and securing star running back Le’Veon Bell was a priority, and his presence instantly makes the team much better.

Darnold will have a serious threat out of the backfield, and he will have a security blanket in the passing game. Bell is a generational talent and the Jets second-year passer will reap the rewards.

The Jets might get even more value from a different signing:

However, I’m not convinced Bell will be the most impactful acquisition this upcoming season. A year away from football will require Bell to regain his form and condition his body to the brutality of the NFL. The player who I believe will excel is linebacker, CJ Mosely.

In five season, Mosely has earned Pro Bowl credentials in four. He’s an elite defender that rarely gets injured and perform consistently throughout the season. He’s the perfect fit for the Jets in the middle of the field.

Tallying 106 total tackles, six for a loss, and five passes defended, Mosely has proven he’s more than just a tackling machine. He can play in coverage and dominate in all facets of the game, and coming off another successful season makes me believe he will be extremely influential for the Jets in 2019.

A tough player like CJ in the AFC East will pay dividends. Finally! The Jets have a team worthy of standing up tall to the New England Patriots and coming away victorious. The light at the end of the tunnel is nearly there, all we have to do is reach.

 

New York Jets: Underrated Rookie Could Make Serious Impact in 2019

The New York Jets drafted Jachai Polite in the third-round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

While New York Jets first-round pick Quinnen Williams has attracted a majority of the headlines, third-round pick Jachai Polite has quietly signed his rookie contract and prepared to make his mark in the NFL.

Polite’s draft stock plummeted after a slow 40-yard dash time and underwhelming physical measurements, but his numbers speak for itself. In his final season with Florida, Polite tallied 27 total tackles with 19.5 for a loss and 11 sacks. He showed premium pass-rushing skills while also playing well against the run.

The frequent defensive end might have to make the transition to outside linebacker in the NFL, as his frame isn’t ideal to fill a three-down role. However, he could play a decent amount on passing downs, as stopping the run might be his downfall at the professional level.

What does the New York Jets’ defensive line look like after the draft?

Moving forward, the defensive front for the Jets is much improved since adding Quinnen Williams and Jachai Polite. The line was already saturated with several talented players — Leonard Williams, Ryan Anderson, and Steve McLendon.

Quinnen, who was the top-rated defensive prospect in the 2019 NFL Draft, will be an immediate starter in the middle. He has immense pass-rush and run-stopping abilities to pair with a quality personality. His influence will be great as Polite comes into his own.

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There’s no question that Polite will require a few months of development, especially after going through the NFL Combine with a hamstring injury. He’s still likely not entirely healed, but when healthy he’s a force on the line of scrimmage.

Hopefully, the Jets can assist in increasing his play-weight but also maintaining his speed off the edge.

New York Jets: Chris Herndon Preparing to Take his Game to the Next Level

New York Jets, Chris Herndon

The 2018 season opened up various doors and provided answers for the New York Jets. From quarterback Sam Darnold to a leaky offensive and defensive front, multiple issues were in need of support heading into the NFL Draft.

However, one position that looked solidified was tight end. Second-year man Chris Herndon is primed for a successful season in 2019. After putting up 502 yards and four scores last year, Herndon is preparing to take his game to the next level.

Just check out this catch from the former third-rounder, one of the snags of the year and a testament to his talent:

Herndon is not only a solid receiver, but he’s a quality blocker as well. A solid frame — 6-foot-4, 253-pounds helps him excel in multiple facets of the game.

What the New York Jets offense looks like now:

With several influential signings being made this offseason, the offense now has plenty of talent to operate at a high level. Bringing on star running back Le’Veon Bell and slot receiver Jamison Crowder should immediately increase Darnold’s efficiency.

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Last season, the Jets’ offense ranked #23 in points scored with 20.8 per game, according to NFL.com. Bell’s influence will surely provide more points and the experience of Darnold and Herndon will aid in its elevation as well.

The Jets also drafted West Virginia tight end Trevon Wesco this offseason to provide even more support at the position. Wesco is considered the top blocking tight end out of the 2019 prospects, which should provide the Jets with the opportunity to utilize two tight end sets effectively.

 

 

 

What Should the New York Jets do with LB Darron Lee?

When the New York Jets drafted highly-touted linebacker Darron Lee in 2016, they surely didn’t believe he would be on his way out just three years later.

Lee had a decent season in 2018, earning three interceptions, five passes defended, and 74 combined tackles. The problem, though, wasn’t last season, it was the two before. He had approximately zero interceptions and missed four games, in addition to the four he missed last year.

Injury concerns and lack of production are just two of the factors that have led the Jets to decline his fifth-year option. The linebacker would’ve taken up $9.5M in salary-cap next year if kept, but it seems as if they will let him walk, or even better, the team will trade him away and receive at least a late draft-pick in return.

What should the New York Jets do with Darron Lee?

If we’ve learned anything from the cross-town Giants, trading a player when they have value is a necessity. Just ask Landon Collins. A possible trading partner could be the Jacksonville Jaguars who just lost Telvin Smith for the 2019 season. Acquiring even a fourth/fifth round pick would be worth trading Lee away.

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How could Lee benefit the Jets this year?

It’s possible the Jets keep Lee in a speedy role fitted to Greg Williams’ scheme. Darron is a faster-undersized linebacker that may play at a higher level in a coverage role rather than near the line of scrimmage.

He has had trouble shedding blockers in the past and there’s no indication that he will overcome that challenge. However, the bigger question is his maturity and if he can handle a potential demotion.

“Darron has played and done some good things for us,” Maccagnan said about Lee, according to the NY Post. “We’ll see how this unfolds going forward. I think we have some very good competition at a lot of positions. We have very good depth at a lot of positions. We’ll see how it unfolds going forward.”