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8 Young Jets Who Could Make Big Leap in 2018


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8 young Jets who could make big leap in 2018 | Is Sam Darnold among them?

Posted May 15, 2018 at 05:00 AM | Updated May 15, 2018 at 07:49 AM
 
 
 
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By Darryl Slater | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

As the Jets get ready for the start of spring practices — with organized team activities on May 22 — let's take a look at eight young Jets players who could make a big leap in 2018. Is rookie quarterback Sam Darnold among them? 

Jets Rookie Camp Football
AP Photo
 

The Jets took Darnold third overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. 

 
 
RT BRANDON SHELL

NFL SEASONS PLAYED: 2 

NOTABLE STATS: Shell started three games as a rookie and 12 last season. 

 

 
 
 
WHY SHELL COULD MAKE LEAP

He has long been more comfortable at right tackle, going back to his high school days. Now that Shell has one season under his belt as the Jets' starting right tackle, he ought to be a better pass blocker in 2018, since he is fully used to the speed of the NFL game. 

 
 
OLB JORDAN JENKINS

NFL SEASONS PLAYED: 2 

NOTABLE STATS: Jenkins had 2.5 sacks as a rookie and three last season. 

 

 
 
WHY JENKINS COULD MAKE LEAP

The Jets need edge-rushing production, and this just might be the year Jenkins finally turns the corner and becomes a more complete outside linebacker — a guy just as capable of setting the edge against the run (which Jenkins does well) as rushing the passer. 

 
 
DE LEONARD WILLIAMS

NFL SEASONS PLAYED: 3 

NOTABLE STATS: Williams had three, seven, and two sacks in his first three seasons. 

 

 
 
 
WHY WILLIAMS COULD MAKE LEAP

Eventually, all those quarterback hits have to turn into more sacks, right? Williams has worked on his first step in pass rushing this offseason. We think it'll pay off in 2018. Williams' quarterback hits by season — 21, 19, and 25. So he has 65 career quarterback hits and just 12 sacks. That latter figure will jump considerably in 2018. 

 
 
 
S MARCUS MAYE

NFL SEASONS PLAYED: 1

NOTABLE STATS: Maye had two interceptions and one forced fumble as a rookie. 

 

 
 
WHY MAYE COULD MAKE LEAP

He looked the part last season. Maye is cerebral enough that he should continue to grasp the nuanced parts of playing free safety in 2018. If he can hone his coverage skills, he could be a superb back-end player.

 
 
S JAMAL ADAMS

NFL SEASONS PLAYED: 1

NOTABLE STATS: Adams didn't have any picks as a rookie, but he defended six passes, forced a fumble, and had two sacks. 

 

 
 
WHY ADAMS COULD MAKE LEAP

Adams has long-term star potential for the Jets. Yes, he remains somewhat raw in coverage. But he was in the right place often enough last season to have several near-interceptions. Now, he just needs to come down with them. The Jets have a prodigious safety duo with Maye and Adams. 

 
 
WR ROBBY ANDERSON

NFL SEASONS PLAYED: 2 

NOTABLE STATS: Last season was the best of his career so far — 63 catches, 941 yards, seven touchdowns.

 

 
 
 
WHY ANDERSON COULD MAKE LEAP

We think Anderson's two arrests in less than a year were a wakeup call for him. They better be. Plus, he is scheduled to be a restricted free agent next offseason. If he can string together two more very good (and trouble-free) years in 2018 and 2019, he could cash in big-time after the 2019 season. Anderson has No. 1 receiver potential as a blazing deep-threat guy. He just needs to stop getting arrested. 

new-york-jets-practice-open-training-cam
John Munson | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
WR QUINCY ENUNWA

NFL SEASONS PLAYED: 3 (but is entering Year 5) 

NOTABLE STATS: In 2016, he had 58 catches for 857 yards and four touchdowns. 

 

 
 
WHY ENUNWA COULD MAKE LEAP

He missed all of last season with a neck injury, but it looks like he'll be able to physically return OK from that. Enunwa and Anderson could be a fascinating receiver duo for the Jets, with Enunwa providing strength and blocking ability out of the slot. Enunwa will be motivated entering 2018, as well, since he didn't play last season and since he is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent next offseason. Cash-in time for him. 

 
QB SAM DARNOLD

NFL SEASONS PLAYED: 0 

NOTABLE STATS: Last season at USC, he threw 26 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, after having 31 and nine in 2016. 

 

 
 
 
WHY DARNOLD COULD MAKE LEAP

Yes, it's weird to include him on here, because it's not like he is making a leap from anything, in terms of previous NFL experience. But the Jets will give him every opportunity in 2018 to win the starting job and show progress. They drafted him third overall for a reason. He has the talent, provided he can limit turnovers, to be a long-term solution for the Jets. 

 
 
 
DARK HORSE YOUNG GUY TO WATCH

Second-year tight end Jordan Leggett missed all of last season with a knee injury, and the Jets are going to push him this summer, as he competes with rookie Chris Herndon for the starting job. It's there for the taking, since Austin Seferian-Jenkins left for the Jaguars in free agency. Keep an eye on Leggett this summer. He flashed at times last spring and summer, before that knee injury brought him down. 

 
 
WHICH YOUNG JET WILL MAKE BIGGEST LEAP?

For us, it's an easy pick. We think Williams is going to have a highly successful season — if the Jets can do something, anything to draw double teams away from him. The Jets' defensive coaches will need to get creative here, because it's not like Williams has a big-name pass rusher playing opposite him. Still, we expect a 10-sack season from Williams in 2018. He has too much talent to keep coming up short on sacks. 

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47 minutes ago, MDL_JET said:

I’ll say Hansen if he doesn’t get buried on the depth chart. He’ll break out like Anderson did if he gets enough chances. 

Don’t know about breaking out like Anderson did, I do think he can be a very good chain mover as he showed in his limited reps last year. The cool thing about Hansen is that he has the size and ability to play outside as well. I haven’t given up on him yet.

 

He might get buried in the depth chart though.

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14 minutes ago, Patriot Killa said:

Don’t know about breaking out like Anderson did, I do think he can be a very good chain mover as he showed in his limited reps last year. The cool thing about Hansen is that he has the size and ability to play outside as well. I haven’t given up on him yet.

 

He might get buried in the depth chart though.

He’d have to be thrusted into the starting role to break out like that but can def be a big contributor. Nobody should be giving up on him or Stewart. 

WRs are so all over the place when it comes to developing. Might not even happen till year 3. 

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13 minutes ago, MDL_JET said:

He’d have to be thrusted into the starting role to break out like that but can def be a big contributor. Nobody should be giving up on him or Stewart. 

WRs are so all over the place when it comes to developing. Might not even happen till year 3. 

Only issue is he will probably be a #5

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1 hour ago, MDL_JET said:

I’ll say Hansen if he doesn’t get buried on the depth chart. He’ll break out like Anderson did if he gets enough chances. 

Agreed I liked Hansen coming out of Cal,. Blazing speed just needs a chance to show it.

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I've always enjoyed Slater's optimism.  This was a fun piece to read.  

So what's eeveryone over/under on how many of the 8 actually make the leap?  5 for me.  Darnold isn't one of them.  As long as McCown stays in one piece, they will wait on Darnold until he is ready, with Teddy being the dark horse candidate. 

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piece pretty much sums up the overt talent the jets have.  hansen looked to be coming on last season. mcguire may not be so bad now that he has a year of experience. the list, except for enunwa, also underscores the level of talent mac has brought in over the past three drafts. these are 7 bona fide starters on just about any team.  is that enough?  maybe not, but not all teams can get so many really good players in a couple of drafts like the cowboys did or the steelers did back in the 70's.

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If...and that is a BIG IF, Leggett or Herndon can elevate & become starting TEs in this league it will open up everything for our WRs.

Ive said it before regarding these WRs, not a Super Star in the bunch but from 1 to 5 could be a very good GROUP of WRs. 

Anderson was just scratching the surface last year until McCown went down. Working with Ocho Cinco, you started seeing him use inside & outside cuts that if the QB was in sync were almost unstoppable. When you have that kind of speed & can cut on a dime, you can't stop a well thrown back shoulder throw. 

Now, you add Quincy back into the mix, a big azz strong fast versatile WR that can play outside, slot, on the end as a hybrid. Kearse now slips into #3 and he was an excellent #2 last year. Kearse is great at sitting in zones. 

Now you add 2 tall wiry fast WRs like Pryor & Hansen, that's a pretty deep WR group. Just 1 TE needs to emerge to put this group over the top. Plus you replaced Forte (the glue horse) with Crowell, that's a HUGE upgrade! 

Jets will surprise. You keep McCown clean he'll spread the ball around. They scored enough points with McCown last year to win games, the defense was a sieve though and that should change with more experience for the young guys.

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"WHICH YOUNG JET WILL MAKE BIGGEST LEAP?

For us, it's an easy pick. We think Williams is going to have a highly successful season — if the Jets can do something, anything to draw double teams away from him. The Jets' defensive coaches will need to get creative here, because it's not like Williams has a big-name pass rusher playing opposite him. Still, we expect a 10-sack season from Williams in 2018. He has too much talent to keep coming up short on sacks. "

I do not have a lot of faith  in the bolded part.  While other teams are moving their best D lineman around and looking for mismatches it seems to me the jets plunk the guy in and want to fit him in their 'system'.  I've seen no evidicne that our D coaches really try and free up playmakers at all.

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