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Is Former Third-Round Pick in Jeopardy of Losing Roster Spot? Jets Need to see Something From Zuniga Soon


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As the Jets learned they would be without pass rusher Carl Lawson for the entire 2021 season after suffering a ruptured achilles during yesterday’s joint practice with the Packers, one can’t help but wonder about the future of last year’s third-round pick (79th overall) in defensive end Jabari Zuniga as guys like Bryce Huff can’t be the only players being asked to step up.

Zuniga couldn’t have done much less to help his cause than he did last year as a rookie.  After missing time due to injury, when the Florida product was finally able to get on the field, he was virtually invisible.  Now, in fairness to Zuniga, he played just over 100 snaps (104 actually) which is quite a small sample size.

Sample size aside however, what he did put on film wasn’t pretty.  In his 8 games as a rookie, Zuniga produced just 5 tackles.  Three of them of the solo variety and the other two listed as assists.  There were no tackles for loss, no sacks and not a single hit an an opposing quarterback.  Not what you expect from a guy who was drafted in the top 100 to be a pass rusher.

There were those who suggested it was Zuniga being used in a 3-4 defense for which he is not suited, but plenty of his reps came as part of a four-man front in passing situations last season and even in those situations he didn’t exactly set the world on fire.

Now a part of Robert Saleh’s defense, Zuniga’s name has very rarely (if ever) been brought up by those in attendance at 1 Jets drive to watch the team practice so the first indication the fans would get as to Zuniga’s progress was this past weekend against the Giants.  The results?  Zuniga earned the lowest rating on either side of the ball for the Jets at 29.6 according to PFF.  He would play 12 snaps against second and third-strong offensive linemen and would come away with one tackle and one missed tackle.  Once again there were no sacks, no quarterback hits and not even a pressure.

In just his second season, it’s getting late early for Zuniga on a deep Jets defensive line with guys who should be behind him on the depth chart looking much better against the Giants on Saturday.  Recently signed street free agent Jeremiah Valoaga and undrafted rookie free agent Hamilcar Rashed played far better than Zuniga.

If Zuniga wants to hang around, he’s got to show something fast.

The post Is Former Third-Round Pick in Jeopardy of Losing Roster Spot? Jets Need to see Something From Zuniga Soon appeared first on JetNation.com (NY Jets Blog & Forum).

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2 minutes ago, Irish Jet said:

The 2019 and 2020 drafts are actually looking pretty similar in terms of quality right now.

Running backs are a dime a dozen and I think you can get guys like Perine from the free agent scrap heap pretty much anytime. Still my most hated pick of that draft.

Mims has a lot to do to prove himself yet - He's still buried down the depth chart which is disappointing relative to what we'd have expected from him. He's probably the one most likely to salvage that draft but he has to step up. 

Davis and Clark can't get on the field. Morgan looks awful. Zuniga looks even worse than Polite. You don't look for superstars in those rounds but that's some awful pieces for any roster. 

 

You're not wrong but as I said, way too early for any final verdicts on these guys.

If I had to guess I'd say four or five of them become starters.  Even if it's 3 starters and a couple of high quality backups that's a successful class.

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1 hour ago, Irish Jet said:

That whole draft is entering Maccagnan territory. Zuniga looks like a total fraud who can't play in the NFL.

It's funny how saying his first draft looked shaky on this board meant you got downvoted and attacked last year but it's shaping up to possibly be an awful draft.

 

I wonder how long the blind Joe Douglas homerism on this place continues if this season we are once again horrible. All the people crowning him here before he accomplished anything has been very odd.

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6 minutes ago, Bruce Harper said:

Hard to judge a draft after one year. But if he drafted five starters this year does that affect your Douglas hate?


Sent from my iPhone using JetNation.com mobile app

The good does not wash out the bad. If this draft hits then that's great, we'll have to see. Early signs are positive but he will still have the 2020 draft held against him and will be under pressure to avoid drafts like that going forward.

It's genuinely ridiculous how defensive some are over Douglas. Any semblance of criticism to anything he's done and it's striking a nerve. 

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6 minutes ago, kevinc855 said:

For people defending the 2020 draft as still a good draft you are reaching, no longer the other way around 

Becton - showing major warning signs 

Mimms - always hurt/struggling to make the team

davis - complete bust

zuniga - complete bust 

Morgan - about to lose his spot to mike white 

perine - as mentioned he’s a rotation running back 

Clark - always hurt 

hall - has worked out pretty well

mann - remember those 15 yard punts? 

At this point it’s just delusional to say the 2020 draft was a good one 

Not everyone grades a draft after one season.  If we did, then it's certainly a very bad class.  

For those fans who give a class a few seasons it's a different story.

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Personally I think it takes about 3 full seasons to truly asses a draft. Some players show promise early and then fizzle out into nothing while others struggle mightily before it clicks. The amount of players that become something else after 3 seasons is extremely rare.

This is year 2, so you can't close the book either way but I think its without question the 2020 draft at this moment does not look good.

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2 minutes ago, Sammybighead said:

Be careful with this. Q was a total bust after his first year, remember?

Saying a draft stinks in the first year of the class SHOULD get you downvoted every time. Saying it stinks after 2-3 years is reassessing based on actual long term evidence which is totally reasonable.

There's a difference between making definitive statements like "This draft is awful and the players are all busts" and " The early returns on this draft are poor and the players arent contributing yet"

 

Giving even the slightest criticism gets you down voted.

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11 minutes ago, Prodigal Syndicate said:

There's a difference between making definitive statements like "This draft is awful and the players are all busts" and " The early returns on this draft are poor and the players arent contributing yet"

 

Giving even the slightest criticism gets you down voted.

Fair but I think very few rookies end up being significant contributors on any team. 

I have not/would not downvote that statement, however, I still think it’s too early even with reports of certain guys struggling. We’ll know a lot at the end of this year. There is still a great opportunity here for Becton, Mims, Hall and Huff (yes, he’s part of the draft class). Imagine we got a good LT, WR, CB and EDGE out of 1 draft? Let’s give these guys some more time.

That said, Zuniga is a bust, I’ll make the definitive statement. I gave up on him. Seriously, not even a single mention in camp yet?

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4 hours ago, Irish Jet said:

The 2019 and 2020 drafts are actually looking pretty similar in terms of quality right now.

Running backs are a dime a dozen and I think you can get guys like Perine from the free agent scrap heap pretty much anytime. Still my most hated pick of that draft.

Mims has a lot to do to prove himself yet - He's still buried down the depth chart which is disappointing relative to what we'd have expected from him. He's probably the one most likely to salvage that draft but he has to step up. 

Davis and Clark can't get on the field. Morgan looks awful. Zuniga looks even worse than Polite. You don't look for superstars in those rounds but that's some awful pieces for any roster. 

 

My hope is Douglas used Maccagnans notes for the 2020 draft. We don’t just draft bad players…we draft out of the league bad players. Zuniga and Davis may have trouble finding another roster.

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4 hours ago, Jetsfan80 said:

Davis and Zuniga are huge 3rd round disappointments at this point and there’s no way to sugarcoat that. We were hoping for a Center Fielder and a situational pass rusher and have gotten nothing but injuries and 2 guys who’ve looked lost when they’ve been out there for the most part. 

So JD lifted our 2nd round curse but it morphed into a 3rd round curse.  Hey, that might explain why he traded away our third rounders this year.  

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2 hours ago, Prodigal Syndicate said:

There's a difference between making definitive statements like "This draft is awful and the players are all busts" and " The early returns on this draft are poor and the players arent contributing yet"

 

Giving even the slightest criticism gets you down voted.

Because we want to have a little fun and be optimistic before the season starts, not be mired in dour cynicism and downer vibes. We have the season to get depressed if/when things go south. Can we enjoy ourselves a little? WTF

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Even without Lawson, it is hard to see Zuniga making this team.  He is often hurt and had little impact when given opportunities either last season, or in the game on Saturday.  Barring a major step forward int eh next few weeks, I don't see him making this roster.  We have too much depth along the DL.  Maybe he sticks for a week or two if Curry is not ready week 1, but I think he is a long shot.

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5 hours ago, AFJF said:

Honestly shocked at just how bad this dude has been.  Deep D-line is bad news for him if he doesn't make an appearance at some point over the next two games.

Likewise.  He's always injured but I thought if he could stay healthy, he'd in the very least be a solid situational pass rusher.  He's an athletic freak and he was a unblockable monster when healthy in college.  Really thought if he could get through an offseason healthy, we'd be seeing him in the rotation. 

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31 minutes ago, JiFapono said:

Likewise.  He's always injured but I thought if he could stay healthy, he'd in the very least be a solid situational pass rusher.  He's an athletic freak and he was a unblockable monster when healthy in college.  Really thought if he could get through an offseason healthy, we'd be seeing him in the rotation. 

he's never flashed.  with his athletic testing you'd think you'd see something by now.

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1744242576_images(1).jpeg.91a1449d778736df4bfa82cf79c83807.jpeg

Jabari Zuniga was a pass rushing 4-3 DE coming out of Florida last year (as was Quinnen Williams a 4-3 DT coming out of Alabama) and was played out of position by Adam Gase and Gregg Williams as a Rookie last year. 

(See for yourselves). 

I'm not quitting on this kid as a pass rusher due to his Rookie season at least not because of Adam Gase playing him out of position I'm not. 

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8 minutes ago, Augustiniak said:

he's never flashed.  with his athletic testing you'd think you'd see something by now.

I hear ya, I'd love to use the lack of an offseason and being injured to start his career excuse but at some point you have at least make it seem like you belong. 

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6 hours ago, JetNation said:

Zuniga-head-shot.jpg

As the Jets learned they would be without pass rusher Carl Lawson for the entire 2021 season after suffering a ruptured achilles during yesterday’s joint practice with the Packers, one can’t help but wonder about the future of last year’s third-round pick (79th overall) in defensive end Jabari Zuniga as guys like Bryce Huff can’t be the only players being asked to step up.

Zuniga couldn’t have done much less to help his cause than he did last year as a rookie.  After missing time due to injury, when the Florida product was finally able to get on the field, he was virtually invisible.  Now, in fairness to Zuniga, he played just over 100 snaps (104 actually) which is quite a small sample size.

Sample size aside however, what he did put on film wasn’t pretty.  In his 8 games as a rookie, Zuniga produced just 5 tackles.  Three of them of the solo variety and the other two listed as assists.  There were no tackles for loss, no sacks and not a single hit an an opposing quarterback.  Not what you expect from a guy who was drafted in the top 100 to be a pass rusher.

There were those who suggested it was Zuniga being used in a 3-4 defense for which he is not suited, but plenty of his reps came as part of a four-man front in passing situations last season and even in those situations he didn’t exactly set the world on fire.

Now a part of Robert Saleh’s defense, Zuniga’s name has very rarely (if ever) been brought up by those in attendance at 1 Jets drive to watch the team practice so the first indication the fans would get as to Zuniga’s progress was this past weekend against the Giants.  The results?  Zuniga earned the lowest rating on either side of the ball for the Jets at 29.6 according to PFF.  He would play 12 snaps against second and third-strong offensive linemen and would come away with one tackle and one missed tackle.  Once again there were no sacks, no quarterback hits and not even a pressure.

In just his second season, it’s getting late early for Zuniga on a deep Jets defensive line with guys who should be behind him on the depth chart looking much better against the Giants on Saturday.  Recently signed street free agent Jeremiah Valoaga and undrafted rookie free agent Hamilcar Rashed played far better than Zuniga.

If Zuniga wants to hang around, he’s got to show something fast.

The post Is Former Third-Round Pick in Jeopardy of Losing Roster Spot? Jets Need to see Something From Zuniga Soon appeared first on JetNation.com (NY Jets Blog & Forum).

http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Jetnationcom/~4/bRmKQ5cOdwI

Click here to read the full story...

Zuniga is a bust.  That he still has a roster spot is a crime.

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19 minutes ago, Defense Wins Championships said:

1744242576_images(1).jpeg.91a1449d778736df4bfa82cf79c83807.jpeg

Jabari Zuniga was a pass rushing 4-3 DE coming out of Florida last year (as was Quinnen Williams a 4-3 DT coming out of Alabama) and was played out of position by Adam Gase and Gregg Williams as a Rookie last year. 

(See for yourselves). 

I'm not quitting on this kid as a pass rusher due to his Rookie season at least not because of Adam Gase playing him out of position I'm not. 

Stop with the excuses.  He was terrible last season even when lined up as a DE with a 4-man front.

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1 hour ago, JiFapono said:

Likewise.  He's always injured but I thought if he could stay healthy, he'd in the very least be a solid situational pass rusher.  He's an athletic freak and he was a unblockable monster when healthy in college.  Really thought if he could get through an offseason healthy, we'd be seeing him in the rotation. 

A professional-level coach I talked to awhile back lamented that too many of the gifted athletes feel entitled, and once they make into professional sports they feel as if they arrived and stop working hard. Perhaps that’s Zuniga. 

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joes draft was terrible just hope the most recent one was not-I don't need to wait 3+ years to confirm scrubs are scrubs just like I didn't need to wait the 3 years hackenberg defenders were saying we needed to do. It is like going to a restaurant you order a meal and after a few bites you want to spit out the food as it is so bad-you don't need to keep eating to see if it gets better.

As far as building a roster I give Joe a D- at this point. Joe best hope Wilson is a stud when it is all said and done. I root like hell for Wilson but I think he was the 5th best QB in the most recent draft but hopefully Joe is correct

I love the Joe head coach hire. I think he proved to be correct about letting Adams go for picks(hopefully they turn into something

 

 

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