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How ESPN views the Jets' group of offensive playmakers


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Billy Riccette  - June 26, 2023 

The Jets spent the offseason building up their offensive weaponry while making their push for quarterback Aaron Rodgers. That included bringing in wide receivers Allen Lazard and Mecole Hardman along with drafting running back Israel Abanikanda.Grouping those players in with the ones already in the mix, such as wide receiver Garrett Wilson and running back Breece Hall, the Jets hope to have an explosive offense in 2023. However, one writer still doesn’t seem so high on the grouping, at least based on the ranking.

ESPN NFL writer Bill Barnwell recently ranked all 32 teams and their groups of offensive playmakers, bringing together running backs, wide receivers and tight ends. Some notes include the focus being on a team’s top five playmakers and wide receivers were weighted more than tight ends and running backs.So where do the Jets rank on this list? That would be down at No. 22, though that is an improvement from No. 30 in 2021 and No. 24 in 2022.

Here’s what Barnwell had to say about the Jets’ group:

For the Jets, it’s all about the class of 2022. Garrett Wilson won Offensive Rookie of the Year and produced upper-echelon wideout numbers with replacement-level quarterback play. His 1.92 yards per route run were in line with DK Metcalf and DJ Moore a year ago. Drops were a concern — Wilson put five balls on the ground — but he’s already a No. 1 receiver with the potential to be a superstar.Things begin to get dicier from there. Breece Hall was averaging nearly 6.0 yards per carry to start his career when he tore an ACL in October. There are questions about whether he will be ready for the start of training camp. While Hall’s long-term outlook is still exciting, there are plenty of backs who need a full season to get back to their old selves after an ACL injury. Michael Carter and rookie fifth-round pick Israel Abanikanda would have to pick up the pieces if Hall misses time.

The organization traded wide receiver Elijah Moore, cut Braxton Berrios after the season and cleared a path in the process for two certified friends of Aaron Rodgers. I’m not sure those were positive moves. Wideouts Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb afford Rodgers some level of familiarity within the offense, but they weren’t helping the Packers last season. Rodgers posted a 62.2 QBR when Cobb and Lazard were on the sideline, but when one or both of those wideouts were on the field, his QBR dropped by 23 points (39.2). In other words, with those guys off the field, Rodgers was the fifth-best quarterback in football. With one or both involved, he ranked 26th.I’m not sure there’s a ton behind them on the wide receiver depth chart, either. Mecole Hardman has his role as a useful gadget player, but he was never able to turn into much more in Kansas City. Corey Davis has just narrowly topped his 2020 totals (65 receptions for 984 yards and five scores) across two combined seasons with the Jets (66 receptions for 1,028 yards and six scores) and might be a cap casualty before the season once the team restructures Rodgers’ deal. Denzel Mims, a second-round pick by general manager Joe Douglas in 2020, is facing a challenge to make the Week 1 roster.

Tyler Conklin played ahead of C.J. Uzomah a year ago, as the former Bengals tight end missed two games and finished with only 232 receiving yards. Whether it’s Conklin, Lazard or somebody else, the Jets desperately need a second receiver to step up behind Wilson.

 >>  How ESPN views the Jets’ group of offensive playmakers (usatoday.com)

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