While the Jets may have been one of the more surprising teams of 2018, the unfortunate sense of mediocrity has yet to leave the locker room. Gang Green slumped to another 5-11 season. The team saw some advancement in player development and cultural mindset to say the least.
That being said, the Jets attempted to take the route of thrusting young players into the spotlight this year. They had the sixth youngest roster in the NFL with an average age of 26. This, in fact, makes their competitiveness this season all that more surprising.
But some rookies flashed their potential more than others, and that may remain important as the Jets look to stay young in 2018. On the offensive side of the ball, Gang Green stuttered in rookie development. While the final three games looked to be a good test as to seeing what was stashed on the roster, the Jets failed to unwrap all their presents.
Here’s a look at the Jets’ offensive rookies, and how they may or may not fit into future endeavors:
(Ranked least impressive to most impressive)
TE Jordan Leggett (5th Round of 2017 NFL Draft)
It’s tough to name Jordan Leggett the least impressive offensive rookie this year simply because he only played in one game. Leggett sustained a knee injury in the preseason that lingered until he eventually wound up on injured reserve. However, his impact was non-existent, and the Jets are hoping to see more of what he’s worth next year.
Leggett’s 6-5 258lb frame makes him seem like a diamond-in-the-rough. With the Jets opening up the doors for the utilization of the tight end position this year, all eyes will be on him in 2018. If he can remain healthy, he should fit into the Jets’ offensive scheme well and play as a nice compliment to Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
In college, Leggett was a versatile play-maker. Through his four seasons at Clemson, Leggett grabbed 18 touchdowns on 146 receptions. This included a monstorous senior year where he nearly had 1,000 yards receiving.
WR ArDarius Stewart (3rd Round of 2017 NFL Draft)
The former Alabama standout had a pretty underwhelming 2017. Part of that could fall into the hands of the Jets coaching staff as they underutilized the speedy deep threat, but overall it was a disappointing year for the rookie.
In 15 games this season, ArDarius Stewart had just six catches for 82 yards and seven rushes for 27 yards. He doubled his season total in the Jets’ final game against New England, but still failed to find the endzone.
Even when Jeremy Kerley got slapped with a PED suspension and an eventual release, Stewart couldn’t find his groove. He was seen on special teams on a few occasions, but didn’t really shine in that regard either. Going into 2018, things likely won’t be easier for Stewart as the Jets will get back Quincy Enunwa, and continue to utilize Robby Anderson and Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
WR Chad Hansen (4th Round of 2017 NFL Draft)
Hansen had a similar rookie season as that of Stewart. He wasn’t seen as a high-impact player despite some issues in the Jets’ receiving corps, but he did begin proving his worth.
In 15 games, Chad Hansen was only targeted 17 times. He closed in on the 100 yards receiving mark in the Jets’ final game, but also failed to find the endzone.
At the University of California, Hansen solidified himself as one of the nation’s best receivers. As a junior in 2016, he was named first team All-Pac-12 after recording 92 receptions for 1,249 yards and 11 touchdowns in 10 games. The Jets are hoping that he can develop into that kind of impact player in the coming years.
RB Elijah McGuire (6th Round of 2017 NFL Draft)
The Jets got at least one nice offensive snag from the 2017 NFL Draft. Elijah McGuire found himself amidst a running back trio consisting of himself, Matt Forte, and Bilal Powell. He didn’t overwhelm, but he sure was productive.
McGuire played in all 16 games and finished with 315 yards and a touchdown. With Forte likely be a goner in 2018, McGuire should be looked at as a formidable piece to the offense. Powell and McGuire could be in for a more solidified running game come 2018, and McGuire seems to have all the pieces he needs to help carry that load.