The Jets had quite a surprising season defensively. Although the stats show a sub-par season, the defense is what kept the Jets in the majority of games they played.
Mike Maccagnan and company took an interesting path with the 2017 draft class. By drafting safeties in rounds one and two, many believe the positions are solidified for years to come.
Some players definitely showed more promise than others. Here’s how each player performed in their rookie year. (From least impressive to most impressive):
CB Jeremy Clark (6th Round of 2017 NFL Draft):
Clark has yet to play a game for the Jets. He unfortunately suffered a torn ACL while at Michigan. Clark was only taken off the non-football injury list in December, but didn’t find any playing time. It is tough to evaluate him, but perhaps he will get some opportunities next season.
CB Derrick Jones (6th Round of 2017 NFL Draft):
Well, the only reason Jones beat Clark on this list is because he played. Jones appeared in just two games this season and had no impact. Another tough player to evaluate here, but we’ll see him and Clark fight for reps or even a roster spot next season.
OLB Dylan Donahue (5th Round of 2017 NFL Draft):
Donahue injured his elbow in Week 4 against Jacksonville, which landed him on the season-ending IR. He did get playing time early in the year, but he did not make much out of it, acquiring just 4 tackles through 4 games. He did show potential in training camp, so you never know.
S Marcus Maye (2nd Round of 2017 NFL Draft):
It’s a flat-out toss-up between Adams and Maye. Both played extremely well in their rookie seasons. Maye was quite the surprise, considering most overlooked him due to Jamal Adams. Maye racked two INT’s, a forced fumble, and 79 total tackles. Him and Jamal Adams show promise as the cornerstone defensive studs for years to come.
S Jamal Adams (1st Round of 2017 NFL Draft):
Like I said, the Maye and Adams debate can go either way, but personally I believe Adams beats out Maye by the slightest edge. Adams excelled throughout the season, giving Jets fans everything they had hoped for (except an interception). Adams totaled 83 tackles, 2 sacks and 6 passes defended. He also recorded the highest amount of run stops among rookie safeties this season, acquiring 27, according to Pro Football Focus.