With the 2017 NFL season officially in the books, it’s time to rate how the rookies did in their first season. The Jets had a talent depleted offense AND defense going into the 2017 season, so it was certainly the year of the rookies. Many of the first year players throughout the NFL shined while many others hid in the background. The New York Jets had a mix of both categories. Here are the ratings:
Jamal Adams: B+
The LSU product came onto the scene drafted #6 overall and shined in the spotlight. The safety played in all 16 games and had a combined 83 tackles (63 solo and 20 assist). Jamal Adams also managed to record two sacks both during games against the Miami Dolphins, at home and on the road. Adams then continued his spotlight charge recording two forced fumble recoveries.
However, safeties are judged by their down field play. Adams had no interceptions during the season and he was not invited to the Pro Bowl or nominated for Defensive Rookie of the Year. He later made a bold claim on Twitter saying that he will never miss another Pro Bowl.
Overall the LSU product posted outstanding numbers for the Jets who have been burned often on the long throws last season.
Jets rookie Jamal Adams vows to never miss another Pro Bowl https://t.co/Ye30qNpvXJ
— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) December 20, 2017
Marcus Maye: A-
With the 39th pick in the 2017 draft the New York Jets selected another Safety after drafting Jamal Adams at #6. The Florida product came onto the scene but disappeared into the background after being out shined in the spotlight by Jamal Adams. However, he was not out played.
Marcus Maye certainly showed the Jets how valuable he can be to them. Like Adams, Maye played in all 16 games and had a combined 79 tackles (57 solo and 22 assist). And while Maye never recorded any sacks during the year, he did intercept two passes and ran them back for a total of 44 yards during the Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns games. He also forced a fumble.
But like Adams, Maye was not invited to the Pro Bowl or nominated for ROY. Maye, with his level of play and alongside Adams, could spell trouble for long ball quarterbacks in the next season and so on.
Elijah McGuire: B-
Elijah McGuire was drafted 188th and while he was picked in the back of the book, he still showed a lot of promise. This is saying a lot since he had to compete against a backfield of Matt Forte and Bilal Powell for some playing time.
The running back from Louisiana-Lafayette played in all 16 games this season and was a three way split back with Forte and Powell. He amassed 88 touches and 315 rushing yards with his longest being a 69 yard run. He also recorded a fair amount of receiving yards (18 catches for 177 yards) with his longest catch racking up 38 yards.
McGuire proved to the Jets that he could be a long-term option. When Forte went down with his recurring knee injury, McGuire stepped up. However, he did have some mishaps for being a rookie. While he recorded two touchdowns, he also fumbled the ball twice. So with some shaping McGuire could certainly be better than Forte and Powell. For now, however, he will have to continue to play second best behind Powell, assuming Forte leaves.
Chad Hansen: C+
With the 141th pick overall in the 2017 draft the Jets had selected WR Chad Hansen. He was brought in to help bolster up the Jets depleted receiving corps, but unlike Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse, Hansen did not break out. However, that is not entirely Hansen’s fault.
He played in 15 games in 2017 and was targeted only 18 times, catching nine in the later half of the season. But even then, Anderson was targeted 114 times. Of those nine times he recorded just shy of 100 yards (94) with his longest being 24 yards. He recorded zero touchdowns.
There is potential there for this California product to shine if the ball is passed over to him more. Until then he will be just another first down receiver.
ArDarius Stewart: C-
Drafted 79th overall, the Rolltide product did not amount to much. Again, like Hansen, he was being passed over for the more experienced players like Anderson and Kearse.
Stewart played in all 16 games and with a total of six catches out of twelve targets for a grand total of 82 yards. He also rushed seven times for 27 yards but did not score a touchdown. And while he did make plays that helped move the chains during the games, the Jets don’t seem to have a use for him.
His future is still unknown, but with Anderson’s recent trouble clouding up his future with the Jets, it could be bright. However, like Hansen, until someone is done he will be a first down receiver and nothing more.
Jordan Leggett: N/A
Leggett was drafted 150th and the Clemson Tiger product showed real talent even during the College National Championship. With the tight end position still a mystery to the Jets, Leggett was drafted to improve there. But unfortunately do to a knee injury which ended his season, the Jets never got to find out how good Leggett is. This allowed Austin Seferian-Jenkins to shine and revive the TE position. Maybe next season when Leggett is better we can fully evaluate him.
— Element Sports Group (@element_sports) January 16, 2018
Jeremy Clark: N/A
Not much was seen from the 197th pick. Clark only played in one game where he recorded no fumbles, tackles or anything defense. If he wants to stay in the NFL he will have to put up numbers or suffer the same fate as Christian Hackenberg: forever on the sidelines.
Derrick Jones: N/A
Drafted at the 204th pick, Derrick Jones did not shine much and was kept on the bench to learn from the vets. However, he did play in three of the 16 games this season to which he had no tackles, fumble or sacks. This would usually result in a grade of an F, but he ultimately didn’t see the field too much, so for now he shall remain inconclusive.