There’s a lot of new pieces coming into this Jets team for the 2020 season. There are also a lot of returning players who have made themselves known this past year. 2020 will be a chance for several players to prove themselves to the Jets coaches and fans.
There are a few obvious choices that immediately come to mind: Mekhi Becton, Sam Darnold, Le’Veon Bell. Those are the obvious answers that any Jets fan within the last year could tell you are vital to the team’s success. But there are players who might have shown inconsistent flashes of greatness or are playing in a weak position group. Their success is imperative to the New York Jets.
Mims wasn’t drafted to be a special teams player. Described as potentially having first-round draft value (could not get medical clearance due to COVID), he miraculously fell to the Jets in the late 2nd round. Sam Darnold spent the ’19-’20 season with one of the worst receiving corps in the NFL. There was a distinct lack of a true #1 receiver and Mims has the size and skill to fill this role. The New York Jets passing offense is relying on Mims to have an immediate impact and breakout season, somewhere in the impact of D.K. Metcalf (Seattle) or Terry McLaurin (Washington) who both posted 900+ yard seasons.
Chris Herndon/Ryan Griffin
The Jets have stockpiled two ridiculously good, under-the-radar tight ends. When on the field, both proved to be reliable targets for Sam Darnold. They are easy escape valves for 14 to get the ball to. Both need to stay healthy and on the field. When they have good games, the Jets typically do well.
The most impressive thing from a center is to see ZERO penalties across an entire year. He also started all 16 games for Denver last year and played every single offensive snap. Aside from the left tackle, center is the most important position of the offensive line. They need to be a captain of the unit, and in sync with their quarterback. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, expect McGovern to start at center. His healthy, disciplined veteran presence is an unnoticed necessity for the o-line. If the o-line succeeds, Darnold and Bell both succeed.
CJ Mosely/Avery Williamson
This love story for Jets fans turned into a nightmare very quickly. Avery Williamson came to New York and posted a career-high 120 tackles, three sacks, and six tackles for loss. Then, in preparation for the ’19-’20 season, he tore his ACL. CJ Mosely played a game and a half for the Jets. When on the field for the Week 1 matchup against rival Buffalo, he commanded a different breed of Jets defense. The team looked dominant and unstoppable. Mosely virtually didn’t appear for the rest of the season due to a groin injury. With Gregg Williams at the helm, we could be looking at the best linebacker duo in the NFL. An ability to remain healthy will prove a challenge as both are still recovering from season-devastating injuries.
Considering the talent the Jets left on the board when drafting Williams, he’s already on the hot seat. One of the last of the Maccagnan-era draft picks, he played in 13 games for 28 tackles and 2.5 sacks. Considering the value of his draft pick, and who else the Jets passed on, fans are not thrilled with this pick. Williams has to show some major improvement. For reference, former Jet Leonard Williams (Rd. 1 Pk. 6, 2015) combined for 68 tackles and seven sacks during his Pro Bowl season in 2016. His second season in the league.
Aside from standout slot-corner Brian Poole, the Jets were an absolute disaster at the position. Trumaine Johnson executed one of the greatest heists in American history, and Darryl Roberts was just abysmal. Marcus Maye has shown flashes of greatness, but is inconsistent and can’t seem to stay healthy. After posting the 3rd best rush defense in the NFL, the Jets dismal secondary overshadowed the run games’ success. Whether both acquisitions from the Colts can step up (Wilson and Desir), or Arthur Maulet explodes onto the scene, or Bless Austin has a sophomore boom, the secondary needs to perform.