The Jets 2022 season, much like their division rivals the Dolphins and Patriots, will serve as an audition for a second year QB. In their case, 2021 #2 overall pick Zach Wilson.
Wilson’s 2021 season was bad, as he was the least accurate starter in the league (55.6 completion percentage) and threw 9 TDs compared to 11 INTs,only starting 13 games. While his supporting cast did him no favors, QB’s simply aren’t given the leash to put up consecutive seasons at this level of play. While it may sound crazy, this season could very well be do-or-die for the BYU product as the New York fanbase and front office will look for answers if they watch another losing season. This goes not only for QB Zach Wilson, but likely also HC Robert Saleh. I’m not trying to be a downer on this team, as I believe they do have a lot of talented young pieces. But this team is incredibly reliant on first and second year players to perform like seasoned veterans.
They’ll start the ‘22 season with an absolutely brutal stretch and barring some upsets, could easily find themselves out of playoff contention by their bye week.
It’s hard to look at this team on paper compared to their rivals within the division and not see them at the bottom. Especially when you consider the investments through free agency some of these other teams made.
Much to the disappointment of their front office and Jets faithful alike, they weren’t able to use multiple of their high draft picks to acquire a bonafide superstar receiver like DK Metcalf or Deebo Samuel. They did manage to quietly put together a solid offseason. Highlighted by arguably one of the better draft classes on paper in the NFL.
Robert Saleh looked to improve his secondary with the signings of safety Jordan Whitehead and CB DJ Reed. And is given the chance to reconnect with former 49ers top selection and Saleh disciple, DL Solomon Thomas.
On offense, the Jets continued to throw money at the tight end position, signing both CJ Uzomah and Tyler Conklin. They also hope to have solidified another offensive line spot for the long term with the signing of Laken Tomlinson.
The Jets made seven selections in the top-117 picks, including three picks in the first round, and each of the selections were highly regarded throughout the pre-draft process and could find themselves as a starter before too long.
Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner and Garrett Wilson were two blue chip, can’t-miss prospects, so credit to the Jets front office on both their top-10 selections. Sauce brings the swagger to play in the big New York market and is arguably the best corner drafted by the Jets since Revis. Garrett Wilson was a big-play machine at Ohio State and is a perfect compliment for Wilson’s deep passing ability.
Later in the first, New York traded back into the first to select sliding edge rusher, and personal favorite of mine, Jermaine Johnson. Jermaine was the best player at the Senior Bowl and massively impressed throughout his collegiate career. How he fell to 26 I am unsure, but the Jets made sure to capitalize.
Breece Hall was widely considered the best running back in the class, and combined with second year runner Michael Carter, creates one of the more exciting young backfields in the league.
Jeremy Ruckert was another favorite of mine, as I believe he was the most polished blocker of all the highly touted rookie tight ends, and even 5th round pick Max Mitchell is a perfect scheme-fit for OC Mike LaFleur with impressive college tape. Should Mehki Becton end up moving from the Jets, I believe he could start on the right side week one.
I feel as though I haven’t been very optimistic for the Jets, but I do believe they are putting together a solid core of young players that will play some entertaining games. Every position group, offense and defense, has exciting youth that given time could gel into one of the more explosive teams in the league. I just don’t know if they have enough veteran leadership and established talent to succeed this season. And I don’t trust the team to take the time necessary to allow the growing pains I think should be expected from this roster. I can’t emphasize enough how young this team is, with the average age of their starters at 24.95 y/o.
I think Jets fans are in for another crushing season that ends in a high draft selection, and possible debate over taking a top QB.