Over the past two offseasons, the New York Jets have made a lot of moves. Last season, they signed a number of veteran offensive lineman, but that was mostly it. This offseason, they really popped off. They made a bunch of splash free agent signings, including Corey Davis and Carl Lawson.
They also have made 19 draft picks over the last two drafts, including new franchise quarterback Zach Wilson. With this in mind, there are a lot of new faces on this Jets roster, but here are three players to watch for the New York Jets in 2021.
Player #1 – Highway 77
“Highway 77” is the nickname given to left tackle Mekhi Becton, who the Jets drafted in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Becton played really well for the Jets in 2020, and he was one of the sole bright spots for the team. He didn’t play like a rookie, and because of this, Jets fans are understandably excited.
For this upcoming season, it will be incredibly important for him to protect his new quarterback, Zach Wilson. Just last season, no.1 overall pick Joe Burrow went down with a torn ACL, and the Jets would like to keep Wilson up as much as possible. It will be very important for his development that Becton takes the next step in his second year, and many people consider him a potential All-Pro talent.
Player #2 – Marcus Maye
Marcus Maye is in the middle of an intense contract extension negotiation right now. As of now, he is franchise tagged, which means he will play through this season but become a free agent after the 2021 season. Maye, along with Becton, was one of the sole bright spots for the team in 2020, and he should continue to play well this season.
If the Jets and Maye do end up coming to an agreement on a deal, it will be interesting to see how he ends up playing. It is not entirely uncommon to see players take a step back once their deals are done, but if the can’t come to an agreement, he could even play better than last season, in an attempt to get the team to cough up more money.
Player #3 – JFM
John Franklin-Myers is an up-and-coming player in a crowded defensive line room. Alongside Quinnen Williams, Foley Fatukasi, Carl Lawson and others, JFM usually is cast aside as a rotational player. However, looking at his stats, he does a lot, without stuff the stat sheet.
According to PFF, Franklin-Myers finished in the 87th percentile in terms of pass rush win rate, and the 98(!)th percentile in pressure rate. What this means is that he knows how to get to the quarterback. Alongside Williams and Lawson, the Jets will have at least three pass rushers that will be able to get to the quarterback on the field at the same time. Should he step up, the Jets will have one of the best defensive line units in the league, and that would be a huge boost for the Jets young defense.
What to Expect
Jets fans should expect a young team, with a first year head coach and rookie quarterback. They likely will not be a playoff caliber team, and this is not the worst thing in the world. Hopefully, the team doesn’t take any steps back or look similar to 2020, but there should be improvement. In a tough division, they likely won’t beat the Buffalo Bills and might take a game off the Miami Dolphins, but they should be competitive with the New England Patriots. Be patient, this team has a lot of potential, they just need time to reach it.