Fantasy Football 2014 draft prep: New York Jets

jets

Veteran Additions:
QB QB Jets No. 8, RB Chris Johnson, WR Eric Decker, WR/KR Jacoby Ford, OT Breno Giacomini, CB Dimitri Patterson.
Draft Picks:
S Calvin Pryor, TE Jace Amaro, CB Dexter McDougle, WR Jalen Saunders, WR Shaq Evans, G Dakota Dozier. Jets Rookie Forecast
Offseason Losses:
QB Mark Sanchez, WR Santonio Holmes, OT Austin Howard, G Vladimir Ducasse, CB Antonio Cromartie.

2014 New York Jets Offense:
The Jets have made some upgrades on offense in the public eye. Philadelphia’s former starting quarterback, Chris Johnson and Eric Decker are all big names and will undoubtedly prompt the media to suggest that New York has a shot at the playoffs this year. In reality, however, two of these signings have actually made the team worse.

Philadelphia’s former signal-caller will start at some point. The coaching staff is insisting that Geno Smith will get the nod, but they’re protesting too much. Smith proved to be inconsistent and incompetent last year, so he won’t last very long as the starter if he even gets the job. The other quarterback will step in, but not for very long. He’s a turnover machine who gets injured too frequently. He also has a history of quitting on his teams (2005 Falcons, 2011-12 Eagles) when things aren’t going well. That could be the case again this upcoming season, as the Jets will need a miracle to compete for the divisional crown.

As for Johnson, he’s been one of the most overrated players in the NFL for quite some time now. He’s a terribly inefficient runner who has lost most of his burst because of his career workload. Johnson is also coming off a torn meniscus and sat out OTAs as a consequence, so he’ll be even worse than usual. He’ll split work with Chris Ivory, who averaged 4.6 yards per carry in 2013. However, neither Ivory nor Johnson plays well on third down, so Bilal Powell will have to be used then.

Meanwhile, the Decker signing won’t ruin the team like the other two acquisitions, but it won’t help the Jets at all. Decker has been an obvious byproduct of Peyton Manning; he managed just 50 receptions in two seasons without the future Hall of Famer. Previously known for his inconsistent hands, Decker will prove to be yet another receiver who takes the money and runs to an inferior franchise, failing to live up to expectations. Decker proved that he doesn’t care about his football career whatsoever because he’ll struggle mightily in New York.

The Jets will regret giving Decker $36.25 million over five years, though it’s understandable why they did so; they have zero proven receiving talent outside of him. David Nelson is a poor No. 2. Jeremy Kerley is an average slot player. Shaq Evans and Jalen Saunders are rookies, but inept general manager John Idzik reached for them. Jace Amaro, a second-round rookie, probably won’t be productive in the near future because he reportedly “looked lost” at OTAs.

New York’s offensive line will once again be the strength of the scoring attack. It’s led by left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson, who has started all 16 games for eight consecutive seasons. However, Ferguson is coming off a down year. He’ll turn 31 in December, but there’s a chance he’ll be able to rebound. He’ll start across from the newly acquired Breno Giacomini, who had a solid 2013 campaign for the Seahawks. He won’t be as good as the departed Austin Howard, but he’s not much of a downgrade.

The one liability on the front is left guard Brian Winters, who surrendered a ridiculous 10 sacks in 2013. Fourth-round rookie Dakota Dozier has a legitimate chance to beat him out. Whoever wins the job will be joined by right guard Willie Colon and center Nick Mangold on the interior. There aren’t any issues with Mangold, one of the top centers in the NFL, but Colon is a concern. He has endured four surgeries over the past four years, so his durability is questionable.

2014 New York Jets Defense:
Rex Ryan’s elite defense was able to carry Mark Sanchez to the AFC Championship on a couple of occasions. Ryan, however, no longer possesses anything close to resembling an elite defense. In fact, outside of the line, the Jets’ defense is one of the weaker units in the NFL.

The secondary is especially brutal. The Jets revealed that they agree with that mindset, given how frustrated and irate Ryan was when his team whiffed on all of the free agent cornerbacks. New York wanted Darrelle Revis, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Antonio Cromartie, but Idzik failed to obtain all three. As a consequence, the Jets will have to start Dee Milliner and Dimitri Patterson at corner. Milliner was chosen No. 9 overall in the 2013 NFL Draft, but struggled immensely last year. Patterson, meanwhile, is completely unreliable. He has played in only 15 games the past two seasons because of various injuries. Kyle Wilson will be an ineffective nickel, while third-rounder Dexter McDougle isn’t expected to make much of a contribution this year because he was a major reach.

The safety position isn’t much better. Calvin Pryor was obtained with the 18th-overall selection in May, but as the Jets learned with Milliner, rookie defensive backs don’t always pan out right away (if at all). Pryor will start next to either Antonio Allen or Dawan Landry, both of whom disappointed in 2013.

The linebacking corps is a mess as well. Quinton Coples, one of the edge rushers, was supposed to take a big step in his second NFL campaign, but he got off to a sluggish start. He finished the year well, but the criticism with Coples has always been his lethargy. It’s unlikely that the Jets will get him to play hard for 16 games. They’ll need him to because they don’t have any other competent pass-rushers on the exterior. Calvin Pace registered 10 sacks in 2013, but most of that was a product of the defensive line. He’ll turn 34 in October, so he probably won’t be as productive this upcoming season.

Inside linebackers David Harris and Demario Davis will also need to perform on a higher level. Both were inept in coverage this past season. Harris has completely fallen off after a promising start to his career, while Davis has proven to be a bust as a 2012 third-rounder. The Jets spent a fifth-round selection on Iowa State’s Jeremiah George, but it’s difficult to see him contributing on defense as a rookie.

As mentioned, New York has a terrific defensive line. In fact, it’s arguably the best three-man front in the NFL. Excluding J.J. Watt and perhaps Calais Campbell, there may not be a better five-technique in the NFL than Muhammad Wilkerson, who tallied 10.5 sacks in 2013. He and Sheldon Richardson, the No. 13 overall choice in the 2013 NFL Draft, form a fantastic tandem. Richardson was a dominant run-stuffer as a rookie. He wasn’t as good of a pass-rusher, but he should be able to develop those skills as he matures. Meanwhile, nose tackle Damon “Snacks” Harrison was an even greater run-stuffing force on the interior.

2014 New York Jets Schedule and Intangibles:
Nick Folk had struggled for years – he failed to hit 80 percent of his attempts in 2010-2012 – but the Jets stuck with him, and it paid off. Folk went 33-of-36 this past season, including 3-of-3 from 50-plus.

Ryan Quigley was one of the league’s worst punters in 2013, ranking 23rd in net average and barely getting any attempts inside the 20.

There weren’t any touchdowns scored for or against the Jets on special teams, but they were badly outgained on punt returns.

The Jets’ season could be over quickly. Following an easy game against the Raiders, they have to deal with the Packers, Bears, Lions, Chargers (road), Broncos and Patriots in consecutive weeks.

2014 New York Jets Analysis: The Jets have one of the least-talented rosters in the NFL. They were able to finish 8-8 last season because they had young, enthusiastic players whom Rex Ryan was able to coach up. That’s not the case this season, as John Idzik added some overpriced and/or lethargic pieces to the roster who will fail to live up to expectations. Combine this with a lack of depth and a tough schedule in the first half of the season, and it’s very likely that the Jets will quit in the second half of 2014, much like the Texans did last year. On the bright side, there’s a good chance New York will able to obtain Marcus Mariota.

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