The Jets will be a competitive squad in 2021
By: Corey Hietpas
Since 2010, The New York Jets have only had two winning seasons. As a result, the Jets and their fans have become used to picking in the top 10 of NFL drafts. Can 2021 finally be the year that the Jets work their way out of the bottom of the league? I believe there’s a reason for optimism. Enough so, that I think the Jets will not have a top 10 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, and here’s why.
Improved Coaching Staff
To start, I think the Jets got an “addition by subtraction” with Adam Gase. He has been one of the worst Head Coaches in the NFL ever since getting his first opportunity as a Head Coach. Firing him was a huge win right off the bat. I also think the Jets landed on a very good choice as Gase’s replacement. Robert Saleh is the new HC of the Jets, and I love this decision by their front office. Saleh was running one of the better defenses in the league while he was with the 49ers, and I believe the Jets have the pieces for Saleh to replicate that in New York. Not only did they nail the HC hire, but the Jets also made a really good choice with their new Offensive Coordinator as well. Mike Lafleur, another former 49ers coach, was the choice for New York, and again, I love this decision by them. Lafleur was the 49ers’ passing game coordinator for the last two years and helped the 49ers reach a Super Bowl in the 2019 season. Learning from offensive guru Kyle Shanahan will be hugely important for Lafleur as he takes over the offensive coordinator role. I believe Lafleur will be able to revive the Jets’ offense and help the young core reach their peaks.
Additions of Effective Veteran Players
The Jets made some savvy veteran additions this offseason, and I believe that all will have a nice role to play on this otherwise young, but talented, roster. On the offensive side of the ball, the notable additions New York made were Corey Davis, Keelan Cole, and Tevin Coleman. Corey Davis finally showed why he was drafted as highly as he was in 2020, and I believe he will be a very effective outside WR for the Jets. Cole and Coleman were both nice depth additions who will be solid role players. On the defensive side of the ball, The Jets’ notable moves were bringing in DE/LB Sheldon Rankins and DT Vinny Curry. Neither of these two should be considered game-changers, but like Cole and Coleman, both of these players will be solid role players and increase the depth of the defensive line for the Jets.
The 2021 Rookie Class
I believe that the Jets had a really good 2021 draft as it is full of instant offensive playmakers along with a high-potential QB. The Jets add QB Zach Wilson and OG Alijah Vera-Tucker in the first round, WR Elijah Moore in the 2nd round, and RB Michael Carter in the 4th round. Wilson is a very intriguing QB prospect who skyrocketed up draft analysts’ boards during the 2020 college season. I believe he is a bit of a project, but there is a chance he can progress nicely through the season and help get the Jets back to winning way. Vera-Tucker is in the conversation as the top OL from this class, but he plays a less valuable position along the OL. Either way, Vera-Tucker should immediately step in as an impactful starter at OG. That OL is starting to shape up nicely. Moore is an instant impact receiver who will flourish in the slot. This is something the Jets have been used to with Crowder, but I believe Moore is much more talented and will quickly become one of Wilson’s favorite targets. Lastly, Carter is a talented receiving back who I expect to take over the 3rd down role early in the season. With this rookie class, the Jets’ offense is looking much improved already when comparing to the past few seasons.