Image Credit (Bill Ingram/USA Today Sports)
Written by: Nicholas Mullick Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicholas-mullick-354076184/
With Training Camp about to start for the NFL in a few weeks, there are questions that follow each team. Like I did with the Texans, I will be doing the Top 5 Biggest questions for every team heading into Training Camp. Next up is the New York Jets who had the 4th Overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
1. Can Zach Wilson stand out?
The Jets did a fantastic job during the offseason to help surround Zach Wilson with talent. They got a good offensive line, two young running backs, and a ton of receivers for Wilson to throw to. There should be no excuses anymore for Zach Wilson and he needs to stand out in his performances. If he does not, well the Jets would not be in a good spot as Wilson was a 2nd overall selection. Zach Wilson hopefully won't do that as he showed flashes last season.
2. Who will be the Number 1 Receiver on the team?
The Jets did the right thing by getting QB Zach Wilson plenty of receivers to throw the ball to. The question is who will be the number one receiver. Well, let's go through the current receiver core with the Jets. Let's start with the clear No’s: Tarik Black, DJ Montgomery, Calvin Jackson, Irvin Charles, Keshaunn Abram, Jeff Smith, and Denzel Mims. I want to mainly talk about Jeff Smith and Denzel Mims. Mims has been a complete disappointment since being drafted in the 2nd round in the 2020 NFL Draft. Honestly, I am shocked Mims is still here as there were reports that he would be traded. Honestly, Denzel Mims should be cut and is basically Chris Herndon 2.0. Jeff Smith is starting to impress the coaching staff in training camp and I am going to keep an eye on him as he has shown flashes in the past few years. Now Braxton Berrios did impress last year, but I don’t see him as a number 1 receiver. He will be the slot/special teams player for the Jets. Corey Davis, I can see potentially getting the number 1 receiver role, but he can’t stay healthy and even when he does Davis is inconsistent. Elijah Moore impressed, but he is still young and hopefully, he takes the next step in his development. Garret Wilson was drafted 10th overall and hopefully that pick pans out and he produces. But I can't name a number one receiver on this team. It is a wait-and-see before we find out, but it has been a while since I have been this hyped from the receiver core.
3. What is the plan with Mekhi Becton?
Mekhi Becton is one of the best offensive linemen on the Jets when he is healthy. Becton has had injury issues as in his rookie season he suffered a nagging shoulder injury but impressed. Becton in his second year suffered a knee injury that took him out of the season. But now there have been a lot with the Jets concerned about Becton’s weight. But let me be clear here, for a guy his size, the way he moves is just unreal. He is the definition of a guy you want on the o-line. Now will losing 40-50 pounds make him a better player, absolutely. My question is whether they put him at right or left tackle While Becton was injured, George Fant produced very well at the left tackle position. So this got me thinking, will Becton play left tackle or right tackle? Time will tell on that and the full plan of Becton will be shown in a few months.
4. Have the Jets finally found their long-term Tight End?
Like I have kept saying in multiple different articles, the Jets have not had a consistently good tight end since the Mickey Shuler days. But it was a position the Jets decided to finally improve. They signed CJ Uzomah and Tyler Conklin both to three-year deals. Uzomah was a piece of the Bengals last season, but got injured and did not play in the playoffs. Conklin impressed last season with the Vikings and again gave that team regret for acquiring Chris Herndon. That is not all as the Jets also utilized a 3rd round pick on Jeremy Ruckert from Ohio State. Ruckert showed promise in college and hopefully, this selection will work for the Jets. The question is if the Jets finally found their long-term tight end and they show something in the next few months.
5. What will the Jets do at Linebacker?
I think it is clear that the Jets as a whole absolutely improved their defense, especially at pass rush and cornerback. But one thing the Jets largely ignored in the offseason is at linebacker. The Jets already have two linebackers in CJ Mosley and Quincy Williams, but they forgot that they needed another outside linebacker on this team as the 3rd LB position caused them problems last year. I mean I am guessing the Jets are hoping Sherwood or Nasirildeen develop further. Honestly, I see Sherwood fitting more as a middle linebacker and Nasirildeen was not great last year. Along with injury concerns surrounding both. Del’Shawn Philips knows the system but is not a great option. Hopefully, the Jets have a plan for finding the outside linebacker, as it was largely ignored during free agency and in the draft.
BONUS: Is there a long-term kicker on the team?
Let's be real the Jets have not had a long-term great kicker since Nick Folk in 2016. They almost had it when Jason Meyers was the kicker, but Mike Maccagnan for some reason did not franchise tag or offer him a new contract. The Jets kickers this season are Greg “the Leg’ Zuerlein and Eddy Pineiro. Pineiro showed promise last year and hopefully, he can impress like he did at the end of the year. Greg Zuerlein is talented but has been on a decline ever since he had his back injury. Hopefully one wins this job, but can they sustain this position for more than a season? I like both options, but Zuerlein is old and Pineiro could not be the long-term starter in Chicago. Once again this is a position to watch like it was last year.