Let’s get right to it in that the New York Jets are no longer the “Jets of old.” With a fiery leader now in place in Robert Saleh, a dynamic quarterback via the draft in No. 2 overall selection Zach Wilson, and a slew of young, budding talent, the Jets have come a long way in just the last six months. A franchise entrenched within the AFC East’s cellar for a majority of the last decade, optimism sits at an all-time high with fresh faces aplenty in Florham Park, New York.
Following the trade of Sam Darnold, a new era has inherently kicked off with Wilson, arguably this year’s most exciting arm talent under center. A unique combo of vision and arm arrogance, Wilson represents the new mold of quarterbacks that have quickly become the bell of the ball. With his ability to make every throw in the book from every arm angle off any platform, the opportunities are endless for offensive coordinator Mike LeFleur, who has an exciting array of talent within the backfield and on the boundary that could ease the onboarding process for his electrifying gun-slinger.
Frank Gore was an outstanding marvel of longevity, but the Jets’ attention to their lack of talent in the backfield was long overdue. General manager Joe Douglas wasted no time in adding fresh legs in fourth-round selection Michael Carter, who could offer a heavy punch if granted the opportunity. A rugged, tough ball-carrier, Carter split duties with now-Denver Broncos ball carrier Javonte Williams during their time at North Carolina. Carter’s skill set and ability to create in tight confines between the tackles could result in him earning a significant role for a crowded Jets backfield alongside Tevin Coleman.
The Jets made their biggest improvement in the trenches, as the additions of Alijah Vera-Tucker and veteran tackle Morgan Moses enter the fold to round out what could be a group that surprises in both facets of the offense. With large, physical anchors on the outside in Moses and Mekhi Becton, the Jets’ attention to keeping their spry signal-caller upright could be the key to the team’s overall success this fall.
Spring headliner Corey Davis, second-round selection Elijah Moore, and target hog Jamison Crowder make up the single most talented group of pass-catchers in recent memory for New York, as keeping Wilson’s shelves stacked with variety will both accelerate his first-year production and ease his overall adaptation to LeFleur’s offense.
For Moore, his fundamental talent and ability to separate at the collegiate level was rivaled by few during his time at Ole Miss. A dominant presence from a program that’s churned out the likes of D.K. Metcalf and A.J. Brown in the last couple of years, Moore could be the next Runnin’ Rebel to create massive waves from the onset of his rookie campaign. While his future success will come via his presence on the boundary, working both in the slot and flexed out wide, his versatility on special teams is what has set him apart from the other pass-catching talents through offseason workouts. Moore’s collegiate career totaled 2,441 yards, 189 receptions, and 16 touchdowns; it was nothing to slouch at within an ever-competitive SEC, but it’s the 5-foot-9 Moore’s electricity as a return man that has the Jets believing they conducted highway robbery by grabbing him with the 34th overall selection. While Davis, Crowder, and Denzel Mims are all expected to get theirs from the confident Wilson, it’s hard to ignore the potential relationship between Moore and the former BYU gun-slinger if all comes to fruition. His dynamic tools coupled with the creativity of Wilson could be a match made in heaven as Saleh hopes to accelerate his rebuild as quickly as possible.
A playoff berth seems out of the question, for now, but a once ever-present dark cloud has made way to clear skies when gathering an optimal outlook for the Jets as they keep their eyes above the horizon and toward future campaigns. After finishing dead last in the division in four of the last five seasons, the Jets are improving at warp speed with their focus squarely on Wilson’s development and the production of its slew of offseason additions starting Week 1. The Jets have a long way to go, especially on the defensive side of the football, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the Jets were able to steal a couple of games outside of their projected win total.
With Saleh at the helm representing one of the true leading figures in all of football, anything is indeed possible. The Jets are on a straight path back to relevancy, and their rebuild could be more rapid than expected.