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Monday, March 27, 2023

The Jets have significantly narrowed the offensive talent gap within the AFC East

The offensive talent gap at AFC East is closing.

After leading 4–13 in Robert Saleh’s first year, the Jets returned five games to the Miami Dolphins’ third-place finish within the division.

So Gang Green’s goal this off-season was to close the gap within the division, and they were quickly gaining ground on the offensive side of the ball.

To be fair, with the moves GM Joe Douglas made in free agency and last week’s draft, the Jets offense is no longer at the bottom of the division.

The Jets’ skill room, led by second-year QB Zach Wilson, has the potential for an explosive offense.

Elijah Moore showed star ability in his rookie year, finishing with 538 yards and five touchdowns, but most of his production came between Week 8 and Week 13. Moore finished sixth in receiving yards (459), first in TD (five). and 10th in reception (34) during that stretch.

After joining the franchise as a free agent after four seasons with the Tennessee Titans, Corey Davis was nearly 1,000 yards away until his first season with the Jets was derailed. He finished with 492 yards and four touchdowns. He’s the worst No. 2 option when healthy, and sometimes a solid No. 1 option.

10 overall pick in last Thursday’s draft is Garrett Wilson, an explosive weapon originating from Ohio State.

Gang Green now also has a solid tight end room with free-agent pickups CJ Uzoma and Tyler Conklin, who combined for 110 catches, 1,086 yards and eight touchdowns last season.

In terms of getting weapons, the only two teams that can compete with it are the Dolphins and the Buffalo Bills.

The Patriots’ skill status players aren’t dynamic, but Bill Belichick’s squad has a solid arsenal of weapons. Pat is chicken without seasonings. There’s zero flavor or sizzle, but it can get the job done if you’re hungry. But there is nothing desirable about their group.

The Bills still have Josh Allen, one of the best QBs in the NFL. He’s slinging rock to All-Pros Stephen Diggs and Gabriel Davis (who produced a playoff record four touchdowns with 201 yards against the Chiefs in a 2021 divisional round thriller). And Allen also has tight end Dawson Knox who caught nine touchdowns last year.

The Dolphins have the speed demon duo of All-Pro Tyrek Hill and Jaylen Waddle (the sixth overall pick in the 2021 draft who finished with over 1,000 yards in his rookie year). Both people can skewer the crib at their lightning speed. His third wideout, Cedric Wilson, produced 602 receiving yards and six touchdowns with the Cowboys last year. And tight end Mike Gesicki is in his place in the top 10.

But there are still questions about quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who produced a solid second season but not enough to silence critics. His position in South Florida is similar to that of Jets Wilson after his rookie campaign.

When it comes to the ground game, Gang Greene has a strong argument for having one of the best running back rooms in the division alongside Michael Carter and second-round pick Bryce Hall. Carter led the Jets in scrimmage yards (964), the fourth best among NFL rookies and the fifth best within the division. Hall, a former Iowa State star, is considered one of the best running back prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Devin Singletary at the Bills and second-round pick James Cook have a dynamic running game. And don’t forget that Allen can move the run game as well. Dolphins running back room is average with Raheem Mostart, Chase Edmonds and Miles Gaskins. The Patriots’ lead horse is Damien Harris who ran about 1,000 yards last year.

But again, jets running back rooms can compete within the division.

There’s a skill-status brilliance all around Wilson. This brings up the big question of where the Jets rank in the division when it comes to the most important pieces of the game.

And that’s where the Jets sit in the basement of AFC East. Wilson completed 55% of his passes for 2,334 yards outside BYU in his rookie year with nine touchdowns and 11 picks in 13 games (3-10).

But Wilson’s raw talent is evident. He has the athleticism to create off-scripts and be a playwright who can produce on air or on land. He also has a strong hand. So has the potential to become a franchisee QB.

The numbers were the numbers, however, and unless he produces significantly better results on the field—which he should have with a better roster around him—he starts Year 2 at the bottom of the division.

In the trenches, the Jets’ offensive line looks, on paper, the best in the division. The guard tandem of Laken Tomlinson (a pro bowler last year) and Aliza Vera-Tucker (aristocratic shine as a rookie) form a strong interior with a solid center in Conor McGovern. On the tackle spot, George Faint allowed only one sack in the left tackle last season. And Mekhi Becton’s potential, given his size, strength, and agile athleticism, is immense. It just comes down to their health.

Overall, after the Bills’ offensive weapons, the Jets are battling for second within the division, a statement you couldn’t make at the end of the season last year.

The interval is closed. The Jets have a talent for aggressive combat.


World Nation News Desk
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