Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.comOver the next few days, we’re going to take a look at some key Jets players this season centered around a themes. Next up, we’ll look at six rookies who who could help this Jets team to fly high in 2014…
Calvin Pryor (S) — Public consensus was that if the Jets were going to choose a defensive player in the first round, it would be corner. But the Jets were thrilled to see Pryor slide from the early teens down to the No. 18 spot. According to GM John Idzik, the war room ‘erupted’ on hearing that the big-hitting Pryor was available to them when the Ravens picked CJ Mosley. While Pryor might be best equipped to play a role closer to the line of scrimmage long-term, he’s athletic enough to play the deep safety role that Ryan has been fond of in past years. In fact, much of Pryor’s time at Louisville had him deployed in deep coverage and moving to the ball, explaining the explosive nature of his hits on receivers. Pryor will start from day one and provide an athletic defensive enforcer to the middle of the field for Rex Ryan.
Jace Amaro (TE) — It is no secret that the Jets have wanted to add more talent to their tight end position since Idzik’s first year with the team. Amaro comes from a simple spread offense at Texas Tech that saw the tight end used wide from the line running basic routes. Due to questions about his blocking, expect Amaro to be used in the “F” receiver role, split from the offensive line and in a wide ranging array of motions, roles and routes … depending on the defense. Now picking up a pro offense in which Amaro might be the pivot point based on defensive alignments, Amaro will take some time to adjust but expect his presence to be felt in third down and red zone situations.
Jalen Saunders (WR) — Time will tell what role Saunders will have on this team this year, but he is a fierce competitor and seems to not know that at 5’9″ 165 pounds he is one of the smallest players on the field. That sort of bowling ball mentality could bode well for him on special teams. The blend of Saunders physicality and his quickness and speed (4.44 timed 40) might be reminiscent of DeSean Jackson, or even this year’s first-rounder Brandin Cooks. Of the receivers the Jets brought in, Saunders was the first receiver they picked and the most different from the rest of the group … expect to see him a few times a game deep on go routes this fall.
Jeremiah George (ILB) — The Jets depth at inside linebacker was particularly troubling last season. The only player they had there was Nick Bellore, who was instrumental on a sagging special teams, making exposing him to injury a concern. The Jets added George to help back up the linebacking group and round out the team when the Jets might be faced with some hard decisions around David Harris next offseason.
Tajh Boyd (QB) — If Boyd sees time this fall, then something will have gone very wrong for the Jets. Boyd is likely to battle Matt Simms in training camp for the third roster spot at quarterback and seems like a viable long-term backup though it will take him time to learn the system. There was some talk this spring about using Boyd in gimmick packages, but that seems extremely unlikely.
Trevor Reilly (OLB) — Reilly might have been the last player the Jets picked in the draft, but he could be a contributor to this defense in the foreseeable future. Doug Farrar wrote about Reilly, saying he was shocked Reilly fell as far as he did in the draft and that Reilly’s speed, size and college production bode well for him. Reilly’s field speed is exceptional and he can be used in space or aligned on either side of the line. See if the Jets don’t find a way to use him in package plays.