New York Jets top 10 players under 25 – Part I

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

As the Jets set to kick off their 2014 season next Sunday against the Oakland Raiders, there are a number of young players that are expected to make a big impact for the team this season. Age has always been an important factor in the NFL; too young a team and the inexperience can cause mistakes while a team that’s too can lead to an inability to execute in need of a massive overhaul. Striking the right blend of youth and experience is critical to dialing in a contender in the NFL.  

Last year, the Jets were the seventh-youngest team in the league and the inexperience showed, with five of their seven draft picks seeing significant starting time. That said, some of those players got better as the the season went on. Sheldon Richardson won the Defensive Rookie of the Year award and Dee Milliner played like one in December, after a very shaky start. Quarterback Geno Smith had the second highest QBR in the league to only Peyton Manning during the Jets final four games in December.

This year the Jets added 12 players through the draft. Through GM John Idzik’s first two drafts, 15 of 19 draftees are still on the roster. So, with that many young players, how young is this Jets team? According to Jimmy Kempski of Philly.com, the Jets are the thirteenth-youngest team in the league as they prepare for 2014. Youth is important, but in the young NFL players must be called upon to make significant contributions as the team determines whether they are cornerstones once their rookie contract comes up.

Today, we will be sharing the team’s top 10 players under 25 in two installments.  First up, players 6-10.

jalen-saunders-1

#10. WR/PR Jalen Saunders

The Jets return teams didn’t do much in 2013 to help their rookie quarterback to win the field position game. In fact, the Jets return unit was the worst that they’ve fielded since 2011. With 12 draft picks this season, the Jets set out to address that the lack of playmaking in the return game by drafting their first receiver Jalen Saunders in the fourth round. Saunders, 21, is a small (5’9″, 164 lbs) quicker-than-fast, punt returner and potential slot receiver. Saunders has good hands, suddenness and could be an interesting chess piece for coordinator Marty Mornhinweg. A coach who could be able to find a way to free up the receiver from press-man corners able to re-route him at the line. Saunders might be diminutive, but in camp looked immune to taking big hits and effortlessly slid off would-be tacklers to create more yards on both punts and in the passing game.

Saunders did have a “medical event” during camp, in which he had a seizure at the wheel of his vehicle on the way to the team’s facility in New Jersey. The hope for Saunders is that the event was an isolated incident, but it is certainly worth considering due to the violence of the game compared to his size.

oday-aboushi-1

#9. OG Oday Aboushi

Oday Aboushi has come a long way in a short time. The 23-year-old was a tackle at Virginia (a school known for their OL pedigree) but has progressed quickly as a second- year player seeing most of his time as the team’s swing guard. Guard seems a more natural fit thanks to his physical style and only decent speed. Aboushi possesses a good punch and will take his man to the ground if he’s taken off-balance, but also has the base strength to drive his man downfield on a running play. The second-year player doesn’t have top-end speed, but it is still good enough as a positional blocker on pulling plays and can seal inside or outside to create lanes.

Aboushi is a backup for now, but in time seems like the obvious next man up should a guard get injured or next year if the Jets decide to move on from stopgap veteran Willie Colon.

jace-amaro-1

#8. TE Jace Amaro

GM John Idzik has wanted to draft a pass catching tight end since 2013 and the team was able to grab one this year in his second draft. The 22-year-old rookie has excellent size with room for added muscle and was used almost exclusively during his time at Texas Tech as an oversized receiver. Amaro releases cleanly into his routes with athleticism and balance and is quick enough to stretch the seam against linebackers and safeties. While he might have smaller hands, he is still a good pass catcher and can extend to catch the football in traffic. Amaro can block as a move tight end, but will need to work on his in-line game if the Jets want to use him more on the hips of their tackles.

Amaro was “spinning” as coach Rex Ryan termed it during spring camps but seems to be coming around. Amaro scored a touchdown in the Jets dress rehearsal against the Giants during the third week of the preseason. Amaro had historic production in Texas Tech’s offense spread offense and we expect good things from Amaro in time with a good deal of the passing game going through him. In the meantime, his adjustment to playing the emerging move or “F” tight end role might be prove a steep learning curve in the player’s first year. Look for him to be most productive on third downs and in the red zone for this offense.

brian-winters-1

#7. OG Brian Winters

With the average age of the other four offensive linemen pegged at 30, Winters is the first piece of what might become a seriously re-worked line in two to three seasons time. Winters, 23, was the focus of a lot of negative attention during his rookie season, but the transitioning tackle from Kent State seemed to take it in stride and has returned as a better physical specimen. While many middle-round rookie linemen have the luxury of learning from the sidelines, Winters was pressed into service after just four games and struggled, needed a lot of attention from tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson and center Nick Mangold.

Like many of the Jets 2013 rookies, Winters improvement was noticeable during the December and his linemates are eager to see his improvement on the field this fall.

calvin-pryor-1

#6. S Calvin Pryor

Between Dee Milliner and rookie Calvin Pryor, the Jets are overhauling their secondary and putting the group into good hands. The 22-year-old Pryor is known mostly as a hard-hitting safety nicknamed “The Louisville Slugger.” While true, Pryor will also bring both range and impact to a position that has been devoid of both during much of Rex Ryan’s tenure with the team. Pryor is known as instinctive and aggressive with excellent pre-snap recognition —and zone recognitions to make any needed adjustments before or during the play. Paying him the highest compliment Ryan calls him a “football player” through and through. Typecast as a box safety, Pryor has more than enough range to play that one-high center field role that Ryan covets in his defense, or down around the line using his aggression.

Pryor saw limited time in the defense during camp and preseason due to a concussion suffered during the first practice in pads this summer but if his work in the Bengals game is any indication, the injury hasn’t caused him to hesitate even a little. Look for him to hit the ground running as an impact player for the Jets, starting this weekend.

Next up, the Jets top five players under 25 … 




166 comments
a57se
a57se

According to our current roster listing at NY Jets .com, we have 20 guys on the team younger then 25...

Aboushi

Amaro

TJ Barnes

Bohannon

Coples

Dozier

Enemkpali

Freeman

Hakim

Jarrett

McFadden

Milliner

W. Powell

Pryor

Quigley

Richardson

Saunders

Smith

Wilkerson

Winters

Out of these, 10 have actually seen some NFL action.

Only two of them have shown themselves to be high quality starters. Wilkerson and Richardson

Coples has been adequate while showing potential for more

Milliner and Geno were both very poor until the last 4 games of their rookie years where they showed some improvement.

Winters was an abomination most of his rookie season and was just horrible near the end...

Quigley has shown he is in the bottom of the league when it comes to punters.

Bohannon was one of the lowest rated FB in the league.

Jarrett has been labelled a bust but has shown he can be an adequate back-up.

Hakim has shown some promise as a ST'er...

The rest of them have only showed enough to make the roster...

 

 

DarrolRayFanClub
DarrolRayFanClub

I am really amped up for Pryor. In the Bengals game I found myself watching him presnap, just standing and ready, and he was in every play.

SackDance99
SackDance99

Ravens cut Josh Bynes...Jets add another ex-Raven?

a57se
a57se

Now that Watt has signed a new deal, I can't wait to see how idzik lowballs Wilkerson...

juunit
juunit

JJ Watt, 6 years, $100m. $51.8 guaranteed.

williamg1
williamg1

Is Cumberland's Achilles injury in the same leg he previously injured? 

williamg1
williamg1

Someone's getting snubbed from the list. 


-Wilkerson

-Coples

-Snacks

-Milliner

-Geno

-Boss Hogg


Who doesn't make it? 

Brendan
Brendan

@DarrolRayFanClub And he was talking a lot. Now I'm not sure if that's because he was directing his teammates or just the typical defensive communication you'd expect on defense, but it was encouraging. 

a57se
a57se

@SackDance99 

If he was an ex-Shehawk the odds we grab him would be higher.

RockyMountainJet
RockyMountainJet

@a57se I can't wait to watch you eat crow, as you so often do with these statements. There's a reason the Jets have so much money under the cap. You do realize that, yes? Who do you think they will sign with that?

Bytor
Bytor

@a57se Congratulations, you got the exact responses you wanted. Do you like attention?

Brendan
Brendan

@a57se You just can't help yourself. It's amazing you can be this miserable and still consider yourself a fan. 

Brian Serviss
Brian Serviss

@a57se I knew the negative post was coming. Was waiting for it. And it is as hilarious as I thought it was going to be 

tsjc68
tsjc68

@juunit

That's gonna buy Mo Wilkerson a lot of Mississippi Delta Blues t-shirts.

a57se
a57se

@williamg1 

you mean Walt Powell and  Leon McFadden don't make the list???

boomer
boomer

@williamg1 If I had to pick from that list I would push Coples out for production to date.


But I still think he belongs in the top 10.

Bent
Bent moderator

@williamg1


I honestly don't know but I bet there will be a joint number one or something.

SackDance99
SackDance99

@tsjc68 @SackDance99 No love for Quigley?  He fits the bill for the Jets' punter...relentlessly mediocre, with occasional incompetence.

bklyndude
bklyndude

@a57se @SackDance99 

Taking a chance on a guy from the Super Bowl winning team doesn't seem like that awful of an idea if he is an upgrade. 

You seem to think Idzik is more interested in being right about his picks than wanting to build a winning team.

Brian Serviss
Brian Serviss

@Brendan @a57se he's that fan that loves watching the team fail no matter how the team tries to improve. I deal with these types of "fans" all the time with the Isles as well. Just can't get away from them 

juunit
juunit

@tsjc68 @juunit 

It's actually not as bad as I thought it might be. I'd think we can get Wilk for 5 years $75m, maybe even less than that. 

tsjc68
tsjc68

@a57se @williamg1

What's new, Grumpy Cat?

WHOA-WOAH-OH-OH-OH!

What's new, Grumpy Cat?

WHOA-WOAH-OH-OH-OH!

Bent
Bent moderator

@williamg1 If it's UNDER 25 then Snacks is too old because he's 25.


However if it's 25 and under then I revert to my previous comment.

tsjc68
tsjc68

@Bent @williamg1

I honestly don't know but I bet there will be a joint number one or something.


That sounds fantastic.


Sincerely,

Josh Gordon

BDarc23
BDarc23

@Brian Serviss @Brendan @a57se If the Jets win and do great it will be because the Raiders suck, if they then beat the Pack it will be that Raji was out, etc...

Brendan
Brendan

@juunit Less, hopefully. 6/85 would be a nice deal for all parties. Watt is making $16.6 mil/year once his extension kicks in, Wilk at $85 mil on the same time period would be a shade over $14 mil, which I think is fair. Maybe even get him for less like $82 mil or something

a57se
a57se

@Bent @williamg1 

The headline does say UNDER 25...NOT 25 AND UNDER.

bklyndude
bklyndude

@DarrolRayFanClub 

Why ? 

Who did we cut that we shouldn't have.  Seems like a good idea to deep draft picks unless you are cutting a player who is better than a draft pick.

juunit
juunit

@Brendan @juunit 

I'd think we could get away with five years instead of six. Although I'd have no problem giving him that sixth year if it meant a lower annual salary. 

DarrolRayFanClub
DarrolRayFanClub

When will there be a punter that breaks the mold and taunts, is cocky and makes tackles on ST and celebrates.

juunit
juunit

@Bent @juunit @Brendan 

Because the longer we lock into a contract with guarantees the more risk we run of losing that money that has been guaranteed in the event of an injury or unforeseen circumstance like his level of play falling off. Or maybe he murders someone with a rusty spoon.

tsjc68
tsjc68

@BDarc23 @Brendan @a57se

Has he been like this the whole time I was gone, or is this a recent spike in insufferability?


I shudder to think what was said about Ferguson in my absence...

tsjc68
tsjc68

@juunit @Bent @Brendan

You can murder people with rusty spoons now? 


Man, I gotta get out of here and back onto the streets.  They're bringing so many new techniques to market, the game is gonna pass me by if I'm not careful.


Sincerely,

Aaron Hernandez

BDarc23
BDarc23

@tsjc68 @BDarc23 @Brendan @a57se haha... from my observation.. he is his usual self with Brendan but has been getting after everyone else lately too.  He and Juunit were going at it about who watches more Redskin preseason games the other day.

Brendan
Brendan

@tsjc68 Thankfully, we managed to avoid that topic entirely. But yeah, more or less he's been this warm and cuddly the entire time you've been gone.