Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.comWith a lot of focus outside the walls of Florham Park on the Jets skill positions our friends over at TOTJ did an awesome job of breaking down the team’s current starters at the team’s skill positions that you should definitely read. Here’s our boiled down version with an eye on the upcoming draft.
Relevant Depth Chart: Eric Decker, Jeremy Kerley, David Nelson, Stephen Hill
Analysis: By simply adding Decker, this group is much improved. Decker provides a big target who is physical and can get behind a defense from time to time. Jeremy Kerley is typecast as a slot player, but in truth he could be a competent #2 when pressed into service … he’s played better than Santonio Holmes going on three years now. David Nelson was found money last season and provided the team a big target for Geno Smith in the middle and in the red zone.
Areas of Improvement: With three big targets (Decker, Nelson, Hill) in-house along with the shifty Jeremy Kerley, the team could consider adding any number of receivers, but their greatest need is for a “speed with hands” type. Since bringing on Marty Mornhinweg last year as the team’s offensive coordinator, there’s been a lot of activity around small and speedy deep threats. Tavon Austin last year along with interest in DeSean Jackson, Emmanuel Sanders and Andrew Hawkins. In the first round this year that player is Brandin Cooks. He’s athletic and bigger than Austin was, but maybe with slightly less speed. Either way, he would be able to grab a few deep passes a game and soften the defense for the running and shorter passing game.
Relevant Depth Chart: Jeff Cumberland, Zach Sudfield
Analysis: Jeff Cumberland can be a competent receiver and has gotten substantially better as a blocker. He’s come a long way since he was a rookie in 2010 – but is there much more to come? The team scooped up Sudfield last season and he saw more time as the season wore on. Regardless, this is not enough skill and depth at a position that has become increasingly important in the last five years in the NFL.
Areas of Improvement: It all depends on when/if the Jets invest in tight end, this draft doesn’t have a glut of talented tight ends. If they are to do so in the third or fourth round, CJ Fiedorwicz might be the right move due to his skill as a blocker. If the Jets are going to invest earlier in a tight end during the draft process then he better have some hands. Eric Ebron is great but he’s not much of a blocker. Austin Sefarian-Jenkins has the size and can be productive as a pass catcher and promise as a blocker and could be available when the Jets pick in the second round.
Relevant Depth Chart: Chris Johnson, Chris Ivory, Bilal Powell, Mike Goodson, Alex Green
Analysis: Adding Chris Johnson this week made a major upgrade for the Jets at the running back position. Johnson is still under 30 and has suffered behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league for years. He’s been extremely durable and still has some of that patented playmaking, but it is fair to say that he’s not the same dynamic player he was as a rookie, but he’s still better than anyone else on the team in New York. Chris Ivory will be the pounder in this setup and will likely get early down and short yardage work. The rest of the depth will come into question based on what the Jets do in the draft.
Areas of Improvement: The Jets might be looking for a smaller scat back type to work into this group. In that case, Charles Sims, Jerrick McKinnon and Terrance West might be targets for the Jets among this running back class.
Relevant Depth Chart: Geno Smith, Mike Vick, Matt Simms
Analysis: Signing Vick has solidified the depth of the team and it seems most likely that those two will be the only players to start at the position for the Jets this season.
Areas of Improvement: Unless something unforeseen happens, I don’t expect the Jets will make an investment in the quarterback position that could have impact this season.