Today, the OJT crew sans Achilles (military doesn't give out too much down time lol), will provide our Top-3 and Bottom-3 New York Jets players currently on the roster. To keep it relevant, we've stuck to players that have potential to start or at least [could] see a reasonable chunk of playing time. Enjoy, and make sure to let us know what you think—who was right/wrong—in the comments below! Image: Staten Island Advance
1) Nick Mangold
Mangold is number one on my list of the best players because he anchors an offensive line that has been in the Top-5 league wide for the past four years. In fact, the only year it wasn't in the Top-5 was in 2011, when he was battling injuries. He’s a blue chip caliber player, and a solid leader on the team.
2) Antonio Cromartie
Cromartie is number two because his caliber of play, and the leadership he has shown to younger players over the past few years, has gotten better and better. Establishing his own version of “Jets West” only further shows his willingness to take over a leadership role on a team that desperately needs leaders.
3) Mark Sanchez*
Yes, that is not a typo, Sanchez is on the list twice, we'll get to that soon.
1) Mark Sanchez*
*Sanchez makes the list of the best, simply because of his willingness to lead the team off-the-field. He’s holding Jets West again this year, showing he is willing to be a leader of men. However, he makes the top of the list for the worst Jets, because he simply can’t get his off-the-field leadership to transition to Sunday afternoon.
2) Kyle Wilson
Wilson is number 2, simply due to his atrocious cornerback play, which ties him for 160th in the league amongst all CBs. He was in the first round by the Jets, and simply has not lived up to the hype that surrounded him going into the 2010 draft. Expect him to lose playing time this summer in camp.
3) Calvin Pace
Finally, Calvin Pace rounds out my list of the Top-3 worst Jets. Pace was average against the run, but horrible in coverage in 2012. The Jets brought him back to help bolster a weak linebacking unit this year, and perhaps for a bit of veteran leadership as well. If he doesn’t perform well in camp, he may be cut before the season starts.
Everone else's lists, after the jump...
1) Muhammad Wilkerson
Wilkerson is a major force on the defensive line. He had a great season last year with 69 combined tackles and 5 sacks. He is still very young and will improve to become one of the top defensive linemen in the league, and be part of the top defensive line in the league.
2) Antonio Cromartie
Cro had to step up big time last year with the injury to Darrelle Revis. He performed at an extravagant level last season as a shutdown corner. Cromartie is expected to pick up where he left off as the top corner on the team with Revis down in Tampa Bay now. Another plus is his new leadership role. He's leading by example with his intense workouts and film study. He has become a mentor for the younger defensive backs.
3) Nick Mangold
The offensive line struggled last season but Nick Mangold remained one of the top centers in the league. He also leads by example. Mangold a hard worker that has only missed 2 games in his career. He continues to play smart and lead of the offensive line.
1) Vladimir Ducasse
Ducasse is a bust. The team keeps on trying to work him into the offense and each time it backfires. He can't move well enough to make blocks and he struggles when it comes to determining who to block. His days in New York are numbered.
2) Mark Sanchez
Sanchez is a turnover machine. It's hard to believe he is competing for a starting job. Mark has turned the ball over 89 times in his four-year career. He is averaging over 20 a year. He has a 55.1 career completion percentage. I don't think the new offensive system will help him because he lacks the accuracy and decision-making to succeed in this offense.
3) Kyle Wilson
Wilson was another bust from the 2010 draft; he has been a big letdown. The problem is that he never played man coverage until he got to the NFL. He hasn't picked it up and I don't think he will. There hasn't been very much improvement in his few years in the league. With the addition of Dee Milliner, Wilson will be back in the slot where he is at his best.
1) Nick Mangold
Nick has been a stud since he entered in the league. The four time Pro Bowler is highly regarded as one of the best centers in the NFL, and, since his rookie season, he's one of the only reasons the offense has been able to score. His ability to drive would-be tacklers back, widely opens up the run game, something the Jets sorely need to go back to.
2) Antonio Cromartie
Cromartie has truly blossomed into a very solid CB. With the 2012 injury of Revis, the 2-time Pro Bowler had a great season in his absence. Leading the defensive backs with 3 interceptions and 13 passes defended, he really stepped up when the team needed him most, and delivered.
3) Muhammad Wilkerson
Wilkerson has almost become everything the Jets thought he would be. Although he has a lot of time to grow and work on his skills, his ceiling is through the roof. The young defensive end has 119 tackles to go along with 8 sacks and a safety in only 2 seasons. As long as he can continue to disrupt offensive lines, he's going to have a very long and very prosperous career in the NFL.
1) Kyle Wilson
I was never sold on Kyle Wilson since he was drafted by the Jets, and I still don't believe he can be that good. He constantly lets receivers get by him, and he's late on the ball. I once thought Rex Ryan can turn any defensive-men into a stud, but if he's going to be the CB2, opposite Cromartie, QBs will constantly throw to his side leaving us with a handicap that safeties will need to worry about throughout the game. Here's to hoping Dee Milliner can figure things out quick.
2) Stephen Hill
Stephen Hill was 95% disappointing last season. The other 5% was his debut game. Even though he was a rookie last year, it was still very tough to watch. At Georgia Tech he never really ran any routes, if you've never seen that offense it's a quick hit-them-over-the-middle with a wishbone read-option flair. Although he has caught balls deep, averaging 29.3 yards a catch in 2011, that was only one season, and not in the NFL. The Jets got him for his athleticism, which he has definitely shown when he catches the ball (6 catchable drops in 2012). So it's possible Hill may not be able to adjust to an out route, or a wheel route, etc, causing him to be one dimensional. The Jets could always use a slot, but that's not what he was drafted for.
3) Bilal Powell
With so many running backs on the roster, (Ivory, McKnight, Goodson, Griffin) Powell is my odd man out. I believe by the time the season starts either McKnight or Powell will be cut. And while Joe McKnight hasn't done anything spectacular, (him and Powell have almost identical stats), he still has the ability to return kicks with decent success, (averaging 29 yards with 2 touchdowns). That's always a big commodity to have, on top of being very athletic. Although Bilal does have 4 offensive touchdowns in his career to McKnight's 0, one of them is most likely to be dropped. Don't be surprised Powell doesn't make the cut.
1) Antonio Cromartie
Cromartie played well as Gang Green’s top cornerback in 2012 following CB Darrelle Revis’ season-ending ACL injury in week three. With Revis no longer with the organization, this solid performance gives hope to the Jets’ defense for 2013.
2) Muhammad Wilkerson
Gang Green’s former first round pick had a breakout season in 2012, recording five sacks. He should be the leader on the defensive line going into 2013. He’s ranked second because he is less experienced than Cromartie—can he take that next step?
3) Jeremy Kerley
With WR Santonio Holmes lost for the season following his week four foot injury, Kerley became the team’s leading receiver in 2012. This season, Kerley should get more opportunities to make plays in new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg’s West Coast Offense—Mornhinweg’s 2012 offense in Philadelphia ran pass plays 61.7 percent of the time, a much higher ratio than Tony Sparano’s 2012 Jets’ offense, which only called for passes on 52.2 percent of plays. Kerley will have to battle New York’s other receivers for numbers, but between injury concerns (Holmes), drop issues (WR Stephen Hill), and age (TE Kellen Winslow), Kerley would seem to be the Jets’ most reliable option entering 2013.
3) Kyle Wilson:
With DB Dee Milliner having to adjust to an NFL-style defense, Wilson may be New York’s number two cornerback in 2013. His performance in this role has been subpar during his career, and he’s often beaten by receivers. As a nickelback, he can be serviceable, though.
2) Mark Sanchez:
While Mornhinweg’s offense, which emphasizes more consistent short and intermediate passes, may help Sanchez stay in a rhythm, the QB has never proven to be accurate. His 54.3 completion percentage was third worst in the league last season, and his career average is only 55.1 percent. It’s also highly questionable whether the new OC’s schemes will help correct Sanchez’s suspect decision making, namely locking into a target and forcing the ball to said target.
1) Bilal Powell
The running back field is crowded for the Jets with Joe McKnight, Mike Goodson, and Chris Ivory also in the mix. Powell is the least explosive of New York’s ground options because he is undersized. Furthermore, Mornhinweg’s offense will likely include fewer running plays than Sparano’s offense allowed for last season such as to give Powell a chance.
1) Muhammad Wilkerson
Wilkerson is a force on the defensive line, that stats can't accurately portray. 2012 was his coming-out party and boy was it fun to watch. Inside lineman don't always get there appropriate shine, but Wilkerson's 5 sacks and 3 FF last year should be recognized. His run-stopping ability is equally impressive, so it's a shock that he was snubbed out of the Pro Bowl. Pro Football Focus had Wilk as the 14th best player of 2012. Yep. Got Wilk?
2) Antonio Cromartie
Talk about being ready for when your number is called. Antonio Cromartie had the season of his career in 2012—this, while having Wilson, not Revis, on the other side, for the majority of the year. Cro's on and off-the-field leadership should pay dividends via the other DBs on the squad. From financial maturity to career maturity, Cro is at his prime.
3) Nick Mangold
Finally, no top Jets list is complete without the staple of the Jets offense and offensive line, Nick Mangold. At 29, Mangold doesn't really show any signs of slowing down. While Mark Sanchez may not be the majority fan-favorite QB, his support of Sanchez speaks to his loyalty to his teammates, and leadership for speaking out. His missed the Pro Bowl last year, but is just one more year out (2011). Finally, his durability speaks measures, having started in all 110 games that he was able to play in.
1) Mark Sanchez
I could 'play nice,' but I just can't—Mark Sanchez deserves to be named the worst player on the team (among potential starters). Here's why. One, QBs get all the praise and all the blame, some of the times deservingly so. Second, we're entering Year 5 of the Sanchize, and these past two seasons have been atrocious. Sanchez had a combined 49 turnovers for '11 and '12. His biggest problem is poor decisions—he has the potential to make all the throws, but he forgets to just throw the ball away when nothing is there. Yes, he hasn't always had the best of weapons, but that should not excuse a QB rating that ranked 31st in 2012. Decent backup—a league luxury—is my conclusion for Mark.
2) Vladimir Ducasse/Joe McKnight
I place the two players here, as Ducasse has been just plain miserable, but he may not be seeing a lot of playing time with a deeper offensive line pool in 2013. McKnight seems to be a niche fan-favorite RB, but he's done nothing to deserve that title. Sure, returning kicks for long runs and/or TDs is cool and all, but many can be placed into that role. Mike Goodson would be a great fit. McKnight had just 179 yards on the ground last season, battling injury and even playing some time on defense. I don't see much there, and I see a lot more potential in seemingly-forgotten RB Bilal Powell. Powell had 437 yards and 4TDs last year!
3) Josh Bush
Bush has really done nothing to deserve negativity, but nothing to deserve praise, either. He's just essentially new, a 2012 late-round draftee, that looks to be the favorite to start at safety in 2013. With Dawan Landry, a veteran in the league by his side, hopefully he'll learn to "Play Like a Jet" quickly. However, I expect some growing pains.
Who's intelligent, who's insane? Let us know below!