Ranking all 59 NY Jets players to appear through the bye

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By: Michael Nania

Every New York Jets player ranked from worst to best through 2022 bye week

I took it upon myself to rank all 59 players who have played at least one snap for the New York Jets through their first nine games of the 2022 regular season. Players are ranked based on the cumulative impact they have made on the team.

No need to waste any time. Without further ado, here are my rankings.

59. CB Bryce Hall

  • Offensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Defensive snaps: 5 (1%)
  • Special teams snaps: 0 (0%)

Hall gave up a touchdown over just 5 snaps in the season opener against Baltimore and hasn’t been seen since.

58. OT Grant Hermanns

  • Offensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Defensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Special teams snaps: 7 (3%)

If you blinked, you probably missed him. Hermanns sneakily played 7 snaps for the field goal protection unit over two games. His two games came in Weeks 2 and 4: both wins. That’s right, the Jets are undefeated with Grant Hermanns on the field. He’s an unsung hero who quietly did his job to help lead New York to a perfect record. Jersey retirement is not out of the question.

That is, jersey retirement wasn’t out of the question, until Hermanns turned to the dark side and signed with Miami’s practice squad. Jets fans will never forgive him. This is arguably an even greater betrayal than when Jamal Adams shunned the team.

57. S Tony Adams

  • Offensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Defensive snaps: 2 (0%)
  • Special teams snaps: 47 (19%)

Adams made a cameo appearance on defense against Cleveland and allowed a first down catch. He didn’t do much of note on special teams.

56. LB Hamsah Nasirildeen

  • Offensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Defensive snaps: 1 (0%)
  • Special teams snaps: 34 (14%)

Nasirildeen didn’t make any tackles over his limited time on special teams in two games.

55. TE Lawrence Cager

  • Offensive snaps: 10 (2%)
  • Defensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Special teams snaps: 11 (4%)

Cager started for the Jets in their season opener as they came out and tried using a lot of 13 personnel (3 TE) packages against the Ravens. Those failed miserably, largely due to Cager’s poor blocking and route-running. He is now a New York Giant; scoring a touchdown this past Sunday.

54. OT Conor McDermott

  • Offensive snaps: 76 (13%)
  • Defensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Special teams snaps: 28 (11%)

McDermott is liability every time he steps on the field. He allowed 7 pressures over just 53 pass-blocking snaps this year, throwing in 2 penalties to boot.

53. LB Marcell Harris

  • Offensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Defensive snaps: 57 (9%)
  • Special teams snaps: 148 (60%)

Harris is having a rough season in his role. Defensively, he missed three tackles over a very limited stint on the field. On special teams, he is a core piece for the Jets as he ranks fifth on the team in special teams snaps, but he has the same number of penalties as tackles (2) on special teams.

52. TE Kenny Yeboah

  • Offensive snaps: 11 (2%)
  • Defensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Special teams snaps: 89 (36%)

Yeboah has one special teams tackle and didn’t do anything of note during his limited time on offense.

51. TE Jeremy Ruckert

  • Offensive snaps: 25 (4%)
  • Defensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Special teams snaps: 48 (20%)

Ruckert hasn’t played on offense since Week 5 and wasn’t active at all in the Jets’ recent win over Buffalo. He’s had a tough time finding a niche on the roster.

50. OT George Fant

  • Offensive snaps: 197 (33%)
  • Defensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Special teams snaps: 8 (3%)

Fant was brutal over his three starts, allowing 13 pressures (including 3 sacks) and committing 3 penalties. It turns out that he was playing through a knee injury, so we’ll see if he can come back healthier in the second half and return to the strong level of play he showcased in 2021.

49. IOL Dan Feeney

  • Offensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Defensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Special teams snaps: 40 (16%)

Feeney is only up here because the players behind him have largely been net-negatives. All he’s done is block for the field goal protection unit. I guess we can say that he hasn’t yielded any blocked kicks, so let’s give him a pat on the back for that. Grant Hermanns is still the GOAT in this department, though.

48. RB Ty Johnson

  • Offensive snaps: 50 (8%)
  • Defensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Special teams snaps: 105 (43%)

Johnson has not done much with the football, generating 36 yards over a combined total of 11 carries and targets.

47. WR Jeff Smith

  • Offensive snaps: 110 (19%)
  • Defensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Special teams snaps: 74 (30%)

Smith is playing fairly often but has only managed to catch 4 of 6 targets for 57 yards.

46. LB Jamien Sherwood

  • Offensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Defensive snaps: 9 (1%)
  • Special teams snaps: 171 (70%)

Sherwood made his first defensive appearance of the year against Buffalo last week. He had a couple of nice stops but also yielded a pair of productive runs to Josh Allen on an eventual touchdown drive.

On special teams, Sherwood is one of the Jets’ leaders. He is second on the team with 171 special teams snaps. Sherwood has 4 tackles and 0 missed tackles on special teams.

45. WR Denzel Mims

  • Offensive snaps: 118 (20%)
  • Defensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Special teams snaps: 1 (0%)

Mims has been heavily featured in the Jets’ offense since Week 7, providing mixed results. He’s caught 4 of 9 targets for 92 yards (although 63 came on one catch), with three of those four catches being impressive plays that reminded fans why he was an exciting second-round pick.

His blocking has been good, but he is again struggling with penalties, already getting called for two of those. He’s also botched a handful of catchable passes, leading to his woeful 44.4% catch rate.

44. DT Solomon Thomas

  • Offensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Defensive snaps: 206 (34%)
  • Special teams snaps: 34 (14%)

Thomas isn’t making much of an impact. He has 2 pressures and 4 stops while playing over 200 defensive snaps.

43. WR Elijah Moore

  • Offensive snaps: 380 (64%)
  • Defensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Special teams snaps: 3 (1%)

Moore provided a couple of nice catches per week over the first four games, but since then, he’s essentially done nothing. Moore has one catch since Week 5.

On the season, Moore now ranks 97th out of 101 qualified wide receivers (min. 20 targets) in yards per route run with a dreadful mark of 0.84. He’s too talented for that. Both the Jets and Moore need to figure out what they must do to right the ship.

42. QB Joe Flacco

  • Offensive snaps: 232 (39%)
  • Defensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Special teams snaps: 0 (0%)

Flacco deserves credit for engineering the Jets’ miraculous comeback in Cleveland, but in each of his other two starts, he was the primary reason the Jets lost.

41. G Laken Tomlinson

  • Offensive snaps: 594 (100%)
  • Defensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Special teams snaps: 40 (16%)

It’s been a disappointing year for Tomlinson. There are occasional flashes of his Pro Bowl talent in each game, but for the most part, Tomlinson has been frustratingly inconsistent.

40. DE Vinny Curry

  • Offensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Defensive snaps: 86 (14%)
  • Special teams snaps: 17 (7%)

Curry has 4 pressures and 4 stops over 85 defensive snaps in 4 games. He is doing a decent job as a rotational defensive lineman.

39. DT Nathan Shepherd

  • Offensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Defensive snaps: 193 (31%)
  • Special teams snaps: 72 (29%)

Shepherd was a non-factor over his first five games, recording only 2 pressures and 1 stop over that span, but he’s been turning it up since then. Shepherd has 6 pressures and 3 stops over his last four games. His resurgence comes at a perfect time, as the Jets will need more from him with Sheldon Rankins sidelined.

38. DE Jacob Martin

  • Offensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Defensive snaps: 153 (25%)
  • Special teams snaps: 121 (49%)

Martin was creating pressure at a solid rate before getting traded to Denver, but he struggled to convert those pressures into tangible impact, as he often overran the pocket.

37. LS Thomas Hennessy

  • Offensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Defensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Special teams snaps: 85 (35%)

Hennessy is executing his snaps with good consistency, as per usual. He also hasn’t missed any tackles in punt coverage.

36. RB James Robinson

  • Offensive snaps: 37 (6%)
  • Defensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Special teams snaps: 0 (0%)

I expect Robinson to climb this list as the season goes on. His first game as a Jet was quiet, but he showed his worth in his second game, catching a touchdown on a screen and contributing to a dominant ground-and-pound scoring drive to close the game.

35. OT Cedric Ogbuehi

  • Offensive snaps: 162 (27%)
  • Defensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Special teams snaps: 12 (5%)

Ogbuehi is exceeding expectations as a last-resort tackle option. He struggled in his first start against New England, allowing 5 pressures, but he looked good against Buffalo, allowing 1 pressure while making plenty of good blocks in the run game.

34. OT Max Mitchell

  • Offensive snaps: 261 (44%)
  • Defensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Special teams snaps: 14 (6%)

Mitchell showed a lot of potential in the first few starts of his career as he held his own through three games. He was having some trouble with the Steelers before exiting that game with an injury, but Mitchell looked like a below-average/average starting tackle, which is well beyond what the Jets could have realistically hoped for.

33. P Braden Mann

  • Offensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Defensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Special teams snaps: 100 (41%)

It’s been a roller-coaster season for Mann, but ultimately there has been more good than bad. Despite a few costly shanks, Mann is still ranked seventh out of 30 qualified punters with a net average of 43.4 yards. He also was a key cog in the Jets’ Week 2 win over the Browns, executing a fake punt conversion and an onside kick.

32. S Will Parks

  • Offensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Defensive snaps: 31 (5%)
  • Special teams snaps: 71 (29%)

Parks is responsible for two of the Jets’ biggest special teams plays. He sparked the Jets’ onside kick recovery against Cleveland by being the first man to the football (Justin Hardee eventually recovered it). In Green Bay, Parks recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown.

31. S Ashtyn Davis

  • Offensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Defensive snaps: 12 (2%)
  • Special teams snaps: 160 (65%)

Davis is settling in as a useful special teams piece for the Jets. He is third on the team with 160 special teams snaps and is making plays. Davis has 3 special teams tackles with no missed tackles and converted a fake punt against Buffalo.

In the Week 2 win over Cleveland, Davis made the game-sealing interception on his only defensive snap.

30. CB Brandin Echols

  • Offensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Defensive snaps: 41 (7%)
  • Special teams snaps: 149 (61%)

As the Jets’ fourth cornerback, Echols has been reliable when called upon. He made back-to-back stops in coverage during a red zone stand in Cleveland when Sauce Gardner momentarily left the game. Overall, Echols has only allowed 3 catches on 8 targets this season. He’s also fourth on the team in special teams snaps.

29. CB Justin Hardee

  • Offensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Defensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Special teams snaps: 193 (78%)

Hardee is looking like the special teams ace the Jets signed him to be. He is third in the NFL with 10 special teams tackles and threw in an onside kick recovery back in Week 2. Hardee contributes in just about every area of special teams as he leads the team with 193 special teams snaps and regularly participates on every unit except for the field goal protection unit.

28. DE Micheal Clemons

  • Offensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Defensive snaps: 151 (25%)
  • Special teams snaps: 127 (52%)

Clemons has provided an enforcing presence on the edge, logging 14 tackles defensively without missing a single tackle. He also has 7 pressures. On special teams, Clemons has 2 tackles and a blocked punt.

27. S Lamarcus Joyner

  • Offensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Defensive snaps: 614 (100%)
  • Special teams snaps: 10 (4%)

Joyner has settled down after a terrible start to the season, but he still has occasional lapses in coverage and as a tackler. Overall, he’s established himself as a mid-tier starting free safety, which the Jets can live with for now.

26. TE C.J. Uzomah

  • Offensive snaps: 270 (45%)
  • Defensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Special teams snaps: 99 (40%)

Uzomah is doing a nice job in his role as the Jets’ blocking tight end. Look no further than the Jets’ final offensive drive against the Bills last week.

25. DE Jermaine Johnson

  • Offensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Defensive snaps: 113 (18%)
  • Special teams snaps: 58 (24%)

Johnson is still working on sharpening his pass-rush consistency (only 5 pressures over 57 pass-rush snaps), but he is providing the Jets with great run defense and a nose for sacks.

Johnson has already contributed to 3 sacks. In the run game, Johnson has made 10 tackles without missing a single one, and his run-stop rate of 12.7% ranks fifth-best out of 126 qualified edge defenders.

24. OT Duane Brown

  • Offensive snaps: 292 (49%)
  • Defensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Special teams snaps: 0 (0%)

Brown has been hot-and-cold this year, alternating between sturdy performances and performances where he looks every bit as old as he is. On the whole, though, he has held things together for New York on the blind side. His mobility in the run game has been a pleasant surprise.

23. K Greg Zuerlein

  • Offensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Defensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Special teams snaps: 69 (28%)

The Jets have won three one-score games this year in which Zuerlein was perfect and the opposing team’s kicker was not (although the Patriots game qualifies in the other direction). With that in mind, it’s easy to picture the Jets having one or two fewer victories if they were getting the same level of kicking that they got in previous years, but Zuerlein has stabilized this position.

Zuerlein is getting it done from long distance, going 4-of-5 from 50+.

22. LB Quincy Williams

  • Offensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Defensive snaps: 368 (60%)
  • Special teams snaps: 5 (2%)

Williams is still susceptible to the occasional missed tackle or coverage lapse, but it feels as if those mistakes are less common than last year. Most of all, I think he has improved in the run game. Williams’s sharpened discipline as a run defender is a big reason why New York is so much better at stopping the run than many expected.

21. S Jordan Whitehead

  • Offensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Defensive snaps: 607 (99%)
  • Special teams snaps: 15 (6%)

Whitehead is just about exactly who the Jets thought they were getting. He is an enforcing presence in the box and makes a splashy play in coverage every once in a while, but his overall coverage is below-average and he is prone to some missed tackles. Altogether, though, Whitehead has been a solid starter at strong safety.

20. WR Braxton Berrios

  • Offensive snaps: 200 (34%)
  • Defensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Special teams snaps: 79 (32%)

With 3 total touchdowns so far (2 rushing, 1 passing), Berrios continues to be a useful gadget weapon for the Jets’ offense.

They are hoping to get Berrios back to All-Pro form in the return game. His kickoff return average is down to 23.4 after he led the league with a 30.4 mark last year. As a punt returner, Berrios has an excellent average of 12.9 (close to his 13.4 from last year), but he only has 7 returns. Berrios is a fair-catch machine. He leads the NFL with 17 fair catches.

19. G Nate Herbig

  • Offensive snaps: 362 (61%)
  • Defensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Special teams snaps: 28 (11%)

Herbig’s surprisingly strong performance is perhaps the main reason New York’s offensive line has held it together despite an onslaught of injuries. In 6 games, Herbig has only given up 6 pressures, which includes 0 sacks and just 1 QB hit. He is also one of the team’s most consistent run blockers.

18. QB Zach Wilson

  • Offensive snaps: 362 (61%)
  • Defensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Special teams snaps: 0 (0%)

It’s been a mixed bag for Wilson. I would say he has played two very good games, one good game, one below-average game, and two brutal games.

The Jets are 5-1 in Wilson’s starts and he played an integral role in 3 of those wins. His fourth-quarter comeback against Pittsburgh was elite stuff. In the wins over Miami and Buffalo, Wilson was incredibly consistent throughout all four quarters and did a fantastic job of managing an efficient offense.

On the downside, New York’s loss to New England was largely on Wilson’s shoulders. There were also two games against Green Bay and Denver where Wilson struggled but was luckily bailed out by an elite defense. The final result would have been different in those two games if Wilson had the 2021 version of the Jets’ defense behind him.

Wilson currently ranks 18th out of 31 qualified quarterbacks in ESPN’s QBR with a 49.1, suggesting he has essentially been an average starting quarterback. For a team with a fantastic defense and a solid running game, this has been good enough to win games at a high rate so far.

Let’s see if Wilson can improve on that over the next eight weeks. If his performance against the Bills is a sign of things to come, Wilson is in for a strong second half; which would land him much higher on this list by the end of the year.

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17. C Connor McGovern

  • Offensive snaps: 594 (100%)
  • Defensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Special teams snaps: 3 (1%)

As the man in the middle of the Jets’ offensive line carousel, McGovern deserves a lot of credit for keeping the unit together. New York’s offensive front has committed fewer communication errors than you would expect from a group that is an ever-changing hodgepodge. That shines a positive light on the center, who anchors the communication of the offensive line.

McGovern is having a good year individually. He ranks 11th-best out of 30 qualified centers with an allowed pressure rate of 2.7% (10 pressures on 371 pass-blocking snaps). In the run game, McGovern engineers the Jets’ outside-zone game through his ability to execute difficult “hook blocks” in which he must cross the face of a play-side defender and seal him to the back side.

16. TE Tyler Conklin

  • Offensive snaps: 474 (80%)
  • Defensive snaps: 0 (18%)
  • Special teams snaps: 52 (21%)

Conklin is 13th among tight ends in both receptions (33) and receiving yards (316) while ranking 12th in first downs (16) and tying for seventh in touchdowns (3). The Jets finally have a respectable pass-catcher at tight end.

15. LB Kwon Alexander

  • Offensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Defensive snaps: 342 (56%)
  • Special teams snaps: 7 (3%)

Alexander has only played situationally in most of the Jets’ games this year, but he remains an impactful force regardless of how much he plays. His range, coverage skills, and knack for big hits have been important assets for the Jets’ defense. Alexander is allowing a passer rating of 83.4 on throws into his coverage, which ranks 8th-best out of 61 qualified linebackers.

14. DT Sheldon Rankins

  • Offensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Defensive snaps: 324 (53%)
  • Special teams snaps: 5 (2%)

With 14 pressures and 11 run stops, Rankins has been an active playmaker in both phases. The Jets will certainly miss him over the next few weeks.

13. LB C.J. Mosley

  • Offensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Defensive snaps: 605 (99%)
  • Special teams snaps: 48 (20%)

I think Mosley gets a bad rap. Yes, he occasionally gets exploited in coverage, and he’s not a superstar like he may have once been, but he’s still pretty darn good. How many great linebackers are there in the NFL right now? Especially good coverage linebackers? When evaluating Mosley, I think it’s important to realize what the league-wide standards are for this position.

Mosley has been an efficient tackler. He only has 8 missed tackles all year and ranks 19th-best out of 61 qualified linebackers with a missed tackle rate of 8.2%. In coverage, Mosley is allowing a passer rating of 92.0 on throws in his direction, which also ranks 19th-best. He is tied for fourth among linebackers with 4 pass breakups.

Mosley is still a well-above-average starting linebacker and also a vocal leader for the team both on the field and in the locker room. Whether he is worth his enormous contract is another discussion, but he is a valuable player regardless.

12. RB Michael Carter

  • Offensive snaps: 321 (54%)
  • Defensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Special teams snaps: 0 (0%)

Forcing 23 missed tackles on 85 carries, Carter ranks 7th-best out of 41 qualified running backs with 0.271 missed tackles forced per carry. He remains one of the most elusive rushers in the game.

11. DE Bryce Huff

  • Offensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Defensive snaps: 95 (15%)
  • Special teams snaps: 47 (19%)

Bryce Huff is arguably a top-three player on the Jets when looking solely at his per-snap efficiency. He is second among qualified edge rushers in both pass-rush win rate (25.6%) and pressure rate (18.7%).

10. DE Carl Lawson

  • Offensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Defensive snaps: 378 (62%)
  • Special teams snaps: 9 (4%)

Lawson is tied for sixth in the NFL with 16 quarterback hits and also has 4.0 sacks (two of those being half-sacks, giving him 5 sacks total). His consistency at winning and generating pressure is a little behind his previous career peaks, but Lawson’s explosiveness has provided subtle impact even when he doesn’t necessarily win. He is doing excellent at opening up his teammates on stunts and also made one of the biggest plays of the Jets’ Buffalo win when he drew a holding penalty.

9. CB Michael Carter II

  • Offensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Defensive snaps: 396 (65%)
  • Special teams snaps: 20 (8%)

Carter II is one of the league’s most reliable slot defenders.

If you remove a play against the Bengals where Whitehead banged into him as the pass arrived, leading to an undeserved 56-yard touchdown that tanks his stats, Carter II has allowed a passer rating of 75.8, which would rank sixth-best out of 33 qualified slot corners.

Carter II’s numbers would be even better than that if a pick-six against the Patriots was not wiped out by a roughing the passer penalty. Throw that in and his rating drops to 64.6, which would rank third-best.

8. DE John Franklin-Myers

  • Offensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Defensive snaps: 344 (56%)
  • Special teams snaps: 8 (3%)

Franklin-Myers’s outside/inside versatility makes everything work for the Jets’ defensive line. His interchangeability allows the Jets to get the best possible unit on the field in each situation.

On run downs, Franklin-Myers kicks to the edge so the Jets can have a beefier group on the field. On pass downs, Franklin-Myers kicks inside so Bryce Huff can get on the field and explode off the edge. In both situations, Franklin-Myers is good enough to make things work. He is a strong edge defender against the run and a productive interior pass-rusher.

Franklin-Myers ranks second on the team with 25 pressures.

7. WR Corey Davis

  • Offensive snaps: 337 (57%)
  • Defensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Special teams snaps: 0 (0%)

Davis is a clutch playmaker for the Jets. Of his 19 receptions, 17 of them were either a first down or a touchdown. Davis is also a fourth-quarter star. He has caught 9 passes for 179 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 6 first downs in the fourth quarter.

The most underrated part of Davis’s game is his run-blocking. He is a dominant run-blocker who takes pride in that part of the position. Davis has created so many big runs for the Jets.

6. WR Garrett Wilson

  • Offensive snaps: 394 (66%)
  • Defensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Special teams snaps: 0 (0%)

With 42 catches on 68 targets for 521 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 23 first downs, Wilson is the Jets’ go-to guy in the passing game. Those numbers underrate how well he’s played, as Wilson has been missed after getting open on a ton of plays this year.

5. CB D.J. Reed

  • Offensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Defensive snaps: 614 (100%)
  • Special teams snaps: 11 (4%)

Reed gets overshadowed by another cornerback on the Jets’ roster, but he is a star in his own right. Reed has allowed the 9th-lowest passer rating out of 89 qualified cornerbacks this season (58.6).

4. RB Breece Hall

  • Offensive snaps: 233 (39%)
  • Defensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Special teams snaps: 0 (0%)

Hall still ranks third among qualified running backs with 4.1 yards after contact per attempt. He is a home-run hitter who proved he can carry an NFL offense on his shoulders. The Jets eagerly await the return of a healthy Hall in 2023.

3. OL Alijah Vera-Tucker

  • Offensive snaps: 432 (73%)
  • Defensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Special teams snaps: 29 (12%)

Vera-Tucker played four different positions in one half-season and looked like a star at all of them. He is a consistent pass-blocker with elite run-blocking traits regardless of whether he is lined up at guard or tackle. The Jets have a long-term offensive line anchor in the USC product.

2. DT Quinnen Williams

  • Offensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Defensive snaps: 406 (66%)
  • Special teams snaps: 44 (18%)

Williams is inarguably the most destructive pass-rushing defensive tackle in the game right now. He leads defensive tackles with 17 quarterback hits and 8 sacks (he officially has 7.0 sacks but two of those were half-sacks). Williams is second among defensive tackles with 35 pressures, although he has just 1 fewer pressure than top-ranked Chris Jones despite playing 93 fewer pass-rush snaps. Williams’s 13.5% pressure rate ranks No. 1 at the position.

In the run game, Williams doesn’t have gaudy on-ball stats, but his game-changing impact shines through on film. Williams devours blocks to make life easy for his teammates. He is the top reason why New York ranks 5th-best in yards allowed per rush attempt.

1. CB Sauce Gardner

  • Offensive snaps: 0 (0%)
  • Defensive snaps: 601 (98%)
  • Special teams snaps: 49 (20%)

Gardner leads the NFL with 13 passes defended and has allowed the third-lowest passer rating among qualified cornerbacks at 44.6. He’s done this despite facing some of the best pass-catchers in the NFL; Ja’Marr Chase, Stefon Diggs, Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, Amari Cooper, Courtland Sutton, and Mark Andrews are among the players Gardner has covered.

A case can already be made that Gardner is the best cornerback in the NFL, which is a downright unbelievable statement for a player who is less than 10 games into his career.

Choosing between Gardner and Williams was difficult. Either player is a good choice.

I leaned toward Gardner due to the clutch factor. Gardner has made an unreal number of game-winning plays for the Jets.

Gardner sealed each of the Jets’ past two wins with pass breakups against Gabe Davis (Buffalo) and Courtland Sutton (Denver) on the opponent’s last chance of the game. He actually did it twice against Denver – after breaking up a potential game-tying touchdown by Sutton on one fourth down, Denver got the ball back again and took another game-tying shot into the end zone on fourth down, but Gardner had tight coverage on K.J. Hamler.

In the Jets’ Week 4 win over Pittsburgh, Gardner made the pivotal play of the Jets’ eventual fourth-quarter comeback. The Steelers had a 3-point lead and were driving their way toward running the clock out, but Gardner deflected a pass into the air that ended up getting intercepted by Carter II. It set up the Jets’ game-winning touchdown drive.

Sauce Gardner is the face of the New York Jets.

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