Comparing the New York Jets Roster Against the 2008 Winless Detroit Lions 1
May 23, 2017; Florham Park, NY, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Chad Hansen (6) runs with the ball during organized team activities at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

When comparing the New York Jets roster against the awfully epic 2008 winless Detroit Lions, a funny thing happens along the way.

Listen, we all know why it’s done. These so-called experts run that mouth, leading to keyboard malpractice in order to gain attention.

We’re still early in June and the great Gary Myers of the New York Daily News has already stuck the New York Jets with the dreaded 0-16 mark. A nameless, anonymous, gutless NFL agent told Brian Costello of the New York Post that he believes the Jets “have no plan” and remain the laughingstock of the league.

NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah piled on with another nameless executive who came up with the brightest beauty of them all:

A decade, really?

We’ve already covered how ridiculous all of the talk is. Yes, the roster of these Jets is downright terrible. It’s horrific, to be dead honest. Even still, there’s no chance in the world a real football mind can so stubbornly label them the worst in the NFL, no less worst in a decade.

Based on progression, we simply don’t know. More laughable is the fact anybody knows what the final win-loss columns will read by January. Certain unforeseen events take place in football that nobody can account for. It’s always been this way and will remain this way until the day we all take that last final, long nap.

To highlight exactly how difficult it is to determine how bad a roster this truly is, we compare it against one of the worst rosters over the course of the last 10 years.

How do we know it’s a terrible roster? Well, because the depth chart showcased a beast at wide receiver and still turned out as one of only four teams in league history to finish winless.

We’re referring to the 2008 Detroit Lions and we compare that roster with the one residing in Florham Park, New Jersey right now.

(We won’t go to the preseason depth, rather just tackle the regular 53-man roster.)

Sep 1, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) in the tunnel before game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports


Slight Advantage Jets:

Well, let’s just pretend we didn’t even see the quarterback position and move on. There’s no point in even discussing it. Jon Kitna enjoyed a few good seasons in the league, but was already 36 at the time.

On the other hand, only the Jets possess true upside at the position. While the Christian Hackenberg, Bryce Petty duo isn’t generating much buzz, they still are second and fourth round selections, respectively.

The only real value is knowing that the Lions snagged franchise man Matt Stafford with the No. 1 overall pick the following season while the Jets traded up to snag Mark Sanchez, the winningest playoff QB in the Jets history.

Dec 11, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (29) celebrates behind San Francisco 49ers cornerback Jimmie Ward (25) after scoring a touchdown during the fourth quarter at Levi’s Stadium. The New York Jets defeated the San Francisco 49ers 23-17. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Running Back

Solid Advantage Jets:

This one’s easy. Kevin Smith played well as a rookie during the 2008 season — 978 yards, eight touchdowns, 4.1 YPC — but didn’t do anything thereafter and was out of the league after the 2012 campaign.

Jerome Felton was more polished than anything the Jets have at fullback now, but both Bilal Powell and Matt Forte make for an excellent NFL one-two punch at the position.

Dec 27, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) turns with the ball during the fourth quarter as San Francisco 49ers inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman (53) looks on at Ford Field. Lions win 32-17. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Wide Receiver

Advantage Lions:

When a guy named Megatron is in the mix, it’d be tough to beat it. Sure, the Jets have young, deep talent, but it’s no match for the Lions’ foursome listed above.

December 31, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Clemson Tigers tight end Jordan Leggett (16) against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2016 CFP semifinal at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Tight End

Slight Advantage Jets:

Dan Campbell, as most remember as a member of the Dallas Cowboys, was nothing more than a glorified run-blocking right tackle. Though it’s close, the Jets receive the edge based on upside alone.

Dec 11, 2016; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars tackle Kelvin Beachum (68) sits on the bench after a game against the Minnesota Vikings at EverBank Field. The Minnesota Vikings won 25-16. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive Line

Slight Advantage Jets:

You could easily argue the advantage for either side on this one. Jeff Backus, while a mainstay in Detroit for more than a decade as a first round selection, never made a pro bowl. Dominic Raiola and Stephen Peterman were also both Detroit mainstays who never reached the heights of the pro bowl.

For the Jets, Kelvin Beachum is the new semi-big-money man. He’s with talent, but has yet to reach that full potential in the minds of many. James Carpenter is a Super Bowl champ, Brian Winters is climbing the NFL guards leaderboard and Brandon Shell is coming off a “zero hurry” three-start rookie season.

Based on upside alone, Jets receive the nod, but it can easily go either way.

Dec 11, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; New York Jets defensive tackle Leonard Williams (92) celebrates with defensive end Sheldon Richardson (91) after Richardson’s tackle against the San Francisco 49ers during the fourth quarter at Levi’s Stadium. The New York Jets defeated the San Francisco 49ers 23-17. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Interior D-Line

Great Advantage Jets:

What’s funny is that despite many labeling this depth chart as the worst in the NFL, the squad’s interior defensive line unit remains one of the very best. Leonard Williams, Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson take a backseat to no unit in the NFL, despite how messed up the integrity of the defense becomes when all three on the field at the same time.

January 7, 2017; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril (56) reacts after bringing down Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) during the first half in the NFC Wild Card playoff football game at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports


Solid Advantage Lions:

Even though it was Cliff Avril’s rookie season and he only started four games, he’s the reason the Lions edge play outranks the Jets current group. For the Jets to surprise this season, somebody among this crop will need to stun us.

Dec 17, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets outside linebacker Darron Lee (50) celebrates after stopping the Miami Dolphins on the goal line at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports


Advantage N/A:

We just cannot make the call on this one. Ernie Sims enjoyed a nice start to his NFL career, but by the time he was 29-years of age, he was out of the league. The advantage here will be determined by the progress or lack thereof of second-year man Darron Lee.

Oct 17, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; New York Jets cornerback Juston Burris (32) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


Solid Advantage Jets:

Much like the edge spot, corner is also desperately thin. Guess what, though? It’s still not as horrific as the 2008 Lions.

Look at the names on that Lions roster at the corner spot. It’s downright horrifying. At least the Jets have a known commodity in Morris Claiborne, a solid nickel in Buster Skrine and a few youngsters on the come.

May 23, 2017; Florham Park, NY, USA; New York Jets safety Jamal Adams (33) runs a drill during their organized team activities at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports


Great Advantage Jets:

It simply does not matter that Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye are rookies. Of course, they’ll struggle. We all understand this. But both are extremely talented and it’ll show immediately.

Look at Detroit’s safeties. It’s a sad state of affairs.

Special Teams

Slight Advantage Lions:

The Lions grab the slight advantage in the special teams category (kicker, punter and long-snapper only) thanks to veteran Jason Hansen who was money at home.

Final Thoughts

When analyzing both rosters, it’s not even close. It’s not even a contest and this Lions team came within the last 10 years, thus destroying the unnamed executive who Daniel Jeremiah so easily regurgitated on Twitter.

The only spots the Jets definitely lose in are at the edge, the wide receiver (thanks to Calvin Johnson) and special teams (just barely).

Likewise, there are several current NFL depth charts who rival New York’s ineptness (i.e. San Francisco 49ers, San Diego Chargers, Chicago Bears, Washington Redskins).

All we can say for sure at this moment is the Jets current personnel as a whole isn’t good. It looks to be in the bottom third of the league and thanks to the lack of talent and extraordinary weakness at the QB spot, they have no chance of the 2017 NFL Playoffs.

Claiming anything more disastrous than that is foolhardy.

The final story of the 2017 New York Jets will come down to development, strategy and certain breaks along the way.

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Robby Sabo is a co-founder, CEO and credentialed New York Jets content creator for Jets X-Factor - Jet X, which includes Sabo's Sessions (in-depth film breakdowns) and Sabo with the Jets. Host: Underdog Jets Podcast with Wayne Chrebet and Sabo Radio. Member: Pro Football Writers of America. Coach: Port Jervis (NY) High School. Washed up strong safety and 400M runner. SEO: XL Media. Founder: Elite Sports NY - ESNY (Sold in 2020). SEO: XL Media. Email: robby.sabo[at]