This Jets offense is young but must improve from its 2020 finish. Who could start for Gang Green Week 1 against Carolina?
Last in total yards; last in scoring; second-to-last in passing; 23rd in rushing.
“Not ideal” is a sheer understatement when evaluating how the Jets offense finished last year. “Disastrous” would be a better term for the overall description.
Change is on the way though, and on paper, the Jets offense looks improved due to the acquisitions made in both free agency and the draft.
But the roster alterations on that side of the ball won’t mean anything if the offensive group doesn’t legitimately come together and perform.
It all starts Week 1 against the Carolina Panthers. Who could be taking the field for Gang Green to begin the game and start truly showing that definite improvements are en route?
QB — Zach Wilson
This one is a no-brainer.
The Jets traded Sam Darnold and subsequently drafted Zach Wilson at No. 2 overall this offseason. The organization doesn’t employ a veteran with notable experience who could initially start while Wilson sits on the bench — Zach will most definitely be under center to commence the year.
RB — La’Mical Perine
The running back position is tough, because the Jets may field a committee instead of choosing one of their options to be the legitimate lead back. But if there has to be one guy to take the first reps, it’s potentially La’Mical Perine.
Running back Michael Carter may be in a starting role at some point. Nonetheless, the coaching staff may wish to ease the 2021 fourth-rounder into the system. Tevin Coleman, on the other hand, might be more of a situational back and could be a productive component of different passing sets.
WR1 — Corey Davis
Another easy selection — the Jets didn’t sign Corey Davis to a three-year, $37.5 million contract for him not to be the team’s No. 1 wide receiver.
Davis is a productive target and should absolutely play a role in the important development of Zach Wilson.
WR2 — Elijah Moore
Reports state rookie Elijah Moore has been tremendous during OTAs. His versatility is certainly present — the second-round pick out of Ole Miss can play multiple positions and the staff will likely look to include him in the offense as much as possible.
WR3 — Keelan Cole
Denzel Mims and Jamison Crowder will find themselves in the mix, but Keelan Cole plays more to the modern style of the NFL. He’s that athletic slot receiver who can succeed in the yards-after-catch department.
Expect the Jets to provide Cole with an important role after signing him to a one-year, $5.5 million deal this offseason.
TE — Chris Herndon
Chris Herndon can be another offensive weapon to assist in the development of Zach Wilson and still carries the potential to be an overall productive target.
Herndon caught 31 balls for 287 yards and three touchdowns last year.
LT — Mekhi Becton
Mekhi Becton proved during his 2020 rookie campaign he was worth the No. 11 overall pick that year. He’s seemingly the Jets’ long-term answer at left tackle and there’s no way the coaching staff will look to take him away from that spot.
LG — Alijah Vera-Tucker
The Jets traded up to draft Alijah Vera-Tucker at No. 14 overall this year.
That investment is simply too significant not to start him.
Expect Vera-Tucker to play alongside a fellow first-rounder in Becton.
C — Connor McGovern
Connor McGovern started 16 games for the Jets last year and is essentially their best option for the center position. With that said, expect the staff to start him there at least to begin the regular season.
RG — Dan Feeney
The Jets may indeed want to stay on the younger side when it comes to the offensive line. The acquisition and potential subsequent starting of Dan Feeney (27 years old) at right guard would fit that ideology.
Feeney started 16 games on the interior of the offensive line for the Chargers each of the last three years and could beat out Greg Van Roten for this role.
RT — George Fant
George Fant was an offensive captain last year and is still the Jets’ most serviceable option at the right tackle position. He’s signed for two more years and could be a cap casualty after this coming season, but regardless of the contract situation, Fant starting at right tackle in 2021 is pretty certain as of this current moment.