With the regular-season opener just a day away, let’s discuss a trio of bold predictions for the New York Jets’ 2021 campaign.
It won’t all come to fruition right away in Florham Park.
But there will certainly be growing pains this coming year, which could lead to the Jets only winning around five or six games during the new 17-game regular season.
Fans must be patient, but that’s no reason to not be excited. There are still plenty of reasons to be intrigued by the 2021 version of the Jets, especially when you keep in mind what the future may potentially hold.
I predict many beneficial things could still happen for Gang Green this year — let’s discuss three of them.
1. The offensive line will be better than some think
The left side of the offensive line is young.
There is also a potential new starting right tackle in Morgan Moses, who the team acquired this past offseason.
There isn’t a great deal of continuity across the five-man unit, which is what you need to build effective chemistry.
But don’t worry — the Jets and general manager Joe Douglas have the right pieces in place.
Mekhi Becton is one of the top young left tackles this league has to offer and underwent a highly promising 2020 rookie campaign.
Alijah Vera-Tucker may undergo some growing pains but I don’t question a ton of the moves Douglas makes, and he must have seen something in him to be willing to trade up as a rebuilding franchise to draft him.
Connor McGovern, Greg Van Roten, George Fant, and Moses have additionally started a significant number of games in this league.
I don’t believe the coaching staff would put this much responsibility on rookie signal-caller Zach Wilson if it didn’t think the offensive line could at least be serviceable.
Have faith in the front five, Jets fans.
2. The LB corps will fare well despite the injury to Jarrad Davis
Jarrad Davis suffered an ankle injury during the preseason and commences the regular season on injured reserve. The Jets will hopefully return him around the Week 6 bye.
The team values Davis and planned for him to possibly start in the 4-3 scheme.
But don’t completely lose confidence in the unit just because of this one temporary setback.
C.J. Mosley is still healthy and will provide that veteran presence. Despite having played two combined games in the last two years, Mosley is still on the better side of 30 and can be a highly productive asset of this front seven.
His presence will additionally help the other two projected starting linebackers — rookies Hamsah Nasirildeen (sixth-rounder out of Florida State) and Jamien Sherwood (fifth-rounder out of Auburn). Blake Cashman is also in the mix.
This group has reliable bodies and will be provided assistance by a defensive line led by Quinnen Williams, Shaq Lawson, and Foley Fatukasi.
Don’t worry too much about the linebacking unit — it’ll be just fine.
3. Zach Wilson will impress the most of any first-round rookie QB
I think when you look at upside vs. offensive situation, Zach Wilson will be superior to the other four first-round rookie quarterbacks.
He possesses more talent than Mac Jones, is in a better situation than Trevor Lawrence, is more prepared to start than Trey Lance (right now), and is set to be an every-game starter this year unlike Justin Fields (at least at the moment).
I’ve said it before, the offensive situation for Wilson isn’t that bad at all. Corey Davis and Elijah Moore are expected to be talented receiving targets and the running back committee (Tevin Coleman, La’Mical Perine, Michael Carter, Ty Johnson) should take pressure off of Zach.
Not to mention, this is a promising offensive line that could continue to grow as time progresses.
Combine all that with Wilson’s talent, and you get a rookie out of BYU who could turn more heads than the other opening-round signal-callers.
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