Jets fans have received their fair share of lumps, but one thing I can give the Jets organization credit for is always giving the fans something to be optimistic about. The Jets seemed to be one of the least talented teams offensively in the last few years. Last year was the second year in a row where the Jets didn’t make the playoffs. However, as dismal as the team seems there are 5 reasons why the Jets have a shot at taking the AFC East. Here are the first two (these are in no particular order):
Reason #1: The Offensive Line is Much Improved
What I was most happy with about the Jets draft is how they spent all their late round picks on their offensive line after drafting quarterback Geno Smith to compete with Sanchez. This way, whoever wins the battle (should be Geno) will have time to make their proper reads
The Jets offensive line hasn’t been the same since releasing Alan Faneca in 2009. Reports out of Jets camp say that the team is very impressed with 3rd round draft pick, Brian Winters and 5th round defensive tackle to guard convert William Campbell. The team additionally picked up starters Willie Colon and Stephen Peterman who were starters at guard last year for the Steelers and Lions respectively. Although, those teams weren’t quite praised for their blockers, these are still start-able players with promising rookies competing to take over their jobs. The Jets at the very least, should have the depth to rotate and keep legs fresh on the offensive line which will vastly improve their offensive line’s consistency. Don’t forget that gang green still has two proven pro bowlers in the two most important spots on the line, Center (Nick Mangold) and Left Tackle (D’Brickashaw Ferguson).
Reason #2: Geno Smith is a Player to Be Optimistic About
I’ll admit I didn’t want the Jets to draft a QB at all. This was because I wasn’t 100% sold on anyone in this class and assumed anyone worth taking would be gone in the first round. But in the 2nd, after picking up 2 1st rounders, Geno is a fantastic pick and the Jets were lucky to have him available there.
Let’s also consider that there wasn’t a standout safety there with Elam, Reid, Cyprien and Vaccaro all off the board, nor a tight end worth taking with Eifert and Ertz gone. Even if Ertz was on the board, I would still rather take the QB everyone projected to be the jewel of this QB class (until one reporter – who was wrong with Cam Newton decided to give him a bad write up). A QB class would have to be exceptionally bad for there to be no prospects better than Mark Sanchez. Of the 2013 class, Geno is by far the best looking and safest prospect. Geno had a spectacular college career by the numbers, put up a solid combine and had an amazing pro day, there wasn’t a pass rushing linebacker in this class who had that trifecta. These are the three most important measurables to go by in a prospect, but it seems that a few bad words about him brought him down in everyone’s minds. I think of him in the same way I did before the negative reports (that aren’t based on anything tangible) and you should too. As a first rounder, he’s a risk for a team with so many needs, and only because of his West Virginia’s W/L record in the Big 12. But as a 2nd rounder, it’s hard to pass up the opportunity to give the best QB of the 2013 class a shot.
Let’s also look at the QB situation in Buffalo and Miami. Buffalo will be trusting in Kevin Kolb, Tavaris Jackson or EJ Manuel, who was a riskier pick than Geno for their QB needs. Miami is hoping for Ryan Tannehill to progress further. This should ease the minds of Jets fans. Only one team in the division doesn’t have a big “IF” at their QB position. Of these three players, Geno has the coaching advantage in Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and QB coach David Lee who are proven at developing talent at the QB position (see Michael Vick 2010). This makes the Jets a team with the best rookie QB prospect getting coached by some of the best QB coaches in the NFL. Not a horrible place to be for a team that last year had the worst quarterback play in the NFL since Jamarcus Russell was on the field for Oakland. Lastly, let’s also remember that John Idzik, the man who picked Russell Wilson in the 4th round last year, picked Geno Smith in the 2nd this year. Geno not only will win the starting job for the Jets, but has a good shot of being the 2nd best QB in the AFC East next year.