With the Fourth of July holiday upon us, it’s time to examine the five New York Jets who could create some fireworks in 2018.
These six players all are explosive in their own respects. From big play potential to bone-crushing hits, these are the guys who could light up opponents in 2018.
6. Sam Darnold
Call it a cop-out, but the Jets fan base will explode once Darnold sees the field this season. That counts, doesn’t it? But there’s an on-field reason why Darnold makes this list. First of all, the USC product presents more upside at quarterback than Josh McCown or Teddy Bridgewater.
Darnold is also an explosive playmaker. One of his best traits is his ability to make something happen even when a play breaks down. Sometimes that can be a 6-yard scramble, but at others it’s a 40-yard touchdown. Darnold has a knack for keeping plays alive, which allows receivers to get separation and find holes in the defense for monstrous gains.
The Jets are hopeful Darnold explodes on the scene immediately during his rookie season.
5. Parry Nickerson
Nothing screams explosive more than a blistering 40-yard dash time. Nickerson, New York’s 2018 sixth-round pick out of Tulane, had the fastest time and ran the drill in 4.32 seconds.
Nickerson is undersized and might take some time to develop, but he could be poised to be the nickel corner of the future for the Jets. He won’t have to worry too much about keeping up with receivers at the next level, as Nickerson has plenty of speed to rely on.
4. Marcus Maye
Maye is a gritty, in-your-face safety who isn’t afraid to go into the dirty areas to make a play. Maye can also light up ball carriers in the open field and finished fourth on the roster with 78 total tackles.
Maye also has hawkish ball skills and picked off two passes last season while defending six others. As Maye improves his anticipatory skills, he should become a disruptor on the back-end of New York’s defense. A few more takeaways are definitely in the cards for Maye in his sophomore season.
3. Leonard Williams
Williams needs to have a more explosive year than last, when he recorded only two sacks. The third-year pro out of USC is now the top dog on New York’s young defense. With Mo Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson out of town, 2018 could be Williams’ year to truly breakthrough.
Williams is an explosive interior pass rusher and should get to the quarterback with more regularity this season. He’s also been a handful during OTAs and minicamp. You can’t take too much stock into padless practices, but it’s encouraging to see Williams dominating early in the summer. He’ll need to be a force in the pass rushing department if this defense is to make any significant strides.
2. Jamal Adams
Like his running mate, Maye, Adams isn’t afraid to stick anyone. He’s also a constant trash-talker, no matter who he’s going up against.
Adams was everything as advertised during his rookie season, finishing third on the team with 82 tackles. The LSU product didn’t pick off a pass, but he forced a fumble and recovered two others and while serving as a frequent disruptor.
Together, Adams, Maye and Williams could transcend New York’s defense from young and inspiring to legitimate and dominating.
1. Robby Anderson
Anderson was New York’s deep ball star last season. The deep ball threat led the team with seven touchdown receptions and averaged 14.9 yards per reception. The lanky Anderson is adept at swiveling by opponents and finding daylight using his top-end speed. Six of Anderson’s seven touchdown receptions were of at least 24 yards, including scores of 69, 54 and 38 yards.
Anderson has some work to do as a polished route runner, but there’s no doubt he’s the guy when it comes to creating fireworks for New York’s offense.