New York Jets
Leonard Williams is a budding star for the New York Jets and they should thank their lucky stars they have him. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

The New York Jets were better than expected in 2017 after winning 6 games despite the perception around the league that the franchise was trying to tank. The weird part is that they actually got the best quarterback in the draft but had to trade up to acquire him (Sam Darnold). Todd Bowles has proven to be a competent head coach and the defense actually played pretty well under his regime. With so many teams down in the AFC, could the Jets actually make a surprise run towards the playoffs? What can we expect from the New York Jets in 2018 as the team opens up training camp?

3 Position Battles To Watch:

1. Left Tackle: Antonio Garcia, Kelvin Beachum

Kelvin Beachum started for the Jets at left tackle last year and by all accounts was pretty awful. We kinda know what we’re getting from Beachum at this point which is at best case an average veteran. Antonio Garcia is a nice gamble play by the Jets picking him off of waivers from the Patriots. Antonio Garcia was drafted by the Patriots a year ago but never played because of injury. He has a nasty streak to him and could develop into a good tackle but needs to develop.

2. Tight End: Jordan Leggett, Clive Walford, Chris Herndon

Austin Seferian-Jenkins actually did a nice job for the team a year ago but now will go with a trio of young guys to man the position. Jordan Leggett was drafted a year ago in the fourth round and didn’t record a catch. Clive Walford was a guy I was enamored with but really never panned out in Oakland. Chris Herndon was a draft pick this year and I’m not too high on. I’m interested to see if anyone grabs the position.

3. Quarterback: Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater, Josh McCown

I’m facinated to see how early the Jets go to Sam Darnold. I think he’s the best QB in the class but this offensive line is bad. Is it beneficial to let him learn behind Josh McCown for just a few games? Maybe, then again if he’s ready to play now just throw him out there. Carson Wentz proved that theory works just fine. Teddy Bridgewater is the real wildcard here. We just don’t know if he’s healthy but there’s no question he has the talent to be a starter in the league. The preseason should forecast who starts week one.

Ready To Breakout: Leonard Williams

Leonard Williams is going to be a top 5 defensive lineman in the league. I truly believe this. Williams took a bit of a step back this past season after notching 7 sacks in the three technique spot as a rookie. Williams constantly creates pressure and is slowly becoming a force. Expect year three to be the year that Leonard Williams really takes off. As the Jets get good again, Williams is going to be the face of that defense and it’s hard not to miss the guy with the huge hair creating havoc.

Rookie To Watch: Parry Nickerson

Parry Nickerson is a quick slot corner who fills an important role. It’s impossible to have too many corners and the Jets have a good stable of them going. Morris Claiborne and Trumaine Johnson are a good one-two punch. Nickerson looked really good at the Senior Bowl and showed off incredible speed (4.32) during the pre-draft process.

AFC East 2018 NFL Draft Grades: Jets Win, Bills Roll The Dice

Fantasy Sleeper: Isaiah Crowell

Isaiah Crowell was actually pretty productive considering he was stuck in Cleveland during his brief career. We forget how good Crowell was at Georgia and ran for 4.8 yards per carry two years ago. I’m all for investing in a guy after he gets away from Cleveland. Plus, no one is worried about Bilal Powell stealing his touches. Crowell is also the goal line guy so that’s a plus.

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