2019 New York Jets Preview: Safeties

Jets Safeties
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Prior to the 2017 NFL season, former New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan made nine selections in the draft. Of those nine, five remain on the roster, and three are on the bubble, leaving just two players left as locks. Those two? None other than safety tandem of Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye.

The Jets enter 2019 with one of the top safety pairings in the entire league. That being said, in this edition of the 2019 New York Jets Preview series, let’s take a look at who will be joining Adams and Maye in Gang Greens strongest position group.

2019 New York Jets PreviewsQuarterbacks – Running Backs – Wide Receivers/Tight Ends – Interior Offensive Line – Offensive Tackles – EDGE Rushers – Interior Defensive Line – Linebackers – Cornerbacks

2019 New York Jets Preview: Safeties

The Starters: Jamal Adams (SS) and Marcus Maye (FS)

The Good

Almost everything. They can stop any run game in its tracks. They will bat down any pass in their direction. Force fumbles. Interceptions. Rush the passer. Name it and this dynamic duo will do it.

The former sixth overall pick back in 2017, Adams made his first Pro Bowl this past season after a solid sophomore campaign. Adams has never missed a start in his young career and is the voice of this team. After being ranked the fourth highest-graded of all safeties by Pro Football Focus at 89.7, Adams should contend for First-Team All-Pro honors in 2019.

While Adams does most of the talking, it cannot be understated the value Maye adds to this team. After an up and down rookie campaign, Maye pieced it together in 2018 – aside from his 104-yard interception that he was tackled a yard shy of the endzone. Ranked the 10th highest graded safety at 81.7, Maye displayed great discipline, ability to rush the passer, and more confidence in his play.

This is a rather young duo, Adams being 23 and Maye 26, yet they already play as if entering their prime. The rest of the league should be on notice when facing this pair.

The Bad

Now it is somewhat difficult to find something wrong with such a great duo. Just think of the Seattle Seahawks’ Legion of Boom, with Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. They helped lead that team to the Super Bowl while becoming some of the faces of the franchise.

That applies to Adams and Maye.

Through fantastic play and chemistry, it is hard to knock these two down or to catch them slipping up. That gives reason to believe that one day, they could even be on the level of play that Thomas and Chancellor were.

Now, what can stop that from happening?

If they see the same result that led to the doom for the Legion of Boom… injuries. After both remained healthy throughout their rookie seasons, Maye struggled to stay on the field in 2018. Maye dealt with an ankle injury following 2017 that caused him to miss the first three games of 2018. After jumping in and showing tremendous progress in his development, he broke his thumb Week 7 before eventually going on injured reserve in December, ending an injury-plagued season.

If Maye and Adams are able to stay healthy in 2019, and really throughout their careers, they could become a dominating tandem for years to come.

The Backups: Doug Middleton and Rontez Miles

The backup slots to Adams and Maye appear set with Rontez Miles and Doug Middleton likely returning as the backups in 2019.

The under herald Miles is set to enter his seventh season with Gang Green. After nearly losing his leg back in 2014, he has established himself to be more than a special teams playmaker. A solid backup, Miles’ experience and consistency will be valuable to Gregg Williams in three safety sets.

The fourth safety spot is less of a lock, but Middleton currently has the inside track. Entering his fourth season out of Wake Forest, Middleton has seen an increasing role with the Jets. This being in part due to injuries to Maye and Miles in 2018. He played quality football when called upon in his four starts, splitting time with Darryl Roberts as Adams’ running mate.

The Bubble: Brandon Bryant and Santos Ramirez

The bubble for this position is clear with Brandon Bryant and Santos Ramirez. Bryant was on the practice squad in 2018 after being undrafted in last year’s supplemental draft. While he played against the Patriots in the season finale, he’ll need a strong camp and preseason to have a shot at Middleton’s roster spot. The same goes for rookie Santos Ramirez. Undrafted from Arkansas, Ramirez is a great box safety against the run but has ways to go elsewhere. Both should be practice squad candidates if they fail to make the roster.

Overall Recap of the New York Jets Safeties

Out of all the positions that the series has covered, safeties are easily the Jets strongest of all the position groups. Adams and Maye hold the keys to the success of their tandem and will play a huge role in the success of Gregg Williams’ defense. Miles and Middleton should once again appear in reserve roles and be pleasant surprises in their play as the third safety on the field.

Stay tuned for the next article in the 2019 New York Jets Preview series as it is time to take a look at the special teamers!

2019 New York Jets PreviewsQuarterbacks – Running Backs – Wide Receivers/Tight Ends – Interior Offensive Line – Offensive Tackles – EDGE Rushers – Interior Defensive Line – Linebackers – Cornerbacks

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