For the first time since the 2019 NFL season, teams around the league are expecting stadiums full of fans on Sundays. As such, teams are well underway with their off-season programs, beginning to get a sense of the talent on their roster. They are getting to know which players are the leaders, both on and off the field, and can be turned to in the biggest of moments. For the New York Jets, these three players will embody the team in 2021.
Faces of the 2021 New York Jets
To be a quarterback in the Big Apple is one thing. Being a rookie second-overall pick is another. Yet, to be the man selected to turn a franchise around is a completely different animal. But new Jets starting quarterback Zach Wilson is more than ready.
While he has not taken a pro snap for the team, Wilson will be the main event on Sundays. During his time at BYU, he was a playmaking gunslinger who tore up opposing defenses. Already during OTA’s, his new teammates are impressed with the throws Wilson’s making. 2020 first-round pick left tackle Mekhi Becton said that “He’s going to be a problem. He’s really good. I’m excited about him.”
From the moment Wilson arrived at Florham Park, New Jersey, he has been developing into the best player he can be. He’s been studying new offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur’s system, building a connection with his new receivers, and preparing how to handle the New York media scene.
Obviously, time will only tell if Wilson will wind up being “the guy” to lead the Jets turnaround. Nevertheless, with Wilson being at the center of the Jets latest rebuild attempt, he is the face of the team in 2021.
Another former Jets first-round pick, defensive tackle Quinnen Williams is an absolute delight. He is beloved by the fan base. He has all the talent in the world to be one of the top defensive linemen in the entire league. And now, he is going to have the chance to be the face of their bright, young defense.
Under new head coach Robert Saleh and defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich, the Jets will be running a 4-3 scheme – which is Williams’ best fit. With the additions of Carl Lawson, Sheldon Rankins, and more, he will get to use this athleticism to wreak havoc up the middle.
When talking about Williams, Ulbrich said “I’m very excited to see him unhinged, to do the stuff he was born to do.” Yes, having C.J. Mosley back is going to benefit the Jets drastically. However, nobody can impact the Jets season from every aspect more than “Q”.
As Wilson and Williams lead the Jets into the new era, Marcus Maye has stuck it through the Jets rebuilding process. He may have been the second safety taken by Gang Green in 2017, but he certainly is among the fan’s favorite players. Maye gives it his all week in and week out, contributing to every aspect of the game.
The Florida product is set to play under a franchise tag, though both sides hope to reach an extension. At first, some were concerned he may hold out. Except all concerns disappeared once he showed up to mandatory minicamp this week.
And at the perfect time too. Again, the Jets are entering the Saleh era, and need older, experienced players to take charge. Maye will be the quarterback of the defense’s backend, guiding a young cornerback unit on the boundaries.
There are 53 players who will be on the 2021 New York Jets roster. Each player has their own role, whether starter or special teams’ contributor. Nonetheless, should these three players continue to grow during Saleh’s first year, Jets fans are going to have plenty to be excited about going forward.
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