The New York Jets have made the offense the focal point so far this off-season. After finishing the 2020 season with a bottom-five offense in the league, Joe Douglas’s desire to do as much as he can to fix it is understandable. With that in mind, several young players can make a splash on defense. The expectations for the New York Jets defensive rookies are just as high as the expectations for the offense. If the Jets want to win games this season, they will need to rely heavily on their defensive rookies. Many of these rookies have expectations to meet if they want to be long-term starters. If these Jets rookies meet their expectations, the team can expect plenty of wins. As such, these defensive rookies are important to keep an eye on in the 2021 season.
Expectations for New York Jets Defensive Rookies
Jamien Sherwood was the first defensive pick for the New York Jets in the 2021 NFL Draft. Although he played safety collegiately, Sherwood will likely see playing time inside the box. During his time at Auburn, he proved he does not fear contact by tallying a total of 75 career tackles.
This means if Sherwood wants to see the field, playing inside the box (more like a dimebacker) is the most effective path to playing time. He could also make an immediate impact on the team as the Jets are still looking for players to fill some of their linebacker needs. If Sherwood can play that hybrid linebacker role, the Jets will have one less position to worry about in the future.
The cornerback position may be the most pressing need for the Jets at the moment. Currently, the only starter the Jets can arguably count on is Bryce Hall.
Hopefully, Jason Pinnock can change that. Now is the best time for the young corner to prove himself and possibly secure a starting job right out of the gate.
Pinnock has most of the traits you want in a starting corner. He has size, athleticism, and can contest passes at the high point. Lacking a veteran in the cornerback room, the Jets coaching staff is counting on one of the younger players to take on the second starting spot. Pinnock could very well prove to be the one. There will be significant pressure on the cornerback group to produce this season. Pinnock will have to make plays on the field and show why he belongs in this league.
Hamsah Nasirildeen could be a potential steal for the New York Jets. The safety out of Florida State only played in two games last season due to injury, which caused his draft stock to fall. Despite Nasirildeen’s fall down draft boards, Douglas decided to take a chance and thinks the rookie safety can return to peak form.
Just like Sherwood, Nasirildeen can also play a hybrid role on the defense. He has the size and tools to play inside the box and wreak havoc over the middle of the field and the athleticism to play a more traditional safety role. It might take some time for Nasirildeen to see snaps, but he can become someone who has a long-term spot on the team.
The expectations for the New York Jets defensive rookies are considerable this season. If one—or hopefully all—of these players can meet their expectations, the Jets will be in a much better position to win games this year than they have in recent seasons.
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