With only a matter of months until the 2022 NFL season begins, fans cannot wait to see professional football be played again. Free agency and the 2022 NFL Draft are in the rearview mirror, teams currently employ rosters of around 90 players. Yet, they will eventually carry just 53 into the season. For the New York Jets, the roster saw another revamp as the team continues to rebuild. With General Manager Joe Douglas at the helm, he has done everything in his power to field a talented team for Head Coach Robert Saleh this season. Now, let’s project who those players will be on offense this year.
New York Jets Roster Projection on Offense in 2022
Zach Wilson, Joe Flacco, Mike White
Zach Wilson has all eyes on him entering his second year. Looking to make that fabled year two jump, expectations are high for the BYU product. With new weapons and a revamped offensive line, 2022 is the chance to show his strong finish to his rookie season was no fluke. It begins with keeping turnovers to a minimum, as well as improving his 55.6 completion percentage in 2021. Once he does that, Wilson will make this offense a fun one.
Joe Flacco will continue to mentor Wilson from the backup position. Now his third season donning Gotham Green, Flacco has fit in well in the second-string role. Despite being 0-5 in his Jets starts, he has been effective to a tune of 57.4% of passes complete with nine touchdowns and just three interceptions.
Mike White may be younger than Flacco, but the difference in their experience is clear. White will forever be remembered for beating the eventual AFC Champion Cincinnati Bengals but battled injury and a horrid game against the Buffalo Bills before returning to the bench. In case of injury, it makes sense to keep White to maintain a three-man quarterback unit in 2022.
Michael Carter, Breece Hall, Tevin Coleman, Ty Johnson, Nick Bawden
Michael Carter is already a budding star after an impressive rookie campaign. One of the few bright spots of 2021, Carter totaled 964 yards from scrimmage in 14 games, flashing his playmaking ability whether rushing or receiving the football. In Offensive Coordinator Mike LaFleur’s committee backfield, Carter has the chance to shine once again in year two.
Breece Hall will take the mantel of the bruiser in the Jets backfield. Pairing with Carter to form a thunder-lightening type duo, Hall enters the NFL after ruling college football for the past few years. The 6’1” and 220-pound Iowa State product not only is an all-purpose back but one who can step in and make a big impact right out of the gate.
Tevin Coleman was a low-risk, high-reward signing last off-season by Joe Douglas. Coming off of the worst year of his career in 2020, he bounced back averaging 4.2 yards per carry in 11 games for Gang Green last year. Now entering his age 29 season, Coleman still has something left in the tank and is a great depth piece to have given his seven years of experience.
Ty Johnson is in line as the favorite to be the fourth running back on the Jets roster. Still just 24 years old, the 2019 6th-round pick has been a solid player with the Jets. He stood out down the stretch of 2020, though, and had plenty of ups and downs in 2021. Having spent two seasons with the team gives him a head start on promising undrafted free agent Zonovan Knight and the fading La’Mical Perine.
Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, Garrett Wilson, Braxton Berrios, Denzel Mims, Jeff Smith
Corey Davis was not a sure-thing number one receiver when he signed with New York last off-season. Rather, he is the big downfield outside target and veteran receiver the Jets desperately need. The oldest of the unit, even though he is only 27 years old, health remains Davis’ biggest issue. After hauling in just 34 receptions for 492 yards in nine starts last season, furthering his connection with Zach Wilson during a healthy camp is vital for the offense to succeed.
Elijah Moore on the other hand can be that number one guy. The 34th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft flashed his separation ability and elusiveness on his way to an impressive rookie season. He may have missed the final five games due to injury, but in the six games prior, Moore finally clicked with Wilson. From Week 8-13, Moore hauled in 34 catches for 459 yards and five touchdowns. Should that Moore return over a full season, the Jets have a Pro Bowl-caliber wideout on their roster.
Garrett Wilson is the x-factor in the receiving corps. The 10th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft may not be the biggest receiver, but possesses downfield speed, a fantastic catch radius, and the ability to pick up yards after the catch. Whether on the boundary or in the slot, the Ohio State product is capable of making an impact right out of the gate. Soon enough, Jets fans will be hearing plenty of Wilson-to-Wilson calls on Sundays.
Braxton Berrios re-signed with Gang Green after a breakout 2021 campaign. He earned the first-team All-Pro bid for return specialists and became a reliable threat on offense. The chemistry between Zach Wilson and Berrios was clear over the final weeks of the season, as the former New England Patriots draft pick has quickly become a fan favorite.
Denzel Mims enters a make-or-break training camp and pre-season with the Jets. Entering his third year, the Baylor product barely saw the field in 2021. When he did, the results were rather underwhelming. Nevertheless, there is hope for the former second-round pick to turn things around. Outside of Davis, New York lacks another lengthy receiver on the outside. Considering the encouraging reports from the Jets early off-season training periods, maybe Mims will get one more final shot in Gotham Green.
Jeff Smith rounds out the projected receiving corps for his fourth year in the NFL. While receiving consistent snaps on special teams, Smith has been relied upon at receiver often due to injuries. He may not be a big name to round out the corps, but with the downfield speed he possesses, the Boston College product could make his way onto the roster yet again in 2022
C.J. Uzomah, Tyler Conklin, Jeremy Ruckert
C.J. Uzomah won a Super Bowl this past season with the Bengals. Now, he looks to turn the tide in Florham Park, being one of the veteran leaders of a young Jets team. Playing a position that has been ignored by the Jets for over a decade, Uzomah fits the mold of what the team needs from their tight ends. An excellent blocker and big receiving threat over the middle who will form a great duo with…
Tyler Conklin plays a very similar game. Also, a good blocker, Conklin offers more as a receiver, and like Uzomah, is coming off of a career year catching the football. Playing his collegiate ball at Central Michigan, Conklin’s strong hands will give Zach Wilson a reliable safety blanket underneath who can pick up yards after the catch. Without a doubt, on paper, they form the Jets best tight end duo in years.
Jeremy Ruckert being a member of the unit is just a bonus. After signing both Uzomah and Conklin in free agency, the Jets scooped up the life-long Jets fan in Ruckert with the 101st overall pick this past April. Underused as a receiver at Ohio State, Ruckert is a good blocker who can be developed behind the veteran duo.
George Fant, Mekhi Becton, Conor McDermott, Max Mitchell
George Fant not only played some of the best football of his career in 2021, but he compared to some of the game’s best in pass protection. Due to injuries, Fant played the majority of last season at left tackle and now enters training camp fighting to retain the post. Rather than switching to the right side, Fant playing on the left side would certainly boost his value in a contract year.
Mekhi Becton will have something to say about that though. The mammoth left tackle could not get healthy, as playing, to begin with, is the goal. Whether that is at left or right tackle is what is in question once he is ready. Either way, with Becton’s athleticism and size, the boost he provides the offensive line is undeniable.
Conor McDermott steps in as the third tackle, with Morgan Moses having signed elsewhere in free agency. Over the past three seasons, McDermott has carved out a role as a versatile depth piece who can start from time to time. At the same time, with just six career starts in 35 games, don’t be surprised if the Jets look to upgrade here.
Max Mitchell falls into a similar situation as Ruckert. He possesses all the raw tools to be a solid starter, but there remains plenty of refinement to be done. Mitchell’s 6’6” and 297-pound frame combined with his athleticism could earn him a role early as a swing tackle.
Interior Offensive Line
Connor McGovern, Laken Tomlinson, Alijah Vera-Tucker, Nate Herbig, Dan Feeney
Connor McGovern is coming off of an underrated bounce-back season. After becoming a liability in both the run and pass game in 2020, McGovern graded out amongst the top ten centers in the game according to Pro Football Focus. The 29-year-old center certainly is not the best in the league, but if the Jets can get 2021 McGovern again, they should happily take it.
Laken Tomlinson is a major piece as to why the Jets could risk not taking a tackle early in the draft, or by sticking by McGovern. A Pro Bowl guard who has spent time with Mike LaFleur during his San Francisco 49ers days, Tomlinson plays a physical game and wants to set the stone off of the line of scrimmage. Adding him at left guard will go down amongst the Jets best moves this past off-season
Alijah Vera-Tucker is ready for a second-year jump. The USC product and 14th overall pick in 2021 started all 16 games he played as a rookie. There were some ups and downs, but overall, Vera-Tucker looked like a future Pro Bowl guard. Pairing him with Tomlinson will help McGovern along the interior. More notably, Tomlinson and Vera-Tucker have the potential to become one of the best guard duos in the NFL by season’s end.
Nate Herbig is another new addition to the interior offensive line. Added off of waivers from Joe Douglas’ old stomping ground of Philadelphia, Herbig has 17 starts in 37 career games over three seasons. His experience provides injury insurance for the Jets and another low-cost pickup that could pay off. For example, look at Laurent Duvernay-Tardif from last year.
Dan Feeney and his famed mullet return to Florham Park for 2022. With the ability to play both guard and center, his versatility proved useful last season when injuries arose. He may not be an every-week type starter, but for a depth piece, Feeney is the ideal backup lineman.
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