The New York Jets start their 2021 season this Sunday in Carolina with a lot of new faces. First off, the Jets brought in Robert Saleh as head coach along with a completely new coaching staff. Mike LaFleur is getting his first chance to be an offensive coordinator in the NFL. The biggest difference for the Jets is the large amount of rookies brought in over the offseason. The Jets had a large draft class along with bringing in a few undrafted free agents. The following rookies have the opportunity to make an immediate impact this season for the Jets.
Zach Wilson was guaranteed to be the starter for the Jets after he was drafted second overall in April and with no competition in camp. He already is surrounded with more talent than Sam Darnold ever was while in New York. That talent includes an improved offensive line, many high-upside wide receivers and a well rounded running back committee. Wilson has incredible arm ability, great awareness and the ability to move well outside the pocket. Zach has all the makings of a potentially elite quarterback and will be a candidate for offensive rookie of the year this season. Wilson’s impressive preseason has tons of analysts and fans excited. He did well on third downs and continuously moved the chains while making challenging throws look easy. Many Jets fans believe he is the quarterback the team has been looking for all these years.
The Jets used the 34th overall pick (second round) on Moore, a speedy elusive wide receiver from Ole Miss, in hopes of providing a top weapon for Zach Wilson. Moore’s best ability is his route running, where he is elite at getting open. He will have to share time with Jamison Crowder in the slot, which isn’t good for his production. Crowder will be missing the Jets week one game against the Panthers so Moore has a chance to prove himself early on. Elijah Moore is a sleeper candidate for offensive rookie of the year, something that is difficult for a wide receiver to win. If he makes a huge impact he could be in the conversation.
After drafting Mekhi Becton 11th overall in the 2020 draft, the Jets wanted to continue to overhaul the offensive line. They traded up from 23rd to 14th overall to draft the versatile guard from USC. The Jets front office loved Vera-Tucker’s skillset so they felt comfortable giving up two third round picks to get him. Vera-Tucker will help protect Wilson and give him time in the pocket. The left side of the Jets offensive line will definitely be one of their strengths with the addition of AVT. He will be a difference maker in both the pass and run game.
Isiah Dunn, Brandin Echols, Jason Pinnock and Michael Carter II are all Jets rookie cornerbacks. All of these players have a chance to make a difference for the team due to a lack of veteran presence. In the beginning of the season there will be a rotation of players to see who can succeed the most with Bryce Hall, a second year player who is a permanent starter. There will be a lot of learning opportunities as well as growing pains. The Jets will look to come out of this season with one of those rookies developing into a starting caliber cornerback.
The Jets will open the season this Sunday on the road against the Carolina Panthers at 1:00 pm EST. Look out for these rookies making their NFL debuts this week and throughout the season.