As much as any team in the NFL, the New York Jets needed to walk out of the 2018 NFL Draft with a definitive long-term answer at the quarterback position. That’s why they traded up to the #3 spot in the draft, hoping one of the draft’s top prospects at the position fell to them. Whether you call it luck or skill, the Jets walked out of the draft with the guy whom most people believed was the best quarterback in the draft in Sam Darnold. I still believe Baker is the best, but that’s beside the point.
Now the question for the Jets is whether they’ll continue to afford this team with the patience to allow Darnold to develop, especially considering there are few interesting pieces for him to work with this year.
Quarterback: While Darnold was the headline acquisition of the offseason, the Jets keeping around Josh McCown was also very commendable. McCown’s 5-8 record as a starter last year won’t be the cause for any parades, but McCown represents the perfect “bridge” quarterback for Darnold — he can “keep the spot” warm as the immediate starter in the Jet’s offense (especially with his comfort in offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates’ offense), and serve as a mentor for Darnold (a big reason McCown was brought back). However, for the purposes of fantasy football, this entire situation is counterproductive, as it’s likely that neither player will start for more than half a season’s worth of games or so. If you’re in a strict redraft league, there’s almost no reason to look at this position.
Running Back: The Jets made one of the more underrated acquisitions of the offseason when they signed running back Isaiah Crowell, formerly of the Cleveland Browns. Crowell had over 1,000 combined yards for the winless Browns last year, and has run for at least 850 yards — and over 4.1 yards per carry — in each of the past two seasons. The 225lb back will be more of the hammer in the Jets’ offense (though he certainly has plenty of breakaway speed), while Bilal Powell will return as the Jets’ change of pace runner and pass catcher out of the backfield. The Jets actually have a lot of quality depth at the position, as the team is really high on Elijah McGuire, their 6th round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, and running back Thomas Rawls, who’s only two seasons removed from running for over 800 yards with the Seattle Seahawks.
Wide Receiver: New York won’t blow away many people with the names they have accumulated at wide receiver, but there are players here who can produce for the savvy fantasy football general manager. Wide receiver Robby Anderson seemingly came out of nowhere to catch 63 passes for 941 yards and seven touchdowns. Jermaine Kearse seemed like a “throw in” addition in the deal that sent Sheldon Richardson to Seattle, but he caught 36 passes for 486 yards over the last eight games of last year. Terrell Pryor was an under-the-radar signing for New York, but just one year ago, he looked virtually unstoppable in training camp for the Washington Redskins, before a nasty early-season foot injury derailed his entire year. And that’s not even mentioning Quincy Enunwa or ArDarius Stewart, two young and talented players for whom the Jets have a lot of hope.
Tight End: The Jets tight end situation is basically akin to dumpster diving. There’s Jordan Leggett, the 2017 NFL Draft pick who missed all of last year with a severe knee injury, and Clive Walford, a highly athletic tight end who never developed for the Oakland Raiders. Even Chris Herndon, the team’s fourth round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, was arrested for DWI this offseason, which will surely put him right in the coaches doghouse.