When you look at this current New York Jets roster heading into 2023, it is loaded with a lot of big-name talent. Aaron Rodgers and Garrett Wilson headline the talent on offense and defense, it is Quinnen Williams and Sauce Gardner.
Today let’s give some much-needed attention to three underrated Jets on defense.
Most Underrated Jets on Defense Going into 2023
The New York Jets enter the 2023 season with one of the best secondaries in football, and it is headlined by the cornerbacks. Sauce Gardner is the biggest name of the three top cornerbacks for the Jets but D.J. Reed deserves a lot more attention. Reed signed a three-year contract with the Jets in the offseason of 2022 and to say he was a pleasant surprise last year is an understatement.
Last season D.J. Reed put up a career-high in tackles (80) and passes defended (12). When you compare D.J. Reed to other top cornerbacks in the NFL, he was statistically better in many categories. One of those being QB Rating allowed when targeted, Reed had allowed a QBR of (81.9). That was better than Jalen Ramsey (84.5), Darius Slay (83.9), and Trevon Diggs (86.1). Ramsey, Slay, and Diggs all went on to make the Pro Bowl last season and D.J. Reed did not. Reed will have another big opportunity this season against some of the best receiver duos in the NFL to prove and further show his ability.
The Williams family was getting paid this past offseason with both Quinnen and Quincy receiving new contracts to remain with the Jets. Quincy Williams has been one of Joe Douglas’ best finds after getting cut by the Jacksonville Jaguars in August of 2021. The Jets picked him up a few days later and he has been a very solid starting-caliber linebacker for the Jets.
In his two years in Jacksonville, he played a combined 18 games and had a combined 59 tackles. When you compare that to his two years with the Jets his production has seen a major increase. Williams has ranked second on the team in tackles each of the past two seasons with 110 in 2021 and 106 last year in 2022. Last season Williams also put up a career-high in sacks (three) and was tied for the team lead in tackles for loss (12) which was also a career-high and he was tied with his brother Quinnen Williams. Not only does Quincy Williams’ ability show in the box score it also shows on the field with his sideline-to-sideline speed.
You can throw Bryce Huff into two different categories an underrated category and an underutilized category. This has been another under-the-radar find for Joe Douglas, signing Bryce Huff as an UDFA out of Memphis in 2020. Although his snap count is minimal and he only plays primarily on third and fourth down his pass-rush ability is special.
Last season Huff appeared in 14 games after being inactive for the first three games of the 2022 campaign. In those 14 games, he made his mark, Huff’s pass-rush get-off was 0.67 seconds, the fastest of any player in the last five seasons. He also led the NFL in pass-rush win rate last season with a 25.6% win rate. Huff was able to do this even though he was only ninth among Jets defensive linemen in snaps. Pairing Bryce Huff with other edge rushers such as Carl Lawson, Will McDonald, Jermaine Johnson, and John Franklin-Myers will continue to be a main factor in the Jets’ defensive success.
Main Image: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports