The New York Jets are coming off of a disappointing season, failing to even make the postseason. This was a stark contrast to the two prior seasons, in which the Jets reached the AFC Championship in both years. The combination of a playoff-less season and the New York Giants winning another Super Bowl has forced head coach Rex Ryan to drop his talkative attitude.
The 2011 season statistics don't lie, especially ones like opponents sacking quarterback Mar Sanchez 40 times. Without a strong offensive line, Mark Sanchez was either sacked or rushed into making poor decisions, resulting in 18 interceptions last season. On the other side of the ball, the Jets defense was clearly not the same as it was the past two seasons when they were one of the hardest hitting and feared teams in the league. In 2011 the Jets allowed opponents to rack up 4993 offensive yards and often go down the field with ease.
The Jets have done a good job of attaining notorious player this offseason, including quarterback Tim Tebow and defensive lineman Quinton Coples, but they've also managed to quietly acquire quality players for low prices. Between trades, free agency, and the draft, here are five players the Jets have picked that have gotten little, if any hype.
Brett Roy, defensive tackle: Undrafted out of the University of Nevada, Roy had a stellar senior season with the Wolf Pack, including an impressive 18.5 tackles for losses. Roy was in serious contention to win the 2011 WAC Defensive Player of the Year, and gained attention as a top defensive line prospect for the 2012 NFL Draft. Despite the pre-draft hype, Roy slipped past the seventh round, and was picked up by the Jets. Expect Roy to compete for playing time behind defensive tackle, Sione Pouha, who recorded only one sack last season.
Robert Griffin, offensive lineman: Hailing from Baylor University, Griffin was often confused with his more notable teammate, Robert Griffin III, the Heisman Trophy winner. But the Baylor lineman made a name for himself, including earning All-Big 12 honors his senior year. The Jets took Griffin in the 6th round and expect him to play guard, but may be utilized as a tackle due to the pitiful play of right tackle Wayne Hunter last season.
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Royce Pollard, wide receiver: Pollard had a successful senior season at the University of Hawaii, totaling over 1000 yards and reeling in eight touchdowns for the Warriors. He does not possess blistering speed, clocking a 4.52 second 40-yard dash, but has an excellent vertical jump that gives him the ability to reel in jump balls. After being picked up by the Jets as an undrafted free agent, Pollard's ability to make the opponent miss can earn him a spot off the bench to support projected starters Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill.
Demario Davis, linebacker: The Jets linebacker core is aging, and did not have the most productive 2011-12 season. To help support Bart Scott and company, the Jets selected Davis in the third round in April's draft. Davis was a three-year starter at Arkansas State and made the first team All-Sun Belt. The Jets took a liking to Davis because of his versatility and leadership, considering him as an important piece to revamping their aging defense. Davis will most likely come off the bench to support Scott, David Harris, Calvin Pace, and Aaron Maybin. He will prove to be a valuable asset to their linebacker core in the future, and certainly possesses potential to make some noise in his rookie season.
Yeremiah Bell, safety: The former Miami Dolphin's starting safety was added to the Jets secondary via free agency, along with LaRon Landry. Bell has been in the league for eight years and has been a productive starter for most of his career. With more than 100 tackles recorded in each of the past four seasons, Bell will bring veteran leadership to a shaky safety crew of Landry and Eric Smith The seasoned defensive player will most likely rotate between Landry and Smith, providing a solidified crew at the position. This gives the Jets three safeties with starting potential, allowing much more versatility than last season. If the Jets can once again figure out Darrelle Revis' contract situation, their secondary will rank among the best in the NFL.