Thursday, July 30, 2015

New York Jets take low-risk flier on WR Austin Hill

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The Jets signed undrafted rookie wide receiver Austin Hill late Monday night and will head to this week’s training camp with 13 wideouts on the roster. Only Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, Jeremy Kerley and Devin Smith are guaranteed roster spots, however, which makes anybody the Jets sign with talent at the position a possibility to make the team.

Hill showed off his talent by posting an 81-catch, 1,364-yard, 11-touchdown season as a sophomore at Arizona in 2012. Unfortunately for the 6-2, 214-pound rising star, Hill tore his ACL in spring practices, missed the entire 2013 season and didn’t look fully healthy in his return as a senior, catching just 49 balls for 635 yards and four scores.

Most athletes rarely return to 100 percent in their first year back from ACL surgery, however, so there’s hope that Hill can recoup most of his previous athleticism. While a return to the heights he enjoyed as a sophomore isn’t likely, especially after failing a physical that kept him from signing with the Seahawks right after the draft, it’s possible that time will gradually allow Hill to make it back from the injury.

Read the rest at Pro Football Spot

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Over/under projections for the New York Jets' defense

After taking a look last week at fair projections for the Jets’ offensive skill players, it’s time to see what kind of numbers could be in store on the defensive side of the ball. Defensive stats endure far more variance than offensive numbers, so picking over/unders is a much more difficult proposition.

Muhammad Wilkerson: 70 solo tackles, 8 sacks
Sheldon Richardson: 55 solo tackles, 6 sacks

Richardson is set to miss the first four games of the 2015 season on suspension, but he still has a great chance to make an impact on the Jets’ defense upon his return. In addition, Leonard Williams has been picking up the defense quickly and should fill in just fine, although he certainly won’t have the same impact as a pass rusher. Since it’s difficult to tell what Williams’ role will be upon Richardson’s return, no projections were included for the rookie. For more on how Richardson’s suspension affects the defense, here’s my breakdown from a few weeks ago.

As for Wilkerson, he was on a 16-game pace for around 70 tackles and seven sacks last season while playing 13 games with Richardson on the other side. Richardson’s absence may lead you to believe those numbers would skyrocket, but there are a few reasons that’s unlikely. With Williams filling in opposite Wilkerson over the first four games, teams are likely to attack that side of the field with the run. Wilkerson will also get more double teams over the first four games, and while he may be able to add an extra sack or two without Richardson getting to the quarterback quicker, that impact could be offset by the added attention.

The free-agent-to-be will be highly motivated to put in a productive season, however, which could lead to some inflated stats in a contract year. If Richardson isn’t in peak shape by the time he returns, Wilkerson will benefit from less attention while also being the better player and providing additional pass rush while Richardson catches up.

Read the rest at Pro Football Spot

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Over/Under projections for New York Jets' skill players

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With training camp right around the corner and the only NFL props available relating to team wins and Offensive Rookie of the Year odds, there are no true statistical “expectations” set for Jets players. That means it’s time to take a stab at some potential projections, and whether to take the over or the under.

Geno Smith: 3,300 passing yards, 16 TD, 14 INT, 300 rushing yards

In his first two NFL seasons, Geno Smith has struggled to make the adjustment to the NFL. In 30 games, he’s thrown for 5,571 yards, 25 touchdowns and 34 interceptions, while adding 604 yards on the ground. As a result, it’s difficult to pin down exactly what to expect from Smith this season. He has a vastly improved set of skill players around him, as well as an offensive coordinator in Chan Gailey whose spread tendencies will play to Smith’s strengths, as he excelled in Dana Holgorsen’s wide-open offense at West Virginia.

On the other hand, Smith is entering a make-or-break season with a veteran behind him in Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick lacks the potential to take the Jets to the Super Bowl, but his steady hand and prior success under Gailey’s tutelage means that any long-term struggles from Smith could lead to a quarterback change. That makes it difficult to set a prop for Smith, despite the coaching staff already naming him the starter for the season opener.

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Monday, July 6, 2015

How Sheldon Richardson's Suspension Affects Every Jets' Position Group

By n
Photo credit: CBS Sports
ow, everybody has certainly heard about Sheldon Richardson’s four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. Everybody has also heard about how drafting Leonard Williams sixth overall has been further justified – like it somehow wasn’t already – and how Muhammad Wilkerson now has some extra leverage in long-term contract discussions. While all of that is certainly true, the reality of the situation is that Richardson’s suspension doesn’t just affect Wilkerson and Williams.

The Jets entered this season with hopes of being a top-five NFL defense, and legitimate reason to believe they could be the league’s best. Richardson’s suspension, while not a death blow to the team’s defensive line due to their impressive depth up front, will surely impact a group of linebackers that is average, at best, along with the team’s revamped secondary. Let’s take a look at how missing Richardson will affect each level of the defense.

Defensive Line

The defensive line, while feeling the most direct impact from losing arguably its best player, may actually be the group least affected by Richardson’s suspension thanks to the presence of Williams. Defensive ends that stand 6-5, 302 pounds with 34 5/8-inch arms and run sub-5.00 40-yard dashes don’t come along often; Williams is a freak. What he isn’t is an explosive pass rusher like Richardson, as Williams had just 20 sacks in his final three seasons with USC, including seven as a senior.

Read the rest at Pro Football Spot