Rookies Shine as Jets win Preseason Opener Against Jaguars
The Jets have won their preseason opener last night against the Jacksonville Jaguars in a game in which we saw a lot of promise from our rookies and defense that looks like it may need some work. Now this is only preseason and there's going to be a lot of hiccups. However, you would hope that the players you expect to perform well to follow it up. Here's a breakdown of the 2016 New York Jets draft class that played last night and its progress after two weeks of training camp.
Darron Lee, LB first round- According to head coach Todd Bowles Lee has "flashed quite a bit" in Thursday night's preseason opener. The undersized but speedy Linebacker recorded one sack and one tackle for loss which shows that he can make plays in space. However, he did disappear a few times in the land of the giants. That being said, I can see him in a more specific role for this team, not as a traditional inside linebacker yet.
Christian Hackenberg, QB, second round- The Jets are taking a long-term approach with Hackenberg, who needs to recalibrate after a very rough final season Penn State. His physical tool are there, but he still needs to work on his accuracy, especially on short and intermediate throws. Unfortunately Jets fans you will have to wait another week to see him play after not getting any reps last night.
Jordan Jenkins, OLB, third round- He has been showing a lot of promise throughout training camp, so I was excited to see what he could do against a different opponent. He was the only rookie to start the first game, which says something. Although he impressed throughout camp, he was relatively quiet only recording three tackles. The coaches like his ability to set the edge against the run and win one-on-one matchups as a pass rusher. I can see him being an opening-day starter.
Juston Burris, CB, fourth round: At 6-foot, He's a good fit in Bowles' press-man system because of his size and long arms. He has a knack for getting his hands on the ball, a trait he has displayed on the practice field. The big question is whether he has that catch-up speed. He definitely makes the 53 man roster and could possibly be a fourth or fifth corner.
Lach Edwards, P, sixth round: He's the only punter on the roster, so he'd have to really mess up for him to be cut. Edwards was solid in his debut, averaging 41.5 yards and putting two punts inside the 20. He's also the field goal and PAT Holder, an important job.
Charone Peake, WR, seventh round: I don't want to think ahead of myself here, but I think that the Jets may have found a rare late round gem. A product of Wide receiver U (Clemson), emerged last week in practice and followed it up at last night's game, finishing a team high four catches for 45 yards. He also made a fantastic, toe-tapping touchdown grab on a 17-yard throw from Geno Smith. Peake has the size and athleticism, all he really needs is technique refinement.
Although, there were a lot of hiccups during last night's game, there was some signs of promise from not only the rookies but from the vets as well. If they can bring it all together, there is no doubt in my mind that we could be in for a promising season.