Expectations for the New York Jets are much higher entering the 2019 NFL season than they have been in recent years. A myriad of factors, such as a new regime leading the team, and the addition of prized players such as Le’Veon Bell, have led to fans expecting a team that competes for a playoff spot. These expectations are rightfully lofty for the type of moves the team has made. The discrepancies of expectations exist when discussing individual players. While many of these expectations are reasonable, there are some that have been set too low. Here are three players who will exceed expectations for the 2019 New York Jets.
Players Who Will Exceed Expectations for the 2019 New York Jets
Brian Winters – Guard
It is no secret offensive line is one of the team’s weakest position groups heading into 2019. The addition of Kelechi Osemele will certainly help shore up the interior. Still, there are question marks that exist all over the offensive line.
One player who should be garnering more respect is right guard Brian Winters. Winters has missed quite a few games during his tenure with the Jets and spent some of his time on the field battling through injury. Yet fans should be encouraged by the fact that Winters is healthy and ready to play the 2019 season. He has shown prowess as a run blocker in his time on the field, and now being able to focus on his game should also boost his talent. Grading out as the number 34 guard in football during the 2018 campaign, Winters should improve on this ranking in 2019 and create a fun one-two punch at the guard position for Gang Green.
Quincy Enunwa – Wide Receiver
Robby Anderson and Jamison Crowder have attracted much of the attention when discussing the Jets 2019 receiving corp. While both of these players are set up for an intriguing 2019, one player being overlooked is Quincy Enunwa.
Early 2018 was all about the former Nebraska receiver, as Enunwa was consuming a 28 percent target share in the first quarter of the 2018 NFL season. Things derailed a bit, as injuries to Enunwa opened the door for Robby Anderson to eat into his targets and develop a rapport with Sam Darnold. Still, fans have reason to be excited, as Enunwa is fully healthy heading into the 2019 season. Anderson will still be a threat to take targets, but Enunwa’s stellar run-after-catch ability will make him an extremely appealing target for Darnold. With another off-season for the quarterback and receiver to improve on their chemistry, Enunwa may be in for a career year in 2019.
Leonard Williams – Defensive End
When Leonard Williams was drafted in 2015, he was supposed to be the final piece of a devastating defensive line. Now, with the departure of Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson, Williams is all that remains. Among the Jets fanbase, the biggest gripe against Williams seems to be centered around his sack production. Williams’ designation as a defensive end is likely what spurs this dismay among fans. Yet, they should be inclined to remember that above all, Williams is an interior defender. This is not to say he can’t, and shouldn’t, produce against the pass (see Aaron Donald), but expectations should be tempered in this regard. Still, there is a reason to expect a large uptick in every facet of Williams’ game in 2019.
The driving force behind Williams’ projected production uptick in 2019 has very little to do with Leonard himself. In fact, it is the addition of rookie Quinnen Williams that will be the best asset Leonard gained this off-season. Make no mistake about it, Williams has been a disruptive force for the Jets despite his disappointing sack numbers. This is evident by the fact he ranked sixth among interior defenders in total pressures last year. Now keep in mind Williams had his best sack production in 2016 when Wilkerson and Richardson were both on the roster with him, and there is a reason to be excited for 2019. Williams is a more talented player than any of Leonard’s past linemates. As such, expect Leonard to have more room to operate. Thus, finishing plays and outplaying the low expectations he has heading into 2019.