Jets Crowned NFL’s Best Team In This Important Category

Joe Douglas, Robert Saleh, New York Jets
NFL Analysis Network

The New York Jets are one of the most interesting teams to monitor heading into 2024, as they could be dark horse contenders in the AFC.

The Jets have a future Hall-of-Fame quarterback in Aaron Rodgers, improved offensive weapons and a stingy defense that ranked third in the NFL last season.

For now, let’s focus on the defense.

Pro Football Focus loves New York’s defense and has ranked its cornerbacks unit No. 1 in the NFL, noting the dominance of Sauce Gardner and the terrific supplementary help from DJ Reed and Michael Carter II.

The Jets boast a 91.5 overall grade and 92.5 coverage grade over the last two seasons, which represents the best mark in football.

Gardner is really the primary reason for New York’s suddenly dominant secondary.

The 23-year-old, who played his collegiate football at the University of Cincinnati, was selected by the Jets with the fourth overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft.

He enjoyed an incredible rookie campaign, playing in every game and racking up 75 tackles, a couple of interceptions and a league-leading 20 passes defended. He made the Pro Bowl and earned a First-Team All-Pro selection for his efforts.

Then, this past season, Gardner once again appeared in every contest and finished with 57 tackles, a forced fumble and 11 passes defended, earning himself another Pro Bowl selection and a second straight First-Team All-Pro nod. He didn’t log any picks, but that was because quarterbacks simply weren’t throwing his way.

Gardner never allowed a touchdown at Cincinnati, and he has only surrendered one score over the first two years of his NFL career.

At 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, Gardner possesses unusual size for a cornerback, which, combined with his athleticism, makes him one of the most dominant defenders in football.

The Jets went just 7-10 in 2023, thanks mostly to Rodgers tearing his Achilles in Week 1. But now, Rodgers is on the mend, and New York has bolstered its roster this offseason.

We’ll see if the Jets can end their NFL-worst playoff drought and return to the postseason in 2024.

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