By Tyler McMullen @Direct_Snap on July 15, 2014
The New York Jets were quite competitive in 2013 after many pinned the franchise as the league's worst team to start the 2013 season. New York will look to compete for a playoff bid in 2014 after a very impressive offseason. The team has added offensive weapons and has added a ton of talent to Rex Ryan's already great defensive unit.
Here are the top 10 reasons why New York fans should be excited for the 2014 season.
Ford comes to New York after starring for the Oakland Raiders as one of the NFL's top return threats. The former Clemson Tiger brings a ton of speed to the table, but he's not much of a threat as a receiver due to inconsistent hands and a questionable understanding of the route tree. Look for Ford to remain as one of the NFL's best return threats this season.
Johnson was signed as a FA this offseason after the Tennessee Titans ended their shaky relationship with the speedy running back. The former 2,000-yard rusher looks to reincarnate his career in New York behind the team's beefed up offensive line. Johnson will team with Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell to give New York a formidable trio of running backs to help ease the pressure off Geno Smith's shoulders.
Smith played quite well down the stretch in 2013 after a disappointing beginning to his rookie season with the team. New York's second-round pick in 2013 will need to show promise this season with QB Mike Vick behind him waiting in the wings. Smith has a load of talent around him to help him out this season, but the former West Virginia QB has no reason to make excuses if he struggles in 2014.
Milliner struggled early on in his rookie season with the team, but turned it around in the final six games of 2013. Milliner will now fill Antonio Cromartie's shoes as New York's top corner. The former Alabama corner has the ability to become a legitimate shutdown corner in the NFL, but he still needs to refine his technique a bit. An improved pass rush and new stud safety will help Milliner out in his sophomore season.
Wilkerson became one of the NFL's best young 3-4 defensive ends in 2013 and helped keep the New York defense as one of the NFL's top run defenses. Wilkerson's combination of size, power and speed make him a legitimate force in New York's front-seven. If Wilkerson can take his game to the next level, he could be a scary force within the AFC. Wilkerson forms one of the NFL's top pass rush duos with the next guy on the list.
Richardson was arguably the top defensive rookie in 2013 after putting together quite a dominant season as a 3-4 DE. New York's prized 2013 first-round draft pick will enter the 2014 season with high hopes of becoming one of the NFL's most talked about defensive players. He and Wilkerson form one of the NFL's top pass rush duos and will give AFC East teams fits for the next ten-plus seasons.
Second-round pick TE Jace Amaro was arguably one of the best tight end prospects in the 2014 class and could have been a first-round pick. New York was happy to see Amaro fall into their lap in the second-round. Amaro will give the team a movable and versatile offensive player QB Geno Smith can rely on due to Amaro's strong and reliable hands. Look for Amaro to become a top red zone threat in his rookie season with New York.
Pryor could quite possibly be New York's best 2014 draft pick and should have an immediate impact for the Jets during his rookie season. The former Louisville safety will step in and start from day one for New York. Pryor is a classic ball-hawking, hard-hitting safety who will step up as a leader for the New York secondary this season. He could quite possibly be the best pure safety from the 2014 draft class.
The prized offseason signing for New York, Eric Decker will immediately become the alpha-receiver in the New York offense. Decker has been one of the NFL's best possession receivers during the past two seasons and will look to continue that trend as he becomes a team's No. 1 receiver for the first time in his young career. Whether or not Decker thrives in that role is dependent on the play of QB Geno Smith.
Rex Ryan was the coach of the year in 2013 for taking a seemingly helpless New York team, that everyone and their brother wrote off during the summer of as the league's worst team, and turning them into a 8-8 squad that just missed out on a playoff berth. Ryan is the ultimate motivator and will look to continue his success as a head coach in 2014. This season Ryan has a ton of young talent to work with, so 2014 should be incredibly exciting.
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