[Chart last updated: 6/30/14… See update notes from 6/30/14]
• If we were basing Geno Smith on his last two games alone, he’d be higher than a Below Average Starter. He finished the season strong after a middle stretch of the season where he really struggled, but we need to see more than that small sample before bumping him up a step or two.
• So if we need to see more of Smith, why have we opted for yellow for fellow second-year player Dee Milliner? Well, while he had his struggles, he finished the year with just four games with a grade of -1.0 or lower. The last quarter of his rookie year stood out, and if he can continue to perform like that in Year 2, the Jets will be delighted with the return from their investment.
• Despite having 11 sacks in 2013, Calvin Pace didn’t have as impressive a season as a pass rusher as you might think. That’s because he had just 35 total pressures throughout the season but more importantly, his work against the run has dipped in the past two years, something which should concern Jets fans about how much he can actually help defensively at this stage.
• Dimitri Patterson is an interesting player to look at. His work in the slot is enough for us to have him light green, but that wouldn’t be the case if he was being asked to cover on the outside. How the Jets use him will be key in determining how good a free agency addition this was.
1. Wide Receiver
Jets fans are passionate about this battle, and I’ve already had tweets telling me that Stephen Hill won’t start, and that’s before this was even posted! Were it up to me, that would very much be the case, but the Jets have given Hill plenty of chances up to this point, so it remains to be seen if they are quite ready to give up on him. David Nelson will be his primary competition and, while he doesn’t quite look like a top receiver, he has been nothing but solid since entering the league, something he has over Hill.
Will this be a battle this offseason? Or, perhaps more importantly, should it? There’s no denying that Vick has shown a higher level of play than Smith on the balance of his career, but at this stage does he really make them so much better that it’s worth potentially messing with Smith’s development? Perhaps this will be dependent on how Smith performs throughout the offseason, but if it were up to me he would be starting the season under center. There’s another battle to be had here too, with Matt Simms and rookie Tahj Boyd battling it out to be the team’s third-string signal caller.
Click here to see all of the depth charts we’ve covered.
Follow Gordon on Twitter: @PFF_Gordon