New York Jets 2013 Potential Breakout Player Projections

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Dec 9, 2012; Jacksonville FL, USA; New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) celebrates sacking Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne (not pictured) in the third quarter of their game at EverBank Field. The New York Jets beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 17-10. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Jets seem like a total mess right now, but I don’t think they are as far away from contending in the AFC East as we think. There is definitely going to have to be something done about the quarterback position, but I think sooner rather than later, that will all be figured out.

Financially, they are still tied to Mark Sanchez right now, but the biggest problem that might be facing the Jets this season is not only their QB situation, but also the loss of Darrelle Revis in the secondary. They are losing a guy who might not only be the best at his position in the NFL, but arguably a top five-ten player in the NFL in general.

But like I said, the cupboard is not bare for the Jets. They have a lot of talented pieces and could surprise some people a bit this year, depending on how the QB battle shakes out. Here are three players–one from each of the last three rookie classes–that could be in line to break out in a big way in 2013.

Third Year — Muhammad Wilkerson, DL

Wilkerson is entering his third year with the Jets, and he says he is in the best shape of his life. After altering his diet and training five days a week in Maryland, Wilkerson feels like he is ready to take the next step and become an elite defensive lineman for the Jets.

Last year, he had a bit of a coming out party with 70 tackles, five sacks, and three fumbles forced. With some new help on the defensive line and the expected emergence of nose tackle Kenrick Ellis, Wilkerson could be in line for double digit sacks.

His 2012 season was just a glimpse of what he is capable of, and I think we could see this guy enter the realms of other elite front seven players like J.J. Watt and Justin Smith among 3-4 DEs. Wilkerson’s 2012 numbers graded out as the second best in the NFL among his position behind only Watt, and if he hasn’t already broken out, he will start to get some well-deserved national recognition in 2013.

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  • Hal Bent

    Great article, Sayre. I agree that Coples may be poised for a breakout season. He is scary talented and capable of taking over games if he can get it all together. Rex Ryan’s job may depend on how quickly he gets Richardson contributing and if he can maximize Wilkinson’s talent and motivate and scheme Coples into making game changing plays. If he squanders these talents this season on defense, he will be out of a job. Rex will need to maximize the defense and get back to winning ugly in NY.

    • SayreBedinger

      Thanks Hal, appreciate the comments. I definitely think this could be a make or break year for Rex in New York, and you’re right–he’s going to need to maximize the defense so they can win a bunch of 20-17 or 16-13 games this year. They aren’t going to be putting up 30 points all that often.

      • Hal Bent

        Not with that receiving corp…Chris Ivory was a good pickup if he stays healthy, he could be an under-the-radar pick up that helps them steal some Ws. Of course, with no Revis, they have to put their faith in Cromartie to carry the secondary…not the most reliable player, but he seemed to thrive out of Revis’ shadow last year. Its an interesting mix in the AFC East with Miami spending & the Jets lurking behind New England