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Renner: A blueprint to fix the winless New York Jets

You don’t need me to tell you the New York Jets are bad. You don’t even need to have watched them play. They’re 0-6 and on pace for the worst point differential in NFL history (-293.3). There’s no silver lining — or even bronze lining — about what they’ve done on the field this season.

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But fortunes can change quickly in the NFL, and just like in the 2011 season, one franchise is about to be massively rewarded for its ineptitude. The best quarterback prospect we’ve ever seen in the PFF era sits atop the 2021 NFL Draft. Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, in all likelihood, will declare after three straight elite-graded seasons as a starter for the Tigers, and the Jets are in the driver's seat to select him.

Let’s assume it stays that way and Lawrence is a Jet next fall. Now, how does a team that ranks in the bottom five in PFF’s passing, receiving, pass-blocking, tackling and coverage grades put enough talent around its new quarterback to become a Super Bowl contender?

Current Roster

Properly addressing the strengths and weaknesses of a current roster is crucial to any offseason plan. A team thinking that it's one running back away from competing is how it ends up cutting Le’Veon Bell a year and a half into a four-year, $52.5 million deal. While it’s still early, and the Jets may not be done selling after trading Steve McLendon on Sunday, here’s my take on what they have returning next year with impending free agents removed:

Offense
Pos. Player PFF Grade Rank
QB Trevor Lawrence Elite
RB Lamical Perine Incomplete
WR Jeff Smith Incomplete
WR Denzel Mims Incomplete
SWR Jamison Crowder Above Average
TE Chris Herndon Average
LT Mekhi Becton High Quality
LG Alex Lewis Average
C Connor McGovern Below Average
RG Greg Van Roten Below Average
RT George Fant Below Average
Defense
Pos. Player PFF Grade Rank
ED John Franklin-Myers Above Average
ED Tarell Basham Below Average
DI Folorunso Fatukasi Average
DI Quinnen Williams Above Average
LB C.J. Mosley Above Average
LB Blake Cashman Below Average
CB Belssuan Austin Below Average
CB Lamar Jackson Poor
Nickel Javelin Guidry Incomplete
S Matthias Farley Poor
S Ashtyn Davis Incomplete

Note: You’ll be able to find updated color-coded starting lineups on every team in the spring version of the PFF draft guide

One area of the field quite obviously needs significant improvement, and it’s their secondary. With safety Marcus Maye an impending free agent, they’re left with easily the worst secondary in the NFL on paper. Chalk that up as needs Nos. 1 and 2.

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