This slide show will feature the young and talented future of the New York Jets. These players are some of my favorites that I feel will make a impact on the Jets in the near future.
Young players I left out because they are already established are:
Whole Offensive Line
Positives: Speed, Agility, Hands. Confidence.
Negatives: No exp., Injury Prone
David Clowney was a standout at Virginia Tech but played most of his junior and senior year playing with injuries.
He posted the third fastest time at the NFL combine in 2007. He was drafted in the fifth round by the Green Bay Packers. Clowney spent his rookie year in the practice squad for the Packers.
He was released and later signed to the practice squad of the New York Jets. He got his chance to show what he could do in the first preseason game of the 2008 season with the Jets. He recorded a game-high four catches for 168 yards and two touchdowns.
Clowney eventually injured his collarbone and sat out until week 15 where he recorded his only catch of his career. It was a one-handed grab along the sideline from Brett Farve.
Jets Management is high on Clowney and for good reason. He has the opportunity to step up as the No. 2 or three receiver for the Jets in 2009.
Positives: Speed, Shifty, Hands, Return Abilities, Vision.
Negatives: Questions about ability to be feature back. Ability to run between guards.
Probably the most obvious selection here is Leon Washington. Washington had a productive career at Florida State as a running back and returner. He averaged 4.4 yards per carry while being the second option to starter Lerenzo Booker.
Drafted in the fourth round by the Jets, Washington made his first splash in a crucial game against the Miami Dolphins as a rookie. His 64-yard reception set up the Jets to kick the game-winning field goal.
Leon Washington is among the most exciting players in the NFL. He can run, return, and receive with the best. Naysayers say he cannot be a feature back, but with starting RB Thomas Jones aging i think he will eventually step up and be the next Brian Westbrook.
Positives: Strong, Smart, Great Hands.
Negatives: Speed and Poise
Dwight Lowery was a two-time All-American corner back at San Jose State University. Drafted in the third round to the New York Jets, Lowery was expected to come in as a starter.
Lowery fell victim to starting opposite of Pro Bowler Derelle Revis. Teams avoided throwing Revis' way which led rookie Lowery to step up and defend bulk of passes. Lowery held his own majority of the time, but fell victim to a number of speedy receivers going deep.
Lowery will be given a chance to mature under newly acquired Lito Sheppard as a dime and nickel back. He certainly has a bright future in the NFL and on the Jets if he continues to work hard.
Positives: Size. Speed. Strength. Trains hard.
Negatives: Inconsistent with play. Passion. Football IQ.
Vernon Gholston was Drafted sixth overall to the New York Jets in the 2008 NFL draft. Gholston had an impressive career at Ohio State with 22.5 career sacks. He was projected as a late first-round draft pick until he wowed onlookers at the NFL Combine.
He rose his stock to a top 10 draft pick after posting 37 bench press repetitions and a 4.58 40-yard dash.
Gholston later disappointed after recording only 13 tackles and no sacks in his rookie year. Many questioned his passion to play the game. Former Jet coach Eric Mangini was skeptical about Gholston's ability to grasp the teams defensive playbook.
Gholstons physical attributes are there. Rex Ryan has said he is ready to make Gholston a contributor and Gholston has shown his commitment by being the first and last person in the weight room...Expect a big turn around from Gholston under Ryan's defensive scheme.
Positive: Prototype QB size. Strong Arm. Accurate. Mobile.
Negatives: No exp. May be lacking poise of starting QB.
Last but certainly not least. Brett Ratliff. Please quote me when I say "Ratty" will be the starter for the New York Jets in 2009. Whether it be in the beginning of the season or towards the end, he will emerge as the starter.
"Ratty" was not highly touted coming out of high school and had to earn his scholarship to Utah after an impressive two year tenure at Butte Junior College in California. At Butte he threw for a school career record of 41 touchdowns and led his team to a division championship.
The Jets signed "Ratty" as an undrafted free-agent in 2007 where he spent a year on the practice squad. He was given a chance in the 2008 preseason where he lead all NFL passers with a QB rating of 122.5.
After his preseason showing, there were rumors about Jets management considering "Ratty" to be a better second option to Bret Farve than Kellen Clemens was.
Ratty has been given the chance to lead a NFL team. His only obstacle is teammate Clemens, who he is now in competition with for starting job. The Jets are looking for the future franchise quarterback and they might have found it in Brett Ratliff.
Mold: Hines Ward (w/o blocking abilities)
Positives: Hands. Route Running.
Mold: Ed Reed
Positives: Big Hitter, Big Play Ability. Hard Worker.
Mold: Antwan Randel El
Positives: Speed. Vision. Throwing Ability. Trick Play Threat.