The most irreplaceable players on the New York Jets aren't always the best. Ranking players by level of need is as much a commentary on a team's depth as it is on its talent.
Take the Jets' running backs. Chris Ivory, Chris Johnson and Bilal Powell each have different skill sets. None of them is irreplaceable. Losing one to injury or suspension would be inconvenient, but someone else would take his carries. The running game would change but remain effective.
There are other positions where the committee approach would not work. The loss of a unit's chemistry, as in the case of an offensive line, is one reason. Another is the lack of reliable backups, players who have proven their worth in the NFL. That's why some Jets played an inordinate number of snaps in 2013. No one could sub for them without a significant drop in quality.
Ranking a player's irreplaceability considers the following factors:
- Talent and Accomplishments: An irreplaceable player has skills that are well above average. Ideally, he's an All-Pro or Pro Bowler who performs at a high level consistently and adapts to. At the very least, he has set performance standards that none of his teammates have attained.
- Durability: An irreplaceable player doesn't miss many snaps. He's a three-down player who doesn't leave the field often. He stays healthy and out of trouble (avoids suspension).
- Depth: Sometimes being an irreplaceable player is less a tribute to his overwhelming skill than a negative reflection on his team's talent. He may have to spend an inordinate amount of time on the field, sometimes in situations that expose his weaknesses. He is the best apple in a bad bunch.
This list reflects who the Jets can least afford to lose if the regular season started today. Players on this list aren't untouchable. They're just the best fit the team has for their roles.
To reinforce the idea of irreplaceability, see the next slide to find Jets' positions or units that don't have anyone fitting the description. Then view the Jets' irreplaceable players.