New York Jets: Wayne Hunter and the 5 Biggest Liabilities on the Roster

Aidan MackieSenior Analyst IJanuary 13, 2012

New York Jets: Wayne Hunter and the 5 Biggest Liabilities on the Roster

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    The Jets 2011 season was a momentous disappointment. 

    Star players like Santonio Holmes and D'Brickashaw Ferguson performed well below their usual standards, while young talent such as Kenrick Ellis and Muhammad Wilkerson failed to develop to the level the Jets front office expected heading into the season.

    However, it was the following five players who ultimately were the main reason for the New York's subpar campaign. These disappointments did not just fail to help the team, but ended up doing more harm than good.

Wayne Hunter

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    Wayne Hunter may be the worst right tackle in the NFL right now.

    After a solid 2010 season, the Jets locked up the Hawaii product to a four-year contract, in hopes he would replace aging veteran Damien Woody on the offensive line. 

    However, Hunter had an absolutely miserable season this year.

    He was consistently beaten by opposing pass rushers, and Hunter was responsible for the majority of the many big hits Mark Sanchez took. 

    The 30-year-old has slow feet and subpar strength, and he stands little chance against the elite pass rushers in the game.

    If New York wants to keep the head on their quarterback, then Wayne Hunter needs to be replaced immediately. 

Eric Smith

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    It seemed that every single big play the Jets defense allowed in 2011 was because of Eric Smith.

    The veteran safety was horrific in a starting role, and he needs to be replaced this offseason by a decent player.

    Smith was consistently shredded in coverage, as he allowed monster games to opposing tight ends all season, including Rob Gronkowski and Brent Celek. 

    The former third round pick also missed a boatload of crucial tackles, as he simply could not bring down an opposing ball carrier.

    He was single-handedly accountable for Tim Tebow's game-winning touchdown run in Denver in Week 11. 

    If Smith wasn't manning the starting safety position, the Jets would have one of the most dominant passing defenses in the league. 

Matthew Mulligan

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    The Jets were probably not expecting Matthew Mulligan to have such a big impact in 2011.

    They were wrong, as the backup tight end was responsible for some of the biggest plays of the season.

    Sadly, all of these plays were unnecessary and costly penalties.

    Mulligan was a yellow flag magnet, as every time he stepped on the field, he was charged with either holding or a false start.

    The 26-year-old had more penalties than catches, and he constantly pushed the Jets offense back. 

    A rock would be more valuable to Gang Green than Matthew Mulligan. 

T.J. Conley

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    For a team that struggles mightily on offense at times, it is critical that the Jets have a good punter.

    Instead, New York boasts one of the worst punters in professional football, T.J. Conley.

    Conley was 29th in yards per punt in 2011, and he almost never booted the ball over 50 yards.

    The rookie often shanked kicks, and set the Jets defense up in horrible field position.

    This allowed opposing offenses to drive just a few dozen yards to put points on the board.

    Conley must be booted off the roster this offseason, and replaced by a viable kicking alternative. 

Mark Sanchez

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    While Mark Sanchez shows flashes of brilliance, he is responsible for the majority of the Jets losses. 

    The third-year quarterback was second in the AFC with 26 turnovers, and he often made critical mistakes in crucial times.

    The USC product's horrible pick-sixes against the Broncos, Ravens and Patriots cost the Jets games, and his poor decisions against the Dolphins and Giants also led to defeats. 

    Sanchez does not make enough big plays to make up for his awful decision-making, and he has shown little signs of growth in his three years as a starter.

    New York would be a playoff team if they had a quarterback who managed to hold onto the ball.

    Mark Sanchez is a liability on the field, and the Jets need to seriously consider replacing him this offseason.