Pro Football Focus has become the industry leader in advanced NFL statistics and recently highlighted a number of young Jets who have been standouts at their positions.
CB Darryl Roberts joined the Jets before the 2016 season after a short stint with the New England Patriots. Roberts made his presence felt quickly, appearing in twelve games for the Green and White, including two starts. He tallied 19 tackles, six pass deflections and a fumble recovery. However, when diving deeper, PFF found that the former Marshall cornerback's contributions were greater than his numbers suggest. Roberts had the lowest catch percentage allowed in the league last year (min. 175 coverage snaps), surrendering catches on only 41.2% of balls thrown his way.
Roberts also ranked top five in two other telling statistics. The 6'0" cornerback allowed a reception once every 14 pass plays (4th of the 117 CBs eligible). He also allowed a paltry ¾ of a yard for every coverage snap played, seating him fifth.
Pro Bowler Leonard Williams was a nightmare for opposing offensive lines last season. The versatile defensive lineman started all 16 games with seven sacks, 36 tackles and two forced fumbles. Williams was particularly effective during the last quarter of the season. In Weeks 13-17, the 2015 No. 6 overall pick ranked first in run stop percentage among interior defenders.
The Jets' 2016 first-rounder, LB Darron Lee, also shined when given the opportunity. Starting nine of the 13 games he appeared in last season, Lee amassed 42 tackles and a sack in his rookie year. Tackling efficiency is where Lee really separated himself. The Ohio State product was the most efficient tackler among rookie linebackers in 2016.
Roberts was not the only Jets cornerback to stand out in 2016 according to Pro Football Focus. Rookie Juston Burris saw action in all 16 games last season, getting the starting nod in one. Burris' line for the season includes nine tackles, five pass deflections and one interception. A fourth-round selection by the Jets in 2016, he had the fourth-lowest passer rating allowed among rookies with at least 15 targets.
On the other side of the ball, OL Brandon Shell stood out in limited action last season. The 6'6" right tackle played in eight games last season, starting the final three. Shell's first start came in Week 14 against the Miami Dolphins, who feature a defensive line comprised of three Pro Bowlers. The former South Carolina Gamecock allowed zero pressures in 55 passing play snaps, a feat that caught the eye of PFF analyst John Gatta.
Shell closed out the season in similar fashion. In the three games he started to end the season, he played a total of 113 pass blocking snaps without giving up a pressure, becoming the only active player to do so with over 100 career pass blocking snaps.