FAN AWARDS 2022: VOTE FOR YOUR UNSUNG HERO!
Author: NY JETS UK CONTRIBUTOR
The Pro Bowl Games in Las Vegas closed out last night with our four guys in action in the Flag Football contests that ended with an NFC victory and set the stage for Sunday’s Super Bowl in Arizona.
Before the Super Bowl brings the curtain down on the season, we have NFL Honors on Thursday night, where two Jets are finalists in the Rookie of the Year contests - Sauce Gardner on the defensive side and Garrett Wilson in the offensive category. Fingers crossed that our two stud first-year players bring home the silverware!
On the UK site this week we continue with our very own awards season, taking a look at some of the unheralded stars of the Jets season: it’s the ‘Unsung Hero’ award! Vote at the bottom of the page for your winner…
Candidate #1 - Sheldon Rankins
For the sake of this exercise, we have omitted the well recognised stars on the Jets, like Team MVP Quinnen Williams who has already been recognised with an award for his incredible season.
One player who is included however is his interior defensive line colleague Sheldon Rankins, who had a quietly dominant season up front. With 47 tackles - a career best - including 26 stops and 5 ‘stuffs’, Rankins was a constant menace in run defence, and he chipped in with three sacks and nine QB ‘hurries’ as a pass rusher too.
By PFF’s metrics, Rankins had a strong defensive grade of 73.1, proving equally effective as a run defender and pass rusher. His production will be tough for the Jets to replace if he does leave in free agency.
Candidate #2 - Bryce Huff
It was a breakout season for edge rusher Bryce Huff, who the Jets picked up as an undrafted free agent in 2020.
Not activated until the Jets’ week four contest with Pittsburgh, Huff’s counting stats - 6 tackles, 3.5 sacks - don’t jump off the page but his per snap production as a pass rusher ranked among the best in the league.
On 173 pass rushing snaps, Huff registered 36 pressures at an astonishing 28% win percentage. On almost every third down he was a menace to opposition quarterbacks, and PFF had him at an 88.0 grade for pass rushing across the full season: the best of any player on the Jets.
Candidate #3 - Michael Carter II
The Jets secondary had an outstanding 2022 season, proving one of the most improved units not just on the team, but in all of football, allowing just 3220 yards (3rd in NFL) and 15 TD (1st in NFL) through the air.
All-Pro rookie cornerback Sauce Gardner and free agent pick up D.J. Reed have rightly received plaudits as one of the game’s premier lockdown tandems on the outside, but slot corner Michael Carter II was arguably just as important to the team’s success in defending the pass.
His 72.2 coverage grade makes him a top-40 corner in the NFL according to PFF, whilst his 78.4 grade in run defence is top-20 at the position, cementing his status as one of the best-rounded nickel options in the entire league.
Candidate #4 - Connor McGovern
In a season where the Jets were forced to adjust their offensive line personnel almost every week, Connor McGovern was the embodiment of consistency in the middle of the field.
He played every single offensive snap - the only Jet to do so - and put up a rock solid 69.6 grade on PFF, with an identical split between his effectiveness as a run blocker and pass blocker.
Allowing just five sacks and four QB hits over the course of the season as well as delivering a few eye-catching run blocks out in space, McGovern will be a player the Jets are no doubt keen to bring back to New Jersey during the offseason.
Of course there were countless other players who made their stamp on the season and could be up for consideration for the award but we had to trim it down to four of the most deserving candidates and put it up to a vote!
So have your say now, the poll will close on Sunday!
Who was your ‘unsung hero’ of 2022?