How Garrett Wilson, Breece Hall and Jeremy Ruckert fit in to Jets offense

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Breece Hall white jersey Iowa State, solo
Breece Hall white jersey Iowa State, solo

Throughout the offseason, the Jets have stressed the importance of surrounding Zach Wilson with as many weapons as possible.

Having already added two tight ends in free agency in addition to bringing back wide receiver Braxton Berrios and running back Tevin Coleman, the Jets were unable to bring in a big-name wide receiver via trade. However, they brought in a trio of offensive weapons in the first two days of the draft.

These three selections won’t necessarily be relied upon to contribute from day one, but what it does mean is that the Jets should at least be much deeper at these positions in 2022. On paper, the Jets’ offensive depth wasn’t too bad in 2021, but a few players underperformed and injuries took their toll over the course of the season.

Expectations will be high, however, that the Jets can get good contributions from their rookies in 2022, especially after how well wide receiver Elijah Moore and running back Michael Carter performed as rookies last season. Moore, the 34th overall pick, and Carter, a fourth-rounder, each established themselves as the top option at their position in the second half of the season before getting hurt.

In theory, both of the players joining these position groups could be even better prospects that Moore and Carter. Ohio State wide receiver Garrett Wilson was picked up with the 10th overall pick and Iowa State running back Breece Hall was selected after the Jets moved up a few spots early in the second round.

The Jets will hope that Wilson should pick up the system faster than Denzel Mims did last season, as a string of mental errors kept Mims out of the rotation for much of the year. However, the Jets are deep enough to have the luxury of bringing the athletic Wilson along at his own pace so that he can hopefully realize his potential.

Apr 28, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Ohio State wide receiver Garrett Wilson after being selected as the tenth overall pick to the New York Jets during the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft at the NFL Draft Theater. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 28, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Ohio State wide receiver Garrett Wilson after being selected as the tenth overall pick to the New York Jets during the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft at the NFL Draft Theater. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There are plenty of fast and elusive running back prospects in this draft, all of whom can be productive running behind a good offensive line, which is what the Jets expect to have this year after signing Laken Tomlinson to further upgrade a retooled group.

What sets Hall apart, though, is his all-around play. He can be a factor in the passing game because he is a pass-catching threat and NFL-ready as a blocker. That should ensure he gets opportunities to get on the field early and often.

Towards the end of the third round, the Jets selected Jeremy Ruckert, a tight end from Ohio State. Ruckert should have a defined role in his first year, because he’s a good blocker that can contribute in multiple tight-end sets. However, he’s developing as a pass catcher and the Jets will see the potential in him to develop and earn a larger role within the next few years or step up in the event of an injury.

All of these moves provide the Jets with a pipeline of talent, which can aid their flexibility over the next few years as they’ll need to replace some of their higher priced talent and start thinking about extending their young cornerstone players.

This doesn’t have to mean that players like Moore and Carter will be on their way out, though. Hall is a bigger back who can share the workload with Carter and should complement him well. This will prevent Carter having to be a three-down back as he was at times last season and hopefully this will reduce the chances of him missing time due to injuries.

It does, however, put players like Mims and Ty Johnson on notice. Johnson showed playmaking abilities in the passing game at times, but was inconsistent in terms of his blocking and ball security.

In recent years, the mistake the Jets have made with these positions is that they’ve brought players in to fill holes, forcing them to rely on those players to produce even before they’ve fully developed or got to grips with the system.

This regime isn’t planning to make the same mistake as they’ve ensured there will be good competition for roles at each position and set themselves up in a situation where there should be a good player ready to step up if the injury bug bites again.

The focus here has been on the immediate future, but if all goes to plan, the Jets have put their young quarterback into a favorable situation within which he can hopefully develop his game to the next level and turn the Jets into a winning organization over the next few seasons.

If that happens, they now have several players with the potential to become star performers.