Jets 2021 midseason awards: Who is New York’s MVP?

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The first year of the Robert Saleh era has not played out as the Jets had hoped.

New York has struggled to a 2-7 record with two big wins over the Titans and Bengals sandwiched between offensive ineptitude and horrendous defensive performances. The Jets have shown flashes of their potential under Saleh, but those glimmers of hope have been overshadowed by the dark cloud that is the team’s lack of talent and experience.

Most things have been negative at One Jets Drive, but there have been some positives to reflect on after the first nine games of the season. With that, let’s check out the Jets’ midseason award winners.

MVP — DL Quinnen Williams

Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Williams has not taken the leap to elite status that many were expecting him to make this season, but the third-year defensive lineman has still been really, really good for the Jets. Williams has 34 tackles, 11 quarterback hits, five tackles for loss and five sacks so far this season and has fared well eating up space in run support. Williams is the best of the best among a Jets roster that doesn’t have any other legitimate MVP candidates.

Offensive Player of the Year — RB Michael Carter

AP Photo/Noah K. Murray

Carter has been the Jets’ most dynamic weapon this season, leading the team with 673 scrimmage yards. No other player on New York’s roster has over 450. The rookie out of North Carolina is also tied with Jamison Crowder for the team lead in receptions with 31, using his pass-catching ability to make him a true dual-threat out of the backfield.

Defensive Player of the Year — LB C.J. Mosley

Steve Luciano-AP

Mosley has impressed when healthy in his return to the Jets after two years away from the team due to injuries and the COVID-19 pandemic. The veteran inside linebacker is averaging nine tackles per game with 72 total in eight games. He is on pace to reach 100 tackles for the first time since 2018.

Offensive Rookie of the Year — OL Alijah Vera-Tucker

Frank Franklin II-AP

Joe Douglas’ decision to trade up to select Vera-Tucker in the 2021 NFL draft has paid off in spades. New York’s starting left guard has been dominant at times as a rookie and has been one of the team’s few bright spots on offense. Vera-Tucker is trending in the right direction in his development and could become even more impactful once Mekhi Becton rejoins him on the left side of the offensive line.

Defensive Rookie of the Year — CB Michael Carter II

Frank Franklin II-AP

The Jets have not been good in the secondary this season, but Carter II has been serviceable in the nickel. Most importantly, the Duke product has embodied what Saleh is trying to build with tough and gritty play on a weekly basis. Carter II makes his fair share of mistakes like any rookie would. His motor never turns off, though.

Most Improved Player — LB Quincy Williams

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets claimed Williams off waivers in September to bolster their linebacker depth. The 25-year-old has since become a crucial part of New York’s defense due to injuries at the position and leads the team in tackles for loss with five. Williams was relegated to special teams duties in seven games with the Jaguars last season. He has bounced back in a big way so far this season and is just nine tackles away from tying his career-high of 48 stops.

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