It’s become a very young, hard-working, likable group, and few players fit that description better than defensive lineman John Franklin-Myers.
After the Los Angeles Rams gave up on the former fourth-round draft pick just one season into his NFL career, the Jets general manager did not hesitate to snag him off waivers.
Franklin-Myers did spend the 2019 season on the sidelines but once healthy, it didn’t take long for the versatile pass-rusher to make a name for himself in his new home.
He totaled three sacks on 13 quarterback hits, 11 knockdowns and nine hurries during his first campaign with the Jets in 2020. NFL Network analytics expert Cynthia Frelund even named “JFM” as her most underappreciated member of the Gang Green roster.
Heading into his age-25 season, many expect Franklin-Myers to take another major leap in production under the tutelage and scheme fit of Robert Saleh and Jeff Ulbrich. The unexpected Jets star is just thankful for the opportunity.
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JFM’s Promise to Joe Douglas
“I’ve been telling everybody and I told Joe Douglas myself, I said look man you give me this opportunity [and] I’m not going to let you down, and I meant that.”
It was so incredible to see the human side of the defensive lineman during his informative sit-down with Glaser and if you liked Franklin-Myers before, you’ll love him after hearing him tell his story.
Glaser picked the D-lineman’s brain on his initial thoughts on Saleh and the new coaching staff, fresh faces and teammates, favorite pass-rush moves, motivations, hobbies and of course his promise — which he has more than kept so far.
Click here for the full interview between the two, which goes into detail on everything from JFM’s humble beginnings to his Super Bowl appearance (more analysis below).
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Franklin-Myers Unlikely Journey to Stardom
A lot happened to JFM leading up to his 2019 pledge to the Jets general manager.
The lineman described himself as an “overweight” kid before he ever touched the football field, crediting his grandfather with the major lifestyle shift after his move to Greenville, Texas.
“I was bigger than everybody else so in seventh grade I started [playing football],” Franklin-Myers told Glaser, “my grandpa basically said like look… if you’re going to start something you’re not going to quit it.”
The hard-working athlete took it from there, turning his bad eating habits into good ones as he transformed himself into the 6-foot-4, 288-pound player we see today.
That showed in 2020, and Franklin-Myers explained the motivation behind his success.
“I can’t let nobody down, I can’t let myself down… these opportunities don’t come for everybody and they don’t come often,” he replied to Glaser, “I know I got a son back home, I got a family to feed… I play football so he don’t have to work, he don’t got to play football, he don’t got to do nothing if he don’t want to.”
JFM added that he also plays to honor his late grandfather, the man who turned his life around.
In terms of the future, the Jets defensive lineman said he’ll always do his best to “put a good product on the field.”
JFM’s 2021 Outlook
It will be interesting to see how Saleh and Ulbrich utilize a player that can slot in at so many different positions on the defensive line.
Franklin-Myers told Glaser that he can play defensive end, three-technique tackle and nose tackle, making him the most flexible piece of this unit.
“I think inside I’m a little more finess,” he articulated, “on the outside you see a lot more power, you see a lot more physicality… but on the inside I get to use my quickness, my agility, my lateral movement and I work on that on a daily basis here in the offseason.”
Douglas loves bringing in players like this — think free agent pickup Dan Feeney on the other side of the ball or hybrid linebacker-safety Jamien Sherwood.
JFM is yet another tool for Saleh to sharpen into a serious weapon. According to Pro Football Focus, Franklin-Myers excelled as a pass-rusher with a 76.4 pass-rush grade compared to a 57.1 grade against the run.
Based on these traits, I see the defensive lineman as a sort of utility man that will be heavily used on passing downs. In terms of his position, expect that part to remain fluid.
“Honestly, I don’t care where [or] what defense [we play],” Franklin-Myers joked in the Take Flight Media interview, expressing his style of play as “goal line every snap.”