Shrewd Jets Pickup Labeled as ‘Most Underrated Player’ Heading Into 2022

John Franklin-Myers

Getty New York Jets defensive lineman John Franklin-Myers makes a play on Carson Wentz on November 4, 2021.

When New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas first claimed defensive lineman John Franklin-Myers off the Los Angeles Rams, most fans didn’t know much about him.

The former fourth-round pick was a late cut during the 2019 training camp and some believe Douglas caught Rams GM Les Snead in an attempt to sneak him onto the practice squad. Franklin-Myers spent his first year in New York on the injured reserve, but fans quickly took notice of the 6-foot-4 disruptor in 2020.

After a three-sack campaign with Gang Green two seasons ago, ‘JFM’ doubled his production in the encore with six sacks in 2021. He also played more snaps, forced more takeaways, and led the franchise in quarterback pressures by a wide margin with 53.

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Influx of Pass Rushers Should Assist Franklin-Myers

Pro Football Focus’ lead NFL analyst Sam Monson produced a list of each franchise’s “most underrated player” ahead of the 2022 season and JFM was his choice for the Jets. He reasoned:

All we heard about the Jets in the lead-up to the draft is how badly they needed a pass-rusher for Robert Saleh’s defense. They ended up securing Jermaine Johnson II with a trade back into the first round, and they also have the return of Carl Lawson to look forward to. But New York also rosters a very real impact player already in Franklin-Myers. He has at least 50 pressures in each of the last two seasons for the team, and his PFF grade has improved each year in the NFL. With Lawson and now Johnson in town to complement Franklin-Myers, we may see him get a little more recognition as offenses have their attention pulled elsewhere.

Quinnen Williams once joked that PFF loves Franklin-Myers, but for good reason. The versatile defensive lineman was the most consistent player in the last-ranked NYJ defense in 2021.

I know that may not sound like a compliment to some but it should be. Everything the Jets did poorly, JFM did well, proving that the defensive deficiencies were no fault of his own.

For example, DC Jeff Ulbrich’s unit had a ton of trouble rushing the passer. As mentioned in the open, Franklin-Myers led the team with 53 pressures — including nine QB hits and the six aforementioned sacks.

This defense was also terrible against the run, JFM was not. His 75.5 grade versus opposing rushing attacks was well above average and finished second for the Jets behind safety Jason Pinnock.

So let’s see; top-ranked pass rusher, second-best run defender, and a pretty darn good tackler for an edge rusher. Franklin-Myers’ 19 defensive stops only ranked seventh on the Jets (still top 10), but his missed tackle rate ranked fifth at 9.4%.

Simply put, JFM didn’t do anything poorly last year, and all these contributions came after a position swap from interior D-line to defensive end. As Monson noted, the addition of Lawson and Johnson — as well as Jacob Martin and Micheal Clemons — should allow the underrated S.F. Austin product to flourish in a more natural role.

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More Underrated Performers According to PFF

Franklin-Myers held the best overall grade at an 80.3 but not far behind were a few unlikely players. At safety, Pinnock and Will Parks made a very solid combination late in the season. They did not appear in as many games as someone like JFM, but ranked high when they did.

Both excelled as tacklers with grades in the 80s, while Pinnock’s run defense grade led the roster at a tremendous 89.5 mark. Parks was more consistent all around with a much better coverage grade.

Speaking of pass coverage, Bryce Hall led all cornerbacks, but even more impressive was his missed tackle rate. The second-year CB had a team-leading missed tackle percentage of 3.7 and it wasn’t even close. He also led the franchise in pass breakups with 14.

Linebacker C.J. Mosley — voted team MVP by his peers — led the Jets in defensive stops with a whopping 60 stops on the year.

On the offensive side, linemen and receivers stole the show. In more limited action, Dan Feeney had the highest PFF grade outside of former quarterback Josh Johnson. The backup center/guard mauled defenders in the run game and so did starter Connor McGovern. Both had run-blocking scores close to 80.

George Fant and Morgan Moses were a bit lower on the list despite having successful campaigns for New York. Fant had the top pass-blocking grade on the O-line, at 75.1.

Braxton Berrios and Elijah Moore were two of PFF’s top three Jets playmakers in 2021. Berrios’ receiving/route-running grade and hands/drops grade both ranked first for his position. The rookie, Moore, was just behind him in both areas.

One more unlikely performer was veteran running back Tevin Coleman, who was the third playmaker in that group. His hands/fumble grade was elite and Coleman also led the team in designed rushing attempts over 15 yards (six).

Rookie Michael Carter was just behind him with five “breakaway” runs and had a solid overall grade that finished top five for Jets playmakers.


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