The Athletic Announces 2021 Jets Breakout Candidate

Elijah Moore

Getty New York Jets wide receiver Elijah Moore catches a touchdown with Ole Miss on October 31, 2020.

From the moment he arrived at Florham Park, rookie wide receiver Elijah Moore has attracted attention.

When a team drafts a rookie quarterback with the second overall pick, you expect that all eyes will be on that player. Zach Wilson has received plenty of notice, don’t get me wrong, but Moore has actually managed to steal the spotlight at times due to his sheer exceptionalism on the field.

For a wide-out drafted in the second round, that’s no easy feat.

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Connor Hughes Breakout Candidate

On July 6, 2021, the beat reporters of The Athletic joined forces to provide their full list of breakout candidates for every NFL team. The Jets’ very own Connor Hughes gave his two cents on the Gang Green selection and it should come as no surprise as to who he chose.

Hughes has been high on Moore since the first couple of days of practice and I can’t blame him.

“While it’s nothing but routes against air, Moore makes watching individual drills fun,” Hughes wrote on June 2, “his fluidity in and out of breaks, combined with his burst and acceleration, isn’t commonplace at One Jets Drive.”

Now the wide receiver has earned the honor of Jets breakout candidate.

“Moore was among the best players at the Jets’ offseason workouts, showcasing explosiveness not seen around Florham Park in quite some time,” Hughes explained.

Although he notes that the NYJ wide receiver room is deeper than ever, the beat reporter went on to say: “It will be hard to keep the rookie off the field. He looks that dynamic.”

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Moore Is Built Different

The only thing more impressive thing than the play of the Ole Miss product has been his drive. Legendary athletes become that way because of their mentality. When a normal human would quit, these players work out, train and push themselves that extra 10%.

Wilson told the media he wants to be around Moore because the playmaker “wants to be great.”

Special teams coach Brant Boyer highlighted the rookie for his work ethic, sharing that he and Michael Carter get to the team facilities at 6:30 a.m. every day to put in a little bit extra.

Then when other NFL players went on vacation after minicamp, Moore was seen working out in Brooklyn with A.J. Brown and looking absolutely ripped in the process.

It’s become clear that the 5-foot-10 prospect is more than just a threat in the slot. Moore can and will lineup all over the field because you want the ball in his hands as often as possible. At this point, Jets fans just can’t wait to see him against another defense.

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AFC East Breakout Candidates

I won’t go into detail on the entire league but The Athletic did have some interesting breakout candidates for our AFC East rivals.

Keep in mind, these are from the perspective of each franchise’s beat reporter.

Buffalo Bills

Defensive tackle Ed Oliver who’s entering his third year in the league. This is a player that was compared to Quinnen Williams during the 2019 draft class. After their respective rookie seasons, it appeared that Oliver may actually have been underrated next to Williams. Fortunately for the Jets, there was a quick reversal in year two as Williams began to show what made him such a rare prospect. As Buffalo beat reporter Matthew Fairburn writes, Oliver’s “consistent production hasn’t always been there.”

Miami Dolphins

With a nod to the importance of this sophomore season for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins beat reporter Josh Tolentino chose running back Myles Gaskin. A surprise success story in 2020, Gaskin won the bell-cow role over Matt Breida and Jordan Howard before an injury limited his campaign. The former seventh-round pick will look to build off that emergence in 2021.

New England Patriots

Pats beat reporter Jeff Howe double-dipped with two 2020 second-round draft picks, safety Kyle Dugger and outside linebacker Josh Uche. He then made his top choice clear: “Uche was easily the Patriots’ most explosive pass rusher when he was able to take the field.” This speedy edge rusher could be an issue for the Jets, especially when you already have to deal with Patriots like Matt Judon and Kyle Van Noy, who Howe notes will “probably play the most snaps.” He does expect Uche to be utilized heavily in passing situations.

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