In 2023, the New York Jets truly had a gap year, losing their starting quarterback a series into the season and having to struggle to keep their heads above water in the hopes that Aaron Rodgers would improbably return to the field for some mythical playoff run destined for major studio movies and drunken bar stories for the rest of the century.

Fortunately, in their loss came a silver lining in that the Jets were able to see who on their team was worth keeping, who the team wasn't, and what they needed to add in order to be an even more formidable team in 2024, with Rodgers back for another go-round.

Fortunately, Joe Douglas and company put in some serious work and not only load up on ring-chasing vets but also a few interesting rookie options, including a moldable gunslinger and a royal receiver who can do damage with the ball in his hands.

These rookies could be players for the New York Jets in 2024.

Clemson linebacker Barrett Carter (0) pressures Florida State University quarterback Jordan Travis (13) during the fourth quarter Sep 23, 2023; Clemson, South Carolina, USA
Clemson linebacker Barrett Carter (0) pressures Florida State University quarterback Jordan Travis (13) during the fourth quarter Sep 23, 2023; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; at Memorial Stadium.

2. Jordan Travis could push Tyrod Taylor… in 2025

There was a time when it looked like Jordan Travis may be one of the true success stories of the 2023 NCAA season. Standing 6-foot1, 200 pounds, Travis led the Seminoles to an 11-0 record while throwing for 2,734 yards and 20 touchdowns versus just two picks, but in the end, it simply wasn't meant to be, as he was diagnosed with a season-ending leg injury and had to watch the most promising season his college career end in tragedy, with the team taking a 3-63 loss to Georgia at the Orange Bowl with Brock Glenn under center.

Back to full strength, Travis will get to show the Jets brass what he's capable of in 2024 and could theoretically have a Brock Purdy-esque run where he gets on the field for an injured starter as a third-stringer and never gives back the spot, giving New York the young quarterback they wanted in 2021 when they drafted Zach Wilson second overall but frankly, that feels somewhat unlikely. No, as Douglas pointed out after the NFL Draft, this will likely be a learning year for Travis, who could, in turn, push for a bigger role in 2025.

“What a great situation. Olu is going to come into a situation with two guys, Smith and Morgan, [QB] Jordan Travis can come in and learn from a Hall of Fame quarterback and [Tyrod] Taylor, that's over 30 years of NFL experience,” Joe Douglas told the “You can just be a sponge, a shadow to each of them, and take in what they're willing to give.”

After watching six quarterbacks go off the board in the first round, Travis was the eighth quarterback off the board in 2024, following Spencer Rattler as the second QB taken on Day 3. While it's not common for an eight-overall quarterback or a fifth-round pick to become a starter in the NFL, you never know. The Jets almost made the playoffs in 2023 with Wilson under center, and it's worth wondering if Travis is already a better player in 2024 head-to-head.

1. Malachi Corley could push Xavier Gipson for WR3

On a team that is loaded with premier talent, second-round pick Malachai Corley has a chance to come in and compete for the WR3 spot right away, going head-to-head with Xavier Gipson, the UDFA from Stephen F. Austin who picked up the slack at the end of 2023.

Standing 5-foot-11, 215 pounds with a dynamic touch few other members of college football can boast, the “YAC King” was drafted by the Jets for one reason and one reason alone, according to Douglas: to make plays with the ball in his hand.

“In our room now, we have a different flavor, an almost pick your poison-type of room. We know Garrett Wilson is an elite competitor and route runner who can separate from anyone. Then, Williams, he's ultra-productive and can run by people and also go up with the big boys on the outside,” Douglas explained.

“Now adding Malachi, he really excels with the ball in his hands. When guys are really good at running after catch in college, it usually translates well in the pros. If a guy has the ability to make people miss it's because they're really an elusive high-level athlete and if they're wired to compete. Our coaches are going to use that skill to turn him into an elite route runner. He [Corley] can make people miss. The thing that jumps off the tape is how angry he runs with the ball. He runs with a vengeance, he's not looking to run out of bounds. He brings a cool element to the room.”

Once upon a time, the Jets had a similarly promising young wide receiver with big play potential in Elijah Moore, but he wasn't happy with his role and was ultimately traded to Cleveland, where he had a pretty good season not too dissimilar to what he was putting up with the Jets. If Corley produces at the same level as Moore as a rookie, there's little reason to believe he couldn't become a favorite of Rodgers and a long-term asset to the team long after he's retired.