Nick Mangold exclusive: Jets on the up if rookie talents can handle NYC

Former New York Jets centre Nick Mangold talks to Planet Sport about their prospects for the new season and unique pressure of playing in the Big Apple.

The New York Jets should be a vastly improved side this NFL season as long as their quality new Draft class can handle the pressure of playing in the Big Apple, according to former centre Nick Mangold.

The Jets had three first-round picks in the end in last month's NFL Draft, and they were a consensus pick doing the best business in Las Vegas.

Cornerback Ahman Gardner, receiver Garrett Wilson and pass rusher Jermaine Johnson are three potential stars and they could finally get the Jets challenging after years in the wilderness.

Former Jets centre Mangold told Planet Sport that he expected the new Draft class to have an impact, but thought it may take more than one season.

"I'm not putting everything onto this season, as while they've drafted some great talents, they're young and need time to develop," Mangold told Planet Sport.

"But I am expecting to see a vastly improved team from a year ago,

"The Jets in general are a very young team, they started more rookies by starts than any other team last year so that experience along with the new pieces should see them continue to improve."

Big pressure in the Big Apple

After over a decade without a playoff run, Jets fans are desperate for any kind of success - but that brings with it some added pressure for new players.

And that only adds to the unique test of playing in the Big Apple, where pressure from fans and media is magnified and the bright lights of New York City can offer a major distraction.

"There's a lot more pressure," says Mangold, who had a decade of the unique experience of playing in New York.

"When you look at the New York media and the fans, they all want winners, and they demand it very quickly

"Especially Jets fans, it's now been 11 years since they made the playoffs so they're itching for success.

"So for the players coming in, they have to understand what this market is, and sometimes people get blinded by the lights.

"If you're trying to go out to every fashion party and club, doing all the fancy dinners, that can get in the way.

"So finding that balance to enjoying New York, which is amazing, with the work side, putting that work in for a fan base that appreciates hard workers, is the key."

Tough task in stacked AFC East

In a division that was long dominated by Tom Brady's New England Patriots, it's now the Buffalo Bills that boss the AFC East, but the rest are improving.

Bill Belichick's Pats have a second year of Mac Jones to improve and the Miami Dolphins have made some big moves including a huge trade for Tyreek Hill.

The Jets are still the fourth team in this division, but they should improve this year and Mangold hopes they can soon challenge Buffalo for top spot.

"The AFC East is stacked," said the Jet's first-round pick in the 2006 NFL Draft.

"Between Buffalo leading the charge, New England always right there and now Miami with the moves they're making, it's tough.

"Then with the AFC in general, you look at all the teams that are doing some good things, and especially some of the quarterbacks are crazy.

"So it's going to be a challenge but I'm kind of hoping Josh Allen's reached his peak and we get to see Zach Wilson rising and maybe we can take that top spot."

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