Image Credit: (Vincent Carchietta /USA Today Sports)
Written by: Nicholas Mullick Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicholas-mullick-354076184/
It’s August and like the late great Brodie Lee would always say, you know what that means, NFL Pre-season is almost here. I can’t believe how fast time has come and gone. So what I always do during the first week of August is to go through the entire Jets roster on each position before the Jets play a single preseason game. I do this so I could get as much information on each position on the team and see who either makes the roster or gets cut. So let's get started with the New York Jets Offense.
Quarterbacks - Zach Wilson, Joe Flacco, Mike White, Chris Streveler
It is simple to analyze this position. Unless Zach Wilson gets hurt he will absolutely be the Week 1 starter. The backup is between Mike White and Joe Flacco. It will be interesting to see who wins this as White showed flashes last season of brilliance, but had moments where he was awful. Flacco is not the guy he was when he played for the Ravens. I don’t mind either option, but I never want to see Flacco start another game as a New York Jet ever again. Chris Streveler is more of a camp arm, but I looked back in his CFL days and he was not great but could impress with the Jets.
Running Back - Michael Carter, Breece Hall, Ty Johnson, Tevin Coleman, La’Mical Perine, and Zonavan Knight
It has been a while since I have been hyped for the running back core. Michael Carter was fantastic last season and bolstered the run game by trading up for Breece Hall. Ty Johnson while not being great is still a solid option in the backfield. Tevin Coleman is a veteran pice who should be a rotational piece. Zonavan Knight is a wildcard as he showed flashes during his time at NC State. If he impresses he could be a sleeper and steal a spot on the roster. I mean Perine's time with the Jets is pretty much done and I doubt he sticks on the roster.
Fullback - Trevon Wesco and Nick Bawden
Even though many depth charts list Wesco as a Tight End, I am still not convinced that Wesco will not be utilized as a hybrid so I am going to be listing him as a Fullback. He was not fantastic last season, but he did a decent job. The Jets decided to add some competition for this position by signing Nick Bawden who was a part of the practice squad. He had experience during his time in Detroit but kept getting injured. Hopefully, Barden can remain healthy and impress during the Pre-Season.
Wide Receiver - Corey Davis, Garrett Wilson, Elijah Moore, Braxton Berrios, Jeff Smith, Denzel Mims, Tarik Black, Rashad Davis, Keshunn Abram, Irvin Charles, and Rodney Adams
I like how the Jets surrounded QB Zach Wilson with weapons to utilize. It seems like this organization learned its lesson after they ruined Sam Darnold. Let's start with Elijah Moore who emerged as an excellent receiver last season and from many reports that I read he is impressing again in Training Camp. There are even some saying he is likely going to take the #1 receiver role which is good news. I would not give him the role yet as Corey Davis could still take this role. Yes, he has durability issues, but Davis has experience as a number 1 receiver. The Jets signed Braxton Berrios to a 2-year deal and he should handle the slot and special teams for the Jets. The team used a 1st round selection to draft Garrett Wilson, who should develop well for the Jets. Jeff Smith came out of nowhere and jumped the depth chart having a larger role on the Jets and should have an impact on special teams, but will have to battle Rashad Davis for the role. As for Denzel Mims or as I keep calling him Chris Herndon 2.0, I am shocked he is still on the Jets roster. When you are getting jumped on the roster by Tarik Black, you know your time is done with the Jets. He, Black, Abram, Charles, and Adams are all battling for either a roster spot or a practice squad role.
Tight End - C.J. Uzomah, Tyler Conklin, Jeremy Ruckert, Kenny Yeboah, and Lawrence Cager
I can’t believe I am saying this, but the Jets may finally have a Tight End on this team. This is a different feeling because Uzomah and Conklin were very impressive last season. Uzomah showed flashes in Cincinnati and was a piece on that squad until he suffered an injury that ended his season. Conklin was a guy the Vikings did not realize what they had as when Irv Smith got injured they didn’t feel confident with Conklin and ironically acquired Chris Herndon to their team. Conklin impressed and was getting better and better every week. Conklin made Minnesota regret acquiring Herndon. Hopefully, they both can translate with the Jets and impress. That's not all as the Jets decided to use a 3rd round draft pick on TE Jeremy Ruckert which is an interesting move that hopefully will work out long-term. Yeboah showed moments of brilliance during last year's training camp and in the preseason. Yeboah mainly was on the practice squad, but the coaching staff was very high on him. I would not completely rule him out of making a roster spot. One name that Is one of the Experimental players this season is Lawrence Cager. If that name sounds familiar well last year he mainly played wide receiver and is switching positions to Tight End. I mean it makes sense as Cager is a solid blocker and he has the size standing at 6’5’’. We will see how this experiment will go during the preseason.
Offensive tackle - George Fant, Mekhi Becton, Chuma Edoga, Connor McDermott, Max Mitchell, Parker Fergerson, Grant Hermanns, and Greg Senat
The Jets had a decision to make about whether they were going to go with Mekhi Becton at left tackle or George Fant. As of now, it looks like Fant will be the starting left tackle and Becton will start at right tackle. Which is the smart move as Fant was excellent last year at left tackle. Hopefully, Becton can stay healthy and has lost weight so he can produce for the Jets this season. The backup role could be won by anybody. Edoga and McDermott are the favorites but are not the most consistent along with having durability concerns. The Jets drafted Max Mitchell and hopefully, he can do something in the next few weeks. Fergerson, Hermanns, and Senat are battling for roster/practice squad spots.
Guard - Alijah Vera-Tucker, Laken Tomlinson, Nate Herbig, Isaiah Williams, Dru Samia, and Derrick Kelly
With the Jets signing Tomlinson to a big contract and Vera-Tucker impressing during his rookie season, it is obvious who will be the starters in week 1. Nate Herbig is an intriguing get by the Jets and there is a lot of hype surrounding him. Isaiah Williams was mainly a practice squad guy for the Jets, but it is clear the coaching staff is high on Williams. Williams has been a journeyman through his NFL career as well so he has experience. Kelly was a backup in New Orleans and on the practice squad with the Giants. With a change in scenery maybe he will perform better.
Center - Connor McGovern, Dan Feeney, and Ross Pierschbacher
It is clear that this is McGovern’s job to lose. I find it interesting that the Jets are experimenting with Feeney at Center. Feeney did not have a great season last year and often struggled when he played. Maybe the change could work as the Jets needed a backup and Feeney can be versatile. Ross Pierschbacher is an intriguing addition to the team and was a guy I was interested in as a late-round gem. He has not worked out as he flopped in Washington and during his time with Philadelphia he was on the part of the practice squad. I am interested to see how Pierschbacher performs this season.
Defensive Tackle - Quinnen Williams, John Franklin-Myers, Solomon Thomas, Sheldon Rankins, Jonathan Marshall, Tanzel Smart, and Nathan Shepherd
The Jets did not make a ton of moves at defensive tackle which was understandable as they had a ton of depth. But the only guy they brought in was Solomon Thomas who was connected to Robert Saleh during their stints in San Francisco. He was signed to a 1-year prove-it deal, so there is no long-term risk if Thomas flops. Williams and Franklin Myers should produce well as the starters while Rankins continues to be a rotational piece. Tanzel Smart, Jonathan Marshall, and Nathan Shepherd are all fighting for roster spots and we will see how it goes with them.
DE/EDGE Rusher - Carl Lawson, Jermaine Johnson, Josh Martin, Bryce Huff, Vinny Curry, Michael Clemons, Jabari Zuniga, and Hamilcar Rashed Jr.
It has been a while since I have been hyped up for the Pass rushing core for the Jets. I have never seen this much depth on the team for many years. The only pass rusher that impressed me was Bryce Huff and he is more of a fit as a rotational pass rusher. Carl Lawson did not play last year due to a Torn Achilles and hopefully, he has not lost a step when he is finally on the field for the Jets. Jermaine Johnson and Michael Clemons were selected in the 2022 NFL Draft. Hopefully, they can develop and transition well into the NFL. Josh Martin was an underrated player and was probably the best pass rushing-wise for the Houston Texans last season. Vinny Curry has a veteran presence on this team. In the case of Jabari Zuniga, I am shocked he is still on this team as he has been a disaster as a former 3rd round pick. Hamilcar Rashed Jr. showed flashes during the pre-season last season and could take a role on this roster if he continues to impress.
Linebacker - C.J. Mosley, Quincy Williams, Kwon Alexander, Hamsah Nasirildeen, Jamien Sherwood, Marcel Harris, Del’Shawn Phillips, and DQ Thomas
The Jets did not do too much to improve the linebacker core, excluding signing Kwon Alexander to a one-year deal. This could work as Alexander and Saleh have a connection in their time in San Francisco and Alexander played very well in Tampa Bay. He just needs to stay healthy which was his main issue during his time with the 49ers and Saints. CJ Mosley finally had started 16 games for the Jets and he was a big piece to this defense. Nasirildeen and Sherwood were the experimental players last year and hopefully, they can take the next step in their development. Del’Shawn Phillips was on the team last season and was not great. Harris and Thomas are battling for a roster spot, but it will be interesting to see how the linebackers perform.
Cornerback - D.J. Reed, Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, Bryce Hall, Michael Carter, Brandon Echols, Javelin Guidry, Justin Hardee, Isaiah Dunn, Luq Barcoo, and Rachad Wildgoose
The cornerback last year was clearly their biggest weakness last season. During the offseason, GM Joe Douglas did a fantastic job to fix it by signing CB DJ Reed in free agency and drafted Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner 4th overall in the 2022 NFL Draft. Bryce Hall was their best cornerback last year and should do well. Echols was solid last season and with another offseason of development. It looks like Michael Carter is going to play a hybrid role at safety and cornerback which is an interesting play by Saleh. Hardee, Guidry, Dunn, Barcoo, and Wildgoose are all battling for roles on the roster, but this core is definitely an improvement from last season.
Safety - Jordan Whitehead, Lamarcus Joyner, Jason Pinnock, Ashtyn Davis, Elijah Riley, Will Parks, Tony Adams, and Kai Nacua
Even the safety position underwent changes. With Marcus Maye gone, the Jets had to find a replacement for him and that guy is Jordan Whitehead. Joyner was given another chance after last year he suffered a season-ending injury. It looks like Pinnock is going to switch full-time to the safety position which is a smart move as he played well. With how crowded the cornerback crew was, It would not have shocked me if he would have been the odd man out. As for Ashtyn Davis, this is his last chance to show something as he has been abysmal throughout his career. It still amazes me that this team wasted a third-round pick that they got in the Leonard Williams trade on him. Elijah Riley last season was given hype but suffered injuries last season. Parks, Adams, and Nacua are fighting for a spot on the roster to play on special teams or via the practice squad.
Kicker - Eddy Pineiro and Greg Zuerlein
Another year, another kicker battle for the New York Jets. Reasons like this yearly position battle are why the same old Jets tagline has stuck for many years. The Jets have not had a kicker since Nick Folk. Jason Myers was close but for some reason, the Jets decided not to franchise tag him. Pineiro was pretty solid when he was kicking for the Jets last season. I would not call his job safe as he is facing Greg ‘The Leg” Zuerlein. Zuerlein was great during his time with the Rams, but during his latest tenure with the Cowboys, there was a lot of decline that was shown in his performances. But maybe he will look better with the Jets and beat Pineiro for the job.
Long Snapper - Thomas Hennessy
The longest-tenured New York Jets player on the roster is Thomas Hennessy and he will keep the streak alive for another year.
Punter - Braden Mann
The Jets as of now did not bring in any competition, so this is Braden Mann’s job to lose. Hopefully, he continues to perform well this upcoming season and stays healthy.