53-man Roster Projection; Tough Cuts Ahead for Gang Green
The Jets have wrapped up their first two preseason games with a few weeks of training camp practices mixed in, giving us a decent idea as to who has a chance to stick after Gang Green cuts their roster from 90 to 53. One thing that’s clear up to this point is that General Manager Mike Maccagnan is going to have some tough decisions to make with many of those being tied to some of his recent draft choices.
It’s not uncommon for an NFL GM to give his own draft picks a bit more leeway than non draft picks, but that doesn’t make it right. When final cut day comes, here’s who we think will be left standing.
Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater, Josh McCown
Bridgewater is likely to be dealt at some point, but the Jets will look to get max value and hold on to him heading in to the season, waiting for a team with an injury or struggling veteran to step up and offer fair value. Darnold gets the keys and is hopefully the team’s answer at quarterback for the next two decades.
Running Back (4):
Isaiah Crowell, Bilal Powell, Trenton Cannon, Eli McGuire
Crowell and Powell will split carries with McGuire and Cannon being worked in from time to time. All four backs are multi-dimensional and have skill sets that should fit nicely in a wast coast offense. No fullback on the initial 53 as neither one on the roster fully offers what Jeremy Bates needs.
Wide Receiver (6):
Robby Anderson, Jermaine Kearse, Quincy Enunwa, Terrelle Pryor, Chad Hansen, Andre Roberts
This could be a bit of a test for Maccagnan. There’s no denying that both Tre McBride and Charles Johnson have had far better camps than Hansen, whom Maccagnan drafted last season. Hansen flashed in limited reps last season and during OTA’s and minicamp. Since then, he hasn’t made much noise at all. Does the GM go with his pick or the better performer due to the belief of a higher ceiling? If Anderson sees a suspension from the league for disciplinary issues, it leaves room for Tre McBride or Charles Johnson for a few weeks. Andre Roberts sticks as a punt returner.
Suspended: Ardarius Stewart
Tight Ends (4):
Chris Herndon, Eric Tomlinson, Jordan Leggett, Neal Sterling
No tougher group to cut down than this one. All have looked very good from day one with Leggett looking like a long shot due to his injury issues. However, Leggett has been on the field and playing well over the past couple of weeks. Maccagnan will likely opt to keep the draft pick (Leggett) over veteran Clive Walford. Tomlinson can step in at FB when needed. No matter which combination the Jets choose, the future at the position looks bright.
Offensive Line (9):
Kelvin Beachum, James Carpenter, Spencer Long, Brian Winters, Brandon Shell, Brent Qvale, Dakota Dozier, Jonotthan Harrison, Ben Braden
There’s a significant injury history among the Jets starters as Beachum, Long and Winters have all missed large chunks of time in recent years. They’ll need to have some depth along the O-line so they go with nine bodies. Braden has had a solid camp and beats out Travis Swanson for the final spot.
Defensive Line (6):
Leonard Williams, Steve McLendon, Nathan Shepherd, Henry Anderson, Mike Pennel, Folorunso Fatukasi
There’s some good depth here with a good mix of veterans and youth. Shepherd and Anderson will likely rotate heavily opposite Leonard Williams. Anderson played an excellent game against the Redskins and has shown throughout camp that he’s capable of regaining the form he showed a few seasons ago with the Colts when he was one of the top young 3-4 DE’s in the NFL. Fatukasi’s overpowering strength has shown itself throughout camp, giving him a chance to earn some valuable reps. Xavier Cooper is another tough cut. He’s had a very good camp, but it’s a numbers game.
Inside Linebacker (4):
Avery Williamson, Darron Lee, Neville Hewitt, Kevin Minter
The best tandem the Jets could start in the middle of their defense would be Williamson next to Hewitt or Kevin Pierre-Louis when he returns from his suspension. As a former first-round pick, Darron Lee isn’t going anywhere as his release would mean $6 million in dead money. The Jets would be better off using Lee as a situational pass rusher while Hewitt or Pierre-Louis take his job.
Suspended (Kevin Pierre-Louis)
Outside Linebacker (4):
Jordan Jenkins, Josh Martin, Brandon Copeland, Frankie Luvu
Jenkins is entrenched as the starter on the strong with Martin likely to win the starting job on the opposite side. Dylan Donahue is likely to get slapped with a suspension early in the season for multiple DUI’s and undrafted free agent Frankie Luvu has impressed coaches throughout camp. David Bass should have a chance to stick, but his reps have been
Projected Suspension: Dylan Donahue
Trumaine Johnson, Morris Claiborne, Buster Skrine, Darryl Roberts, Parry Nickerson, Derrick Jones
The presence of Johnson means a huge upgrade at the Jets top corner spot while Claiborne offers an improvement at the number two spot. While still inconsistent, Buster Skrine had his best season as a Jet in 2017 under DB coach Dennard Wilson and hopes to build on that this season. Parry Nickerson has looked fantastic in training camp along with last year’s sixth-round draft choice Derrick Jones who has shown off his athleticism on several occasions. We’re going with Roberts as the veteran depth.
Suspended: Rashard Robinson
Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye, Doug Middelton, JJ Wilcox
This is a versatile group that Todd Bowles can use to offer multiple looks. Bowles would be wise to send Adams after the quarterback off the edge when he needs a play while using other safeties in coverage. Adams may be the best pass rusher on the roster. If Bridgewater is dealt before the season starts, Terrence Brooks could earn a spot here.
Lac Edwards, Jason Myers, Thomas Hennessy
This could easily change as the Jets look prepared to begin a round of musical kickers. Myers was added a couple of days ago and they’ve already scheduled a workout with Kai Forbath with Cairo Santos struggling to stay healthy.