Zach Wilson, Mekhi Becton Highlight 12 Players to Watch Versus Panthers
As the Jets prepare to take on the Carolina Panthers in their second pre-season contest of the season, Zach Wilson, Mekhi Becton and a host of other young players will be worth keeping a close eye on to see how they’ve progressed from one week ago against the Browns. Here’s the full list of names we’ll be watching closely.
QB Zach Wilson: Wilson’s “reset” continues on after a surprisingly short outing last week in which he threw just 5 passes in limited action. With Chris Streveler no longer on the roster, we may see Wilson get an entire half of football on Saturday which will hopefully feature fare more pass attempts.
OT Mekhi Becton: Becton had an outing that could oddly be described as both very successful and even more disappointing. Expected to play roughly 25 snaps, Becton pulled himself from the game after only 7 reps. Citing the turf and his surgically reparied knee as the reason, the Jets hope to get far more out of Becton on Saturday. If the big man is hoping to win a starting role, he’s certainly not going to do it if he can’t show he can go a full game.
LB Chazz Surratt: Surratt was one of the Jets top performers against the Browns as he picked up 8 tackles and an interception on defense along with a solo tackle on special teams. The converted quarterback looks to have himself a huge fan in Robert Saleh who was downright giddy after watching Surratt against the Browns. Another strong performance or two could make him a roster lock.
C Joe Tippmann: Tippmann played more snaps than any other Jet player on Thursday night and looked outstanding doing it. Expect Tippmann to be the team’s starter at some point this season. How he fares early on could dictate just how soon that happens.
DE Ifeadi Odenigbo: This defensive line group is going to be a tough one to crack for a latecomer like Odengibo but he sure helped himself against the Browns. The veteran defensive end looked extremely quick off the ball and won his battles at the line of scrimmage. But can he get around the edge and to the QB after that initial first step? Odenigbo also flashed agianst the run while facing the Browns.
@nyjets DE Ifeadi Odenigbo had an excellent game coming off the edge to pressure the quarterback but this play against the run may have been his best of the night. Crashing down inside he recognizes the outside run, spins away from the blocker and picks up a TFL for -3 yards. pic.twitter.com/LAGyw0juVq
— Glenn Naughton (@JNRadio_Glenn) August 4, 2023
WR Jason Brownlee: Brownlee didn’t put up huge numbers in his pre-season debut (2 receptions for 17 yards) but he did show some shiftiness and ability to gain yards after the catch in tight spaces. Brownlee has been one of the most frequently mentioned players on the roster throughout camp as he seemingly makes plays day after day. Can he keep that up and make some big plays against somebody else’s secondary?
OLB Pita Taumoepenu: Why not? The reigning XFL defensive player of the year was added to the roster in recent days and will likely see a fair bit of action as the Jets starters sit another one out. Can Taumoepenu show he belongs in the NFL after striking out with 49ers, Falcons and Broncos?
TE Zach Kuntz: Kuntz didn’t do much in terms of catching the football but for anyone who keyed on him during the game, you would have noticed he was a far better blocker than advertised at draft time. Should that part of his game pick up in a hurry, his development may not be as far behind as many anticipated.
S Trey Dean: Dean had a team high seven solo tackles as he continues to push for a roster spot. With the Jets being as thin as they are as safety, Dean has a legit shot along with Marquis Waters.
Edge Bryce Huff: Huff’s 25 snaps were a big number for a guy who is projected to have a significant role on defense this season. One might even wonder if the high snap count was a case of Gang Green showcasing Huff for trade. If he logs another huge number against the Panthers, it’ll raise a few more eyebrows.
CB Javelin Guidry: Guidry has logged snaps at boundary and slot corner for the Jets and looked good on Thursday. With little depth behind Sauce Gardner and DJ Reed, Guidry’s experience and versatility give him a shot.
WR’s Xavier Gipson, Irv Charles and Malik Taylor: Okay, so we lied. We couldn’t do a list of players to watch that only included Brownlee at wide receiver. The roster battle at receiver is wide open and every pass catcher we’ve mentioned has stood out at one point or another. Gipson’s ability as a return man gives him a leg up on the competition but Charles would give them a big bodied speed guy while Taylor has history with Aaron Rodgers. Should be a fun battle.