After two preseason games, five players had to be released from the NY Jets roster as they had to cut their roster from 85 to 80 players. The next stage of roster cuts comes on August 30th, when they need to get all the way to the final 53. Unlike past years, the Jets coaching staff and front office must make tough decisions at multiple positions. That speaks to the depth and talent general manager Joe Douglas has acquired over the last seven months. Tight end, defensive line, and linebacker are three positions to watch in the coming days.
Continuing our annual tradition of predicting the final 53-man roster, starting with the offense:
- On the shelf for roughly 2-4 weeks with a bone bruise and meniscus tear in his right knee, Wilson will be eased along in his rehab until 100% healthy, where he will then assume his role as the starter again, according to Jets head coach Robert Saleh.
- It is like Flacco will have to start Week 1 vs his former team, the Baltimore Ravens, while Wilson is recovering from his knee injury. Expectations should be tempered, but Flacco is a veteran, so at the very least he should be able to run the offense efficiently and keep the Jets in ball games.
- For now, the Jets have to keep White on the roster as Flacco’s backup, at least until Wilson returns. Then, the team may try to sneak him onto the practice squad (unlikely) or look to trade him for a late-round draft pick. He didn’t have a great performance on MNF, so Chris Streveler could push him for his spot after another big game.
- Carter looks to play another integral role in this offense, but this time he will have a bit more talent around him to help him grow. Even if he is the “1B” in the backfield to Breece Hall, there’s no reason why he can’t improve on his rookie season totals. Less is more will lead to positive returns from Michael Carter.
- A rookie picked so high in the second round that the team actually thought about trading into the 1st round again to select him, Hall is already showing his dynamic playmaking ability in camp. He had a beautiful breakaway run against the Falcons in joint practice sessions, and he looks the part in the pass game as well as in pass protection. Big things are on the horizon for Hall, who is already an Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate.
- Infusing some veteran leadership into the position, Coleman continues his journey with the Jets and Robert Saleh. He is familiar with the offense, and also provides a spark as the backup returner on special teams. The young backs have leaned on him immensely.
- A rookie UDFA out of N.C. State, Zonovan Knight flashed both in the run game and on special teams, setting up the Jets for their game-winning drive against the Eagles on a great kick return to the -42. If he continues to stack good days that result in productive games, he should be able to push past La’Mical Perine and Ty Johnson, even Coleman, on the depth chart as the legitimate RB3/4.
- A player who can’t stop generating buzz in training camp, Moore has made play after play in practice, making it look easy against the Falcons star cornerback A.J. Terrell. He is on track to be the Jets leading receiver, and there’s no doubt from the coaching staff that he will become everything they want him to be, and more.
- After an admitted down year from both a performance and mental standpoint in 2021, Davis is primed for a bounce back season. He worked on his conditioning this offseason and his stamina and route running ability has improved because of it. While the Jets like to lean on their smaller, shiftier players, the role for Davis could be massive if he hits the ground running.
- Expectations surrounding a rookie selected in the top 10 are generally high, but it seems as though Wilson is the forgotten man. He has already shown that he was worth the investment, making highlight catches and creating tons of separation in the game against the Eagles. The Jets have a plethora of young talent at receiver, and Wilson will be a key piece to the offense.
- After inking a new 2-year/$12M contract back in the spring, Berrios is locked in as the team’s primary kick and punt returner, as well as a “gadget” player on offense. His chemistry with Zach Wilson is palpable, and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur loved to use him in the redzone on his beloved trick plays.
- While I think many fans would prefer the Jets keep Denzel Mims, Smith has shown more versatility with a skill set that better matches what the offense asks from their receivers. There’s a reason he has survived 3 regime changes by the organization.
- The former Cincinnati Bengal coming off an injury, Uzomah brings veteran leadership to one of the youngest teams in the league. He will be a consistently reliable target over the middle for either Joe Flacco or Zach Wilson.
- Another incoming free agent at the tight end position, Conklin already has shown why the Jets had interest. He developed an instant chemistry with Zach Wilson and he will likely be the tight end OC Mike LaFleur will use the most in the pass game.
- A rookie from Ohio State and a lifelong Jets fan, Ruckert has been playing catch up all summer after suffering a foot injury in February. He scored a touchdown against the Eagles and looked the part in limited blocking opportunities.
- A converted wide receiver turned tight end, Cager brings athleticism to the position and can excel in the passing game. If he can develop in the run game as a blocker, he has a chance to be a great depth piece. Cager had a nice 34-yard TD from Streveler on a crossing route against the Falcons.
- The newest veteran addition to the Jets, Brown comes in with an immediate familiarity with both Saleh and the scheme. At 37 years old, it’s unsure exactly what you will get, but the staff is confident that the team won’t take a step back with Brown in the lineup. He was a Pro Bowler for the Seahawks in 2021.
- The ultimate definition of a team player, Fant has long deserved a contract extension from Joe Douglas and the Jets. He has switched positions multiple times, and despite playing better last year on the left side, accepted the challenge of moving back in favor of the aforementioned Brown. Fant is someone that should be locked in for the short-term at the very least.
- Although he suffered a knee injury during training camp, McDermott is a player the coaches speak highly of. He may not be the best backup tackle option in the league, but compared to Chuma Edoga and others, he is the one they should feel most comfortable with.
- A fourth round rookie from Louisiana, Mitchell is one of three players that was drafted by the Jets that participated in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. He has gotten a ton of work in the preseason with the veteran tackles sitting out, and the hope is he can be the long-term swing tackle. Hopefully neither he nor McDermott will have to start at any point this season.
- A Pro-Bowl free agent from the San Francisco 49ers, Tomlinson is likely the team’s best player on either side of the ball. Whether run blocking or in pass protection, he is more than reliable and will only make the players around him better.
- Entering his second season in the league, Vera-Tucker looks to build off a positive 2021 campaign. He made a switch from left to right guard due to the addition of Tomlinson, but he has played every spot on the offensive line except center in college, so the transition has not been tough for him.
- After a rough 2020 season with the team, McGovern bounced back and had a solid finish to 2021. He has the ability to be an above average center, and he will only benefit from having Tomlinson playing next to him.
- Playing on his second 1-year deal, Feeney is the backup interior lineman with the most experience. In limited action in 2021 he did a solid job, but is not someone you can rely on as a starter.
- Another interior lineman that was acquired this offseason, Herbig will be a backup guard who will only play if an injury occurs. While not a strength, the Jets need depth with experience and Herbig fits that mold.
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