Projected Positional Openings
☀️ Good Morning,
The big news today is the Jets won’t be returning to the UK in 2022 to face the Packers. It’s unusual for the NFL to bring the same team in back-to-back years but considering the agreement for the Jets to market in the UK there was an outside chance. Instead, we’ll get to see our flatmates instead with the New York Giants being chosen as the opponent for Aaron Rogers and his cheeseheads 🧀
🇬🇧 There are two more games in London, Vikings vs. Saints and Broncos vs. Jaguars. The NFL will also play their first game in Munich, which sees the Seahawks vs. Bucs.
🙀 We’re going to start today with another Rookie Mini-Camp invitee. Former Arizona Wildcat Trevon Mason will be attending this weekend. The Defensive Tackle finished the 2021 season with 42 tackles, 7.5 for loss, and 2.5 sacks, earning a Pac-12 honorable mention. He also registered 23 total pressures. Mason slimmed down from 305lbs to 290lbs for his pro day.
🍊 Jets have invited former Syracuse offensive lineman Airon Servais to rookie mini camp this weekend. Made 60 straight starts over 5 years. Played both tackle positions but spent the majority of his reps at center. Allowed 1 sack and 19 pressures in 2021 but was tagged for 7 sacks in 2020.
🤘 The Jets have also invited former McNeese State Cowboy and Texas Longhorn Darion Dunn to rookie camp. Dunn made 35 starts, recorded seven interceptions, and posted 83 tackles as well as 20 pass breakups before transferring to Texas before the 2021 season. The hope was that by transferring to a Power-5 school he would receive more draft attention, but Dunn made just one start and played only 314 snaps over 12 games. As a Longhorn fan, I thought Dunn looked good when he played and I didn’t understand the reluctance of defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski to play him more.
😎 In an interview yesterday with WFAN, Joe Douglas confirmed that Jets left tackle Mekhi Becton is still rehabbing his injury sustained in week one against the Carolina Panthers, but dismissed any concerns with the process “I think it was a situation where it really isn’t anyone’s fault — player, medical — this [injury] just took longer than anyone predicted, and it wasn’t for a lack of effort or trying,” Douglas said. “It just ran a little long.” - Douglas also confirmed that Becton should be good to go by the time training camp rolls around.
1️⃣ PFF may not be crazy about the Jets draft but the Athletic’s Dane Brugler ranked it as the #1 draft haul - "The Jets made seven picks in this year's draft, and I think they nailed each one, making it tough to narrow down my favorite pick from the class," Brugler wrote. "But I have to go with my top wide receiver and the new Wilson-to-Wilson connection for the Jets.
🫂 Brian Costello had Joe Douglas on his podcast and there were a few good snippets, including this one on Jermaine Johnson - 'We're celebrating after Garrett, everyone is celebrating, high-fiving, hugging, we get to a point around 13/14 you kind of lose track on what's happening for a few minutes then Robert hits me on the shoulder 'Hey man, let's go get Jermaine''
💪 He also had a note on Denzel Mims which is interesting: ‘Denzel has come back with real fire, the last two weeks plus here on the field in OTA’s, you can tell Denzel put a ton of work in this off-season, he’s in phenomenal shape, he’s moving around great, I mean he’s running like a deer, seeing him out there building camaraderie with his teammates, it’s great to see, he’s one of the 3 high draft pick investments we’ve made here in the last three years (WR). To see him come back with the right mindset, the right mentality, in great shape ready to compete, it’s awesome”
Joe Douglas has said that with only making 7 picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, there were positions the Jets just couldn’t address because that was the way the draft board fell. He went on to say that the Jets would be focused on the UDFA pool this weekend, which may result in some guys getting contracts and training camp invites later in the summer. He also mentioned that like with the Morgan Moses signing last off-season, the Jets would be keeping an eye on cuts by other teams.
But how many positional openings are there really? I took last year’s final 53 which indicates how many players may be carried at each position and estimated how many positions are up for grabs. Below we have the final 53 positional breakdown to give us an indication for 2022.
Running Backs (4)
Wide Receivers (7)
Tight Ends (4)
Offensive Line (8)
Defensive Line (9)
Defensive Backs (10)
Quarterback Openings: 0
Zach Wilson is the starter and Joe Flacco has his 2021 contract mostly guaranteed ($2.85 mill guaranteed). If the Jets decide to carry a 3rd QB it’s likely going to be Halloween hero Mike White. White has no guaranteed money on his 2022 deal and seems as though the Jets would opt for the experience of Flacco this year.
Likely: Zach Wilson, Joe Flacco
In the running: Mike White, Nick Starkel (UDFA), Breylin Smith (UDFA), Liam Welsh (UDFA)
Running Back Openings: 1
If the Jets decide to carry four running backs again in 2022, three of those spots are already likely secured. 2022 second-round pick Breece Hall, 2021 starter Michael Carter, and veteran Tevin Coleman are all likely to make the team. Tevin Coleman is only signed a one-year deal with $400k guaranteed so there is a chance there are 2 openings here.
Likely: Breece Hall, Michael Carter, Tevin Coleman
In the running: Ty Johnson, LaMical Perine, Austin Walter, Zonovan Knight (UDFA), DeAndre Torrey (UDFA), LD Brown (UDFA), John Chenal (UDFA, FB).
Wide Receiver Openings: 3
If the Jets do carry 7 wide receivers then four are already guaranteed. Elijah Moore, Garrett Wilson, Corey Davis, and Braxton Berrios are here to stay. Chances are Denzel Mims will get another year as well considering how he’s returned to New York after the off-season, but you can put him in the “Likely” category if you like. D.J Montgomery and Jeff Smith will start with the inside track on the two final spots and there is special team value there, but there are two places up for grabs.
Likely: Garrett Wilson, Elijah Moore, Corey Davis, Braxton Berrios
In the running: Denzel Mims, D.J Montgomery, Jeff Smith, Rodney Adams, Tarik Black, Irvin Charles (UDFA), Keshunn Abram (UDFA), Ron Hunt (UDFA), Marquis McClain (UDFA)
Tight End Openings: 1
This is a strange one as the Jets counted Trevon Wesco against the TE count last year, but he was largely a FB. So I’m going to make sure I put John Chenal in here as well as the RB section. No other position group has had quite the makeover as the Jets TE room. Uzomah, Conklin and Ruckerts are all here and are all guaranteed spots on the roster, so the battle is really for that 4th spot which is likely going to be for a FB.
Likely: C. J. Uzomah, Tyler Conklin, Jeremy Ruckert
In the running: Kenny Yeboah, Lawrence Cager, Brandon Dillon, Trevon Wesco (FB), Nick Bawden (FB), John Chenal (FB)
Offensive Line Openings: 2
The Jets currently have 16 offensive lineman on the roster, you don’t need me to tell you that 16 to 8 doesn’t quite compute. There are 6 players on the currently roster who are pretty much guaranteed their spots, which means there are 2 up for grabs. Due to salary and history I would say we’ll get one inside and one outside guy, GVR has the inside track but Dan Feeney can play guard or center which may give him a leg up on the compeition. I do think we’ll carry either Edoga or McDermott.
Likely: George Fant, Laken Tomlinson, Connor McGovern, Alijah Vera-Tucker, Mekhi Becton, Max Mitchell
In the running: Chuma Edoga, Dan Feeney, Parker Ferguson, Grant Hermanns, Connor McDermott, Ross Pierschbacher, Dru Samia, Greg Senat, Gren Van Roten, Isaiah Williams, Airon Servais (UDFA)
Defensive line Openings: 2
Last year the Jets carried 9 players on the defensive line and they currently have 17 on the roster and 21 players in contention if you count the four defensive lineman that we know of who will be attending rookie camp this weekend. This is going to be one of the more interesting battles through the summer, Jonathan Marshall going into year two will need to prove he’s improved his game and all four UDFA’s have talent. Solomon Thomas has history with Saleh and the team value Curry’s veteran leadership.
Likely: John Franklin-Myers, Bryce Huff, Carl Lawson, Jermaine Johnson, Sheldon Rankins, Quinnen Williams, Micheal Clemons
In the running: Bradlee Anae, Vinny Curry, Jonathan Marshall, Jacob Martin, Hamilcar Rashed Jr, Nathan Shephard, Tanzel Smart, Solomon Thomas, Tim Ward, Jabari Zuniga, Savion Williams (UDFA), C.J Brewer (UDFA), Ali Fayad (UDFA), Trevon Mason (UDFA).
Linebacker Openings: 3
This may be the weakest position group on paper and I’d say this is the group where we’re most likely to see a UDFA stick. The Jets like Quincy and C.J and there was positive buzz around Sherwood last season before his injury, which is why he made it to the list, but outside of those three guys there is a lot of unknown. Marcell Harris played for Robert Saleh in San Francisco and Del’Shawn Phillips offers special team value. DQ Thomas is my favourite UDFA pickup and I’d bet on him making the final 53 if the Jets carry 6 linebckers again.
Likely: C. J. Mosley, Quincy Williams, Jamien Sherwood
In the running: Marcell Harris, Hamsah Nasrildeen, Del’Shawn Phillips, Javin White, DQ Thomas (UDFA), Marvin Terry (UDFA), Tyler Dressler (UDFA)
Defensive Back Openings: -1
This position group is now absolutely loaded after the free-agent signings of Reed and Whitehead, and the drafting of Sauce Gardner. You may notice there are 11 players in the likely column because I can’t decide which one is likely to miss out. I can’t see there being any surprises but we somehow need to turn that 11 into 10…unless we want to carry 11 defensive backs in 2022. Justin Hardee is a special teams ace and one of the main leaders in the locker room. If you’re in the “in the running” group, I don’t like your chances.
Likely: Sauce Gardner, D. J. Reed, Jordan Whitehead, LaMarcus Joyner, Michael Carter II, Ashtyn Davis, Brandin Echols, Javelin Guidry, Bryce Hall, Justin Hardee, Jason Pinnock.
In the running: Isaiah Dunn, Zane Lewis, Jovante Moffat, Kai Nacua, Will Parks, Elijah Riley, Rachad Wildgoose, Allan George (UDFA), Jeremy Webb (UDFA), Tony Adams (UDFA), D. J. Ford (UDFA), Elijah Reed (UDFA), Darion Dunn (UDFA).
Specilist Openings: 2
This is a difficult one to project, there is no reason to move on from Thomas Hennessy who’s been one of the most consistent long snappers in the league for a long time, but outside of that the kicker and punter jobs are up for grabs. Nobody has nailed those places down for the Jets and if Zach Holding doesn’t impress in rookie camp I fully expect the Jets to find another punter to compete with Braden Mann in training camp.
Likely: Thomas Hennessy (LS)
In the running: Braden Mann, Eddy Pineiro, Greg Zuerlein, Zach Holding (UDFA), Billy Taylor (UDFA)
By my count, there are 14 openings available on this Jets roster and 39 players who are pretty much guaranteed their spot. It’s far too early to really project who will fill those 13 spots as we haven’t even got to mandatory camp and there’s a good chance the Jets will add some veterans after cuts as well, but I hope this shows where the positional battles are more likely to take place. How nice is it to have a defensive backs group that looks so strong, on paper at least.
Michael Nania of Jets X Factor writes that Jets GM Joe Douglas is keeping the promise that Mike Maccagnan never could: “Unlike Douglas, who is walking the talk, Maccagnan’s vow to support Darnold turned out to be nothing but an empty promise. Maccagnan did an embarrassingly poor job of building a supporting cast for Darnold, ultimately leading to the young passer’s demise in New York”
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