Projecting the 53
🌟 Good Morning.
I hope all the basketball fans out there enjoyed last night’s draft, I’m eagerly anticipating the release of the Knicks Film School newsletter which will explain what exactly happened last night. The salary cap and the exhibit 10’s and the mid-level exceptions…I find it all a tad confusing, the NFL is so much simpler.
Today I’m going to spend some time taking a look at the roster and projecting the 53. A lot can change between now and cut-down day, and I’m sure the Jets will bring others into the fold, but here’s how I see it right now.
✍️ The Jets announced that Micheal Clemons had signed his rookie deal meaning there are only two draft picks yet to sign (Breece Hall & Max Mitchell). The projection is a 4-year contract worth $4.4 million with a $764k signing bonus.
📅 The NFL announced the training camp dates for all teams yesterday. The Jets rookies will head to Florham Park on the 19th of July with the veterans arriving a week later on the 26th.
🎓 TE University wraps up today. Zach Wilson was expected to be in attendance alongside teammates CJ Uzomah and Tyler Conklin, although I’ve only seen Conklin there in the images they’ve released on their social media accounts.
🐊 Former Jets third-round pick Jachai Polite is set to make his season debut for the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts this Saturday. Polite played 32 games for Florida, racking up 78 tackles, 26.5 TFL, 15 sacks, and eight forced fumbles…but failed to play a single snap for the Jets.
Quarterbacks (3) - Zach Wilson, Joe Flacco & Mike White
I thought about going two here and dropping White, but I think the organization really likes him and with Joe Flacco being 37 there is a little bit of a safety net here. Zach Wilson is the obvious starter with Flacco acting as the veteran backup, Saleh said at the end of last season that Flacco played a huge role after the midseason trade.
Running Backs (4) - Breece Hall, Michael Carter, Tevin Coleman, Ty Johnson
This is a position group I love because you have a little bit of everything. You have some youth and some experience, physicality, elusiveness, hands out the backfield and willing blockers. Hall and Carter will get the majority of the carries next season, but if injury strikes the Jets have two good players in Coleman and Johnson to fill in.
Full Back (1) - Trevon Wesco
This is a complete toss-up between Wesco and Nick Bawden, I’m slotting Wesco in here because we only saw 33 snaps from Bawden last year and it was hard to get a read. The better blocker will get the nod, I have a feeling if I do this again mid-way through camp it’ll be Bawden, but for now I’m going with Wesco.
Wide Receiver (6) - Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, Garrett Wilson, Braxton Berrios, Jeff Smith, Denzel Mims
I’m still a believer in Mims, and now that he’s finally healthy he’ll have an opportunity to make this roster. The coaches have spoken about his good attitude and confidence this off-season. The first four guys on the list pick themselves and Jeff Smith had a good OTA run and contributes on special teams.
Tight End (3) - CJ Uzomah, Tyler Conklin, Jeremy Ruckert
How nice is it to look at the depth chart and see plenty of talent within the TE group! It’s been a long time since we had so much potential with this position and it’s key to the offense we want to run. I wouldn’t be surprised if Conklin ended up being TE1 on here and Jeremy Ruckert the best-run blocker of the lot.
Offensive Line (9) - George Fant, Mekhi Becton, Laken Tomlinson, Connor McGovern, Alijah Vera-Tucker, Max Mitchell, Chuma Edoga, Dan Feeney, Nate Herbig.
I still don’t think we’re done adding to this group, but based on what we have in camp this is where my mind is at. I think Herbig could end up being a very nice pickup by Joe Douglas and I have Edoga beating out Connor McDermott, there isn’t a great deal to choose between them but Edoga is 4 years younger.
Defensive Line (9) - Quinnen Williams, Carl Lawson, John Franklin-Myers, Jermaine Johnson, Sheldon Rankins, Micheal Clemons, Jacob Martin, Solomon Thomas, Nathan Shepherd
The Jets have too many defensive linemen and not enough places. I thought about cutting Rankins from this list and adding Huff, considering JFM and Clemons are likely to see time inside at defensive tackle, it would also save the Jets some serious money. But I think he’ll make it which means Huff and Curry are the two on the outside looking in. There’s also no room for 2021 draft pick Jonathan Marshall here.
Linebackers (4) - C.J Mosley, Quincy Williams, Hamsah Nasrildeen, Jamien Sherwood.
It’s a good job the Jets find themselves playing a lot of sub-packages with only 2 linebackers because this position group is a bit dodgy. I like C.J and I like Quincy, although both need to improve their coverage, but beyond them, it’s a lot of unknown. It’s unclear when Sherwood will be good to go, but he’s an MLB in training and Hamsah barely played last year. I wanted to get DQ Thomas in here, but I’m going a player short.
Cornerback (7) - D.J Reed, Sauce Gardner, Michael Carter II, Bryce Hall, Brandin Echols, Javelin Guidry, Isaiah Dunn
Reed and Sauce are almost certainly starting outside and Michael Carter II had a fine rookie season as a slot corner, you then have outstanding depth with Hall and Echols (last years starters) acting as cover outside with Guidry MC II’s backup. You then have a battle for the final roster spot, Hardee may get it for his special teams but the Jets gave Dunn a big UDFA contract for a reason last year and they’re still high on him.
Safety (4) - Jordan Whitehead, LaMarcus Joyner, Ashtyn Davis, Jason Pinnock
I’m really high on this group, the addition of Whitehead gives it an identity and I’m excited to see what Joyner can do in his more natural free safety position after missing 2021 through injury. Davis will stick around because the team loves his athleticism and Jason Pinnock is entering his first full season as a safety.
Specialists (3) - Greg Zuerlein (K), Braden Mann (P), Thomas Hennessy (LS)
It’s going to be a straight battle between Greg Zuerlein and Eddy Piniero who kicked well for the Jets last year, but I’m going to take the seasoned veteran. To be honest the only player on this list I’m 100% comfortable projecting is Hennessy. The Jets only have one punter on the roster at the moment but that could change through camp and I think Mann should need to win that job.
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