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New York Jets’ initial 53-man roster: Rapid reaction

Sam Darnold, Joe Douglas, Mekhi Becton, Connor McGovern
Jet X Graphic, Getty Images, AP Photo

Rapid reaction to the New York Jets’ initial 53-man roster that features plenty of defensive linemen and edge players.

Lions and tigers and defensive linemen, oh my.

For the second-straight year, the New York Jets have kept a great number of defensive linemen. The number is seven, to be exact, and those guys combined with another seven edge players make for a loaded (14) Jets defenders who can play at the line of scrimmage.

The 2019 Jets’ initial 53 featured nine interior defensive linemen to go along with four edge players (13 in total). So to think this number is a great departure from some longstanding tradition is to simply forget how initial 53-man rosters work.

Expect tremendous change in the coming hours and days.

Quarterbacks (3)

  1. Sam Darnold
  2. Joe Flacco
  3. James Morgan

The fact Joe Flacco passed his physical means the Jets are likely headed to feature four quarterbacks on the roster. Flacco is expected to miss the first two or three games. Banking on young James Morgan as Sam Darnold‘s backup would be a tough situation.

Expect either Mike White or David Fales back on the roster prior to Week 1. One or both can also hop on the extended practice squad.

Running Backs (3)

  1. Le’Veon Bell
  2. Frank Gore
  3. La’Mical Perine

The Jets must feel good about La’Mical Perine’s injured ankle. If they feared missed time, dressing just two running backs in Orchard Park would be foolish.

Josh Adams gets the pink slip and away the backs go with just three.

Wide Receivers (7)

  1. Breshad Perriman
  2. Denzel Mims
  3. Jamison Crowder (Slot)
  4. Braxton Berrios
  5. Chris Hogan
  6. Jeff Smith
  7. Vyncint Smith

Expect Vyncint Smith to be moved to a reserve list thanks to his surgery, which should open a roster spot for Joe Douglas. Not keeping Lawrence Cager is a shocker considering his unique skill set. You simply cannot teach catching the ball at the high-point and in traffic.

Not keeping the kid signals the idea they might be concerned about injury at the position. With Breshad Perriman and Denzel Mims banged up, adding another oft-injured wideout to the mix is a tough decision to make.

Cager to the practice squad seems about right.

Chris Herndon
Jet X Graphic, Getty Images

Tight Ends (3)

  1. Chris Herndon
  2. Ryan Griffin
  3. Trevon Wesco (FB)

As suspected, Daniel Brown was on the outs. The Jets keep three tight ends which makes sense considering Adam Gase’s penchant to trot out 11 personnel.

Tackles (3)

  1. Mekhi Becton (LT)
  2. George Fant (RT)
  3. Chuma Edoga

Conor McDermott can also play tackle in a pinch (right tackle), which allows flexibility.

Guards (4)

  1. Alex Lewis (LG)
  2. Greg Van Roten (RG)
  3. Cameron Clark
  4. Conor McDermott

Four guards and three tackles make seven of the eight total offensive linemen kept, which is a surprisingly low number at the unit.

Centers (1)

  1. Connor McGovern

The Jonotthan Harrison and Josh Andrews cuts mean the Jets enter the season (as of right now) with no true backup center. Greg Van Roten and Cameron Clark could play center in a pinch if asked.

The Jets kept 24 total offensive players.

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Interior Defensive Linemen (7)

  1. Quinnen Williams
  2. Steve McLendon (NT)
  3. Henry Anderson
  4. Kyle Phillips
  5. Folorunso Fatukasi
  6. Nathan Shepherd
  7. John Franklin-Myers

There’s a number of 14 floating out there—the total of defensive linemen the Jets kept. It’s not 14. In the 3-4 base on paper, the team kept seven interior defensive linemen which are actually two fewer than the nine they kept last year.

Edge Players (7)

  1. Jordan Jenkins
  2. Tarell Basham
  3. Frankie Luvu
  4. Jabari Zuniga
  5. Jordan Willis
  6. Harvey Langi
  7. Bryce Huff

The shocker of the day is Bryce Huff making the squad after doing very little in camp. Perhaps Gregg Williams is shooting for the stars at a desperate position of need.

Whether or not some outlets list Jabari Zuniga, Jordan Willis and Huff at defensive line does not matter. All seven of these guys essentially play outside (whether 4-3 defensive end of 3-4 outside linebacker).

The 14 interior defensive linemen and edge players will dwindle down as time marches forward and other needs surface.

Inside Linebackers (4)

  1. Neville Hewitt
  2. Avery Williamson
  3. Blake Cashman
  4. Patrick Onwuasor

Patrick Onwuasor‘s availability to begin the season is in serious doubt. Aside from that, this position is pretty straightforward. Remember, James Burgess Jr. also did not make the initial 53 a year ago.

Blessuan Austin
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Cornerbacks (5)

  1. Blessuan Austin
  2. Pierre Desir
  3. Brian Poole (Slot)
  4. Arthur Maulet
  5. Quincy Wilson

Nate Hairston did not make it (which does not surprise me) while Bryce Hall will start the season on a reserve list.

Safeties (3)

  1. Marcus Maye (SS)
  2. Bradley McDougald (FS)
  3. Ashtyn Davis

There’s just no chance the Jets enter Week 1 with only eight defensive backs. Special teams in the NFL in 2020 features smaller, faster players. This means the number of linebackers can be minimized in favor of more defensive backs and/or wide receivers.

The Jets kept 26 total defensive players.

Special Teams (3)

There are no surprises here. Once Brett Maher was released, Sam Ficken, Braden Mann and Thomas Hennessy fill out the team’s special teams trio.

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