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5 NY Jets who need to shine at the Green & White Practice

Denzel Mims is one of the 5 NY Jets with a big chance to shine at the Green and White Scrimmage.
Denzel Mims, NY Jets, Getty Images

NY Jets return to MetLife Stadium for Green and White Scrimmage

The New York Jets are welcoming fans back to MetLife Stadium for the first time since they claimed a 16-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on December 22, 2019.

On Saturday night, the Jets will be conducting their annual Green and White Scrimmage practice in an event open to fans. In the past, these practices have primarily featured 11-on-11 drills between the offense and the defense (and special teams).

Head coach Robert Saleh stated on Friday that these practices will not feature crossovers between different levels of the depth chart. The first-team offense will face the first-team defense, and so on.

Obviously, no player’s fortune will be made or broken at this scrimmage – it’s one measly practice – but there are a few players who have a unique opportunity to steer their futures in the right direction with an impressive performance.

George Fant

George Fant was activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list on Friday. He had been working off to the side throughout the Jets’ recent training camp practices.

Fant is slated to defend his starting right tackle job against newcomer Morgan Moses in a competition declared by Robert Saleh. If Fant does participate in the scrimmages on Saturday night, this will be his first opportunity to begin showing the coaching staff that he deserves to reprise his role on the right side.

Moses is the more durable and accomplished player of the two, but Fant might be the better scheme fit. His tremendous mobility would work perfectly in the Jets’ wide-zone rushing attack.

Denzel Mims

Denzel Mims has arguably been the Jets’ most scrutinized player of training camp thus far.

The second-year wideout has slipped down the depth chart, most often running with the second and third-team units while ceding some first-team reps to Vyncint Smith.

While Elijah Moore, Corey Davis, and even Braxton Berrios have continuously drawn eyeballs with standout plays in practice, Mims has not created much positive buzz. Keelan Cole and Jamison Crowder have also seemed to stand out more frequently than Mims.

It goes without saying that preseason games will be more important for Mims (and all players) than the Green and White Scrimmage, but this is the team’s first event of the offseason in which the spotlight will be noticeably brighter than it is for the typical practice.

Mims needs to shine in these big moments to make up the ground he has lost.

Brandin Echols

Bryce Hall and Bless Austin have been the Jets’ primary first-team cornerbacks on the outside this offseason. However, Robert Saleh and Jeff Ulbrich have not hesitated to give other young players a shot with the starting defense.

Sixth-round rookie Brandin Echols was given some first-team reps on Wednesday and Thursday, typically replacing Hall and playing opposite Austin in those instances.

While Echols was an outside cornerback at Kentucky, his 179-pound frame would have made him one of the 10 lightest cornerbacks in the NFL last year. His slightness has made a move to the slot seem like a possibility, but it appears that the Jets do indeed see Echols remaining on the outside in the NFL (at least for now).

The Green and White Scrimmage will be a golden opportunity for Echols to show that he deserves more than just a “look” with the starting lineup and can actually make a legitimate case to start.

Isaiah Dunn

Echols is not the only rookie cornerback who has been given a shot with the starters. Undrafted rookie Isaiah Dunn has also seen some first-team reps.

At the Jets’ most recent practice, Dunn replaced Austin with the first-team defense, taking the field opposite Hall.

Saleh recently stated that he wants cornerbacks with “fearlessness” who can “win on third down,” primarily in 1-on-1 battles. This is an area where Dunn has a sizable edge over his competitors.

Dunn is the only outside cornerback on the roster who had excellent man coverage numbers in 2020, giving up a 38.9% completion rate and 5.2 yards per target when covering man-to-man for Oregon State.

The Jets handed out $185,000 in guaranteed money to Dunn, which is reportedly the largest total ever promised to an undrafted free agent cornerback. They clearly value him extremely highly for an undrafted player.

Michael Carter

From a hype standpoint, offensive skill position players have a big advantage in practice settings. They can make plays that will be shared on social media and generate positive energy amongst fans and reporters. Many other positions get few or no opportunities to make these plays.

This means that the Green and White Scrimmage presents an opportunity for someone within the Jets’ deep running back competition to bust out an eye-popping play or two to get the crowd going and generate some serious positive buzz.

All eyes will be on fourth-round pick Michael Carter.

There has not been a clear standout from the Jets’ running back room in training camp thus far. Multiple players have gotten first-team reps and everyone has had their moment in the limelight.

Carter has appeared to show the brightest flashes of the bunch, but he has also had some rookie mistakes, including some dropped passes. Tevin Coleman and Ty Johnson have received positive reviews. La’Mical Perine seems to have been a mixed bag while Josh Adams has been quiet.

It’s time for Carter to bring everything together and showcase his big-play capabilities under the bright lights of East Rutherford – but he has to do it while impressing the coaching staff with his fundamentals as well.

If Carter can crank out a handful of huge gains while remaining fundamentally sound – pass-blocking well, avoiding any drops or fumbles, and making good decisions when reading blocks as a rusher – Carter could win over the fans and the coaching staff in the same night.

That would give him a chance to establish himself as the clear head honcho in the running back room entering next week’s preseason-prep practices.

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