Predicting the New York Jets’ 53-man roster
The New York Jets have completed their preseason schedule, leaving them with a small window of time to cut their roster down from 80 players to 53.
After a 3-0 performance, the Jets’ roster appears deeper than it has in quite some time. Some tough cuts will have to be made.
Without further ado, here’s my prediction for how the Jets’ 53-man roster will look when we arrive at Tuesday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline.
- Zach Wilson, Joe Flacco, Mike White
- Tough cuts: Chris Steveler
Chris Streveler is the most popular man in the New York City area following his run of three consecutive fourth-quarter comebacks. He significantly outplayed Mike White across the preseason.
If it were up to me, I would keep Streveler over White. In my opinion, White’s resume is not strong enough to keep his roster spot safe despite being significantly outplayed.
But this is a prediction, not my opinion. I think the Jets will roll with the player who was higher on the depth chart throughout the entire offseason and has logged far more practice and game reps in this offensive scheme.
Once Zach Wilson is fully healthy, though, I foresee the Jets dropping their third quarterback in favor of a tough-cut at another position who began the year on the practice squad. I don’t think the Jets would have kept a third quarterback if Wilson never got injured. His injury will lead to someone at another position being left off the initial 53.
Running backs: 3
- Michael Carter, Breece Hall, Tevin Coleman
- Tough cuts: Zonovan Knight, Nick Bawden
Nick Bawden has a good chance to make this roster as a fullback, but after missing all of the preseason due to injury, he did not get a chance to impress the team. I think the Jets will keep a fourth tight end (who will get to later) instead of Bawden.
Zonovan Knight is a strong practice squad candidate.
Tight ends: 4
- Tyler Conklin, C.J. Uzomah, Jeremy Ruckert, Trevon Wesco
- Tough cuts: Lawrence Cager, Kenny Yeboah
I’m going with Trevon Wesco over Nick Bawden for that fourth TE/FB roster spot. Wesco’s versatility makes him a good choice for one of the final roster spots. He can line up both as a fullback and as an in-line tight end.
Lawrence Cager put up some good receiving numbers this preseason and does have a real shot to make the team. It just depends on what the Jets want out of that final TE/FB spot: receiving or blocking? Cager should be the choice if it’s the former, but if it’s the latter – which I think is more likely given this offensive scheme’s affinity for blockers – then the Jets will probably try to get Cager onto the practice squad.
Wide receivers: 6
- Elijah Moore, Corey Davis, Garrett Wilson, Braxton Berrios, Jeff Smith, Denzel Mims
- Tough cuts: Calvin Jackson
I think there is a realistic chance that Denzel Mims gets traded before the regular season, but I don’t see it happening before tomorrow’s deadline. If he is not traded by 4 p.m. tomorrow, he will be on the team.
There is also a real chance that the Jets simply keep Mims despite his trade request. The team does not seem to be in any rush to dump him for a lowly package.
Calvin Jackson should sneak onto the practice squad. I can see him taking Mims’s spot as the sixth receiver if Mims is traded.
Offensive tackles: 4
- George Fant, Duane Brown, Chuma Edoga, Max Mitchell
This is a position I can see the Jets prioritizing as cuts come in across the league. Chuma Edoga is not an ideal No. 3 tackle, and Max Mitchell still has plenty of developing to do.
If the Jets scoop up a more reliable backup tackle, I can see Edoga being cut.
Interior offensive linemen: 5
- Laken Tomlinson, Connor McGovern, Alijah Vera-Tucker, Nate Herbig, Dan Feeney
Each possessing guard/center versatility along with plenty of starting experience, Nate Herbig and Dan Feeney give the Jets a solid duo of backups on the interior.
- Sauce Gardner, D.J. Reed, Michael Carter II, Bryce Hall, Brandin Echols, Javelin Guidry
- Tough cuts: Justin Hardee, Isaiah Dunn
Justin Hardee is one of the biggest decisions the Jets will make over these next 24-plus hours. Strong cases can be made both for and against him.
Hardee is one of the most highly-regarded special teamers in the league and a respected leader in the locker room. However, he has underperformed since joining the Jets and is incapable of playing defensive snaps.
I think Hardee’s cap situation is what ultimately pushes the Jets to release him. Hardee has no guaranteed money remaining on his contract, so the Jets can clear his $2.035 million off the books with no penalty. That’s a lot of money to pay for an up-and-down special teamer who can’t play defense, so I think the Jets will bite the bullet and make the tough cut. They could use the extra cap space after the recent lucrative addition of Duane Brown.
- Jordan Whitehead, Lamarcus Joyner, Jason Pinnock, Will Parks
- Tough cuts: Ashtyn Davis
Ashtyn Davis’s status as a third-round pick from just two years ago had him in a great position entering training camp. But enough has happened to the point where I think it’s tough to make a case why he should be on the team. Davis has done very little to impress whereas Will Parks has been one of the team’s most consistent standouts throughout all of training camp and the preseason.
I would keep an eye on the Jets potentially adding Jaquiski Tartt, who was released by the Eagles. Tartt played under Robert Saleh in San Francisco for four seasons. He would bring much better depth to the free safety spot than Pinnock and might even be a better player than Joyner at the moment.
- C.J. Mosley, Quincy Williams, Kwon Alexander, Jamien Sherwood
- Tough cuts: Hamsah Nasirildeen, Del’Shawn Phillips, DQ Thomas
Hamsah Nasirildeen is only in his second year, but I just don’t think he has done enough to warrant sticking around. It’s a tough cut to make, but when you draft as many players as the Jets have in recent years – especially when you draft multiple players at one position on the same day – there are going to be some difficult cuts at times. I can see Nasirildeen being one of them this year.
Del’Shawn Phillips has a shot to make the team thanks to his special teams ability. DQ Thomas was a highly valued undrafted free agent.
Edge defenders: 6
- Carl Lawson, Jermaine Johnson, Jacob Martin, Bryce Huff, Micheal Clemons, Vinny Curry
- Tough cuts: Bradlee Anae, Jabari Zuniga
Vinny Curry joins Hardee as another veteran X-factor in the Jets’ roster decisions. He is a respected leader, but he has durability questions, and since he plays a position where the Jets are already loaded with depth, the Jets don’t necessarily need him all that much.
I think Curry will make it, though. The fact that the Jets brought him back after his health issues in 2021 is a vote of confidence that they believe he can still help the team. Plus, if they cut one leader in Hardee, it might ruffle some feathers if they released another one in Curry.
There is also the possibility that the Jets place Curry on injured reserve to begin the season. He has been dealing with a hamstring issue since early August. Placing Curry on IR (which would require him to miss at least four games) would open up a bonus spot.
Bradlee Anae’s performance over the last two preseason games should give him practice squad consideration. Jabari Zuniga had a good preseason and will make it to the practice squad if nobody claims him. Speaking of which, I wonder if Zuniga’s youth and draft status will allow him to make it over Curry. That’s something we could certainly see transpire.
Defensive tackles: 5
- Quinnen Williams, John Franklin-Myers, Sheldon Rankins, Solomon Thomas, Nathan Shepherd
- Tough cuts: Jonathan Marshall, Tanzel Smart
I think Jonathan Marshall will join Nasirildeen as another surprising year-two cut. Like Nasirildeen, Marshall has not flashed consistently enough to stay completely safe despite his draft status. The Jets should be able to get him onto their practice squad, though.
Marshall is one player who I think will see his status largely affected by the decision on Curry. If I were to remove Curry from this prediction, Marshall is probably the number one guy that I would insert in his place.
If it were up to me, I would be keeping Tanzel Smart over Nathan Shepherd without giving it a second thought, but this is the real world; one where NFL coaches fall in love with certain players for reasons beyond our comprehension. Shepherd seems to be a big part of this team’s plans despite being outplayed by Smart for the second straight preseason.
- Greg Zuerlein, Braden Mann, Thomas Hennessy
It’s time to start putting some heat under Braden Mann’s seat. The third-year punter is not playing up to the level that you expect from a specialist who had a draft pick used on him.
Some good punters are getting released around the NFL right now, so I wonder if the Jets consider swapping Mann out for an upgrade. I doubt it, but we are definitely getting closer to the point where New York finally puts some pressure on the former Texas A&M Aggie.
Here’s my final 53-man roster prediction:
- QB: Wilson, Flacco, White
- RB: Carter, Hall, Coleman
- TE: Conklin, Uzomah, Ruckert, Wesco
- WR: Moore, Davis, Wilson, Berrios, Smith, Mims
- OT: Fant, Brown, Edoga, Mitchell
- IOL: Tomlinson, McGovern, Vera-Tucker, Feeney, Herbig
- CB: Gardner, Reed, Carter II, Hall, Echols, Guidry
- S: Joyner, Whitehead, Pinnock, Parks
- LB: Mosley, Williams, Alexander, Sherwood
- DT: Williams, Franklin-Myers, Rankins, Thomas, Shepherd
- EDGE: Lawson, Johnson, Martin, Huff, Clemons, Curry
- ST: Zuerlein, Mann, Hennessy