Denzel Mims, NY Jets
Denzel Mims, New York Jets, Getty Images

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.

Quarterbacks: 3

  • 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.

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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.

Cornerbacks: 6

  • 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.

Safeties: 4

  • 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.

Linebackers: 4

  • 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.

Specialists: 3

  • 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.

Final predictions

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

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Michael Nania is one of the best analytical New York Jets minds in the world, combining his statistical expertise with game film to add proper context to the data. Nania scrapes every corner, ensuring you know all there is to know about everyone from the QB to the long snapper. Nania's Numbers, Nania's QB Grades, and Nania's All-22 give fans a deeper and more well-rounded dive into the Jets than anyone else can offer. Email: michael.nania[at]jetsxfactor.com - Twitter: @Michael_Nania
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Mike Palazzo
Mike Palazzo
1 month ago

I hate to be a pain but can you make a Mock Practice squad roster article? I would really like to get your take on exactly who makes the practice squad and why. If not, thats ok. I know you are all very busy.

Mike Palazzo
Mike Palazzo
1 month ago

Hello, Just wanted to ask a question about the practice squad roster. Can you keep same position players on the practice squad? For example, Say The Jets kept Perine and Knight on there practice squad. Is that allowed and would it be a wise decision?

Mike Palazzo
Mike Palazzo
1 month ago

Hey Mike, I could not agree more about Streveler over White. He earned it !!! I would love for Cager to be in the mix somehow someway. I would like to have him over Wesco. I also think he could be productive as a WR again. He brings more to the table than Jeff Smith. I’m Hopeing the Jets don’t trade Mims. He can still sub for receivers who need rests and can fill in for any WR’s who get hurt. If he really wants out of NY then the last year of his contract should be a prove it year. I like what Parks has done during the preseason and think he should start over Joyner. If Tartt is a better option then Joyner then lets do it. For Shephard and Rankins to make the team would be a disgrace. Culture change should be production and Winning not favoritism.

Peter Buell
Peter Buell
1 month ago

There are always teams that suck up QBs. Denver being one that stands out weather they are looking at a big deal or “taking a shot” on promising guys.
Steveler belongs on this team. I would look to package that includes White and Mims and look for a team that will give up a 3rd rounder.
Don’t want to lose Cal Jackson and have Mims revert to form and Steveler belongs at #2 imo. I’d rather he start game one than Flacco.

Jets71
Jets71
1 month ago

The good thing is this has become a difficult exercise. A few things:

I think Ashtyn Davis is an easy cut, and wouldn’t be surprised if they pick up a safety such as Tartt to replace Joyner. Joyner didn’t really do much this pre-season and although it’s a nice story that “his head” wasn’t in the right place and considered retiring, but ONLY would come back to the Jets, I’m not sure he’s the guy to keep.

Curry could get released under the premise they will bring him back once the “roster gymnastics” are complete and the waiver wire moves are finished. I know he’s a great “team guy” but this is ultimately a production business and they have some young guys who have done some nice things.

Someone may take a flier on Smart or Marshall but I think that’s a risk they can take at this point. I don’t see both of them getting picked up for someone’s 53.

I have been back and forth on White for a long time, but I think he stays. QB’s are tough to come by and as much as Streveler has impressed White’s experience with the system and keeping that QB group together is important for consistency.

Wesco has never impressed me. Just my opinion, I don’t think he “adds” much to the group, they have blockers. I didn’t like him as a FB at all, I’d lean Cager or just keep 3 TE’s and use the “Wesco” spot on someone else.

Mann isn’t good and if they can upgrade …do it!

Personal soap box, they could easily try to find a replacement for Hall. The “starting” D looked much better with Echols in there, they may be able to find someone from the SF, Seattle, (where is Gus Bradley coaching now?) tree who is more reliable than Hall.

Obvious statement: any OT upgrade should be looked at as well.

Jets71
Jets71
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael Nania

I think they will try to get an OT. What are the chances McDermott goes on IR for a spell, they bring in a guy then make a decision on Edoga/McDermott when everyone comes back healthy…if that happens.