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Updated NY Jets 53-man roster prediction: What changed?

Jason Brownlee, NY Jets, UDFA, Roster
Jason Brownlee, New York Jets, Getty Images

The New York Jets’ roster may have been clarified somewhat by the first few weeks of training camp

After an eventful offseason, the New York Jets are finally back in pads and preparing for the start of the 2023 NFL season. As meaningless as the preseason seems, fans watch avidly, searching for every nugget about the players who will fill out the 53-man roster. Robby Sabo has been keeping diehards updated about the goings-on at training camp practices.

With three more preseason games to go and Week 1 kickoff five weeks away, it’s time for another roster update. We’ve already been through this exercise a few times, starting following the draft and continuing with OTAs. How have things changed in camp?

Note: the practice squad limit is 16, and only six of those players can have more than two accrued seasons (seasons in which they spent at least six games on the active roster, PUP, or IR). The rules are a bit complicated, but that’s why you may see younger players carried on the practice squad over veterans.

Quarterback (2): Aaron Rodgers, Zach Wilson

Practice squad: Tim Boyle

I keep changing my mind about Tim Boyle. He does not look like an NFL quarterback, but we could still potentially see him due to the new rule about a third quarterback who is on the 53-man roster. Still, there’s a roster crunch in other spots, so I think it’s more likely that Boyle stays on the practice squad.

Chris Streveler could not replicate his 2022 preseason magic. The fan favorite was released by the team with an injury designation. He showed the whole country once more that he cannot throw a football.

Running back (5): Breece Hall, Michael Carter, Zonovan Knight, Israel Abanikanda, Nick Bawden

Released: Travis Dye

I went back and forth about whether to include Dalvin Cook here and who to remove if I included him. Ultimately, I decided to stand pat for the time being. It still seems that Cook would prefer to be in Miami despite his friendship with Aaron Rodgers. If the offer from the Jets and Dolphins is equal, Cook will choose Miami because it’s his hometown and there are no state taxes. I can’t imagine Joe Douglas intentionally outdoing Miami’s offer, although I no longer believe Cook is using the Jets as leverage. There’s also the recent Ezekiel Elliott noise, which is a move that makes more sense to me.

If Cook or Elliott does sign, they will be included in a future update. The question is who the odd man out will be. From everything Robby has indicated, Zonovan Knight is the Jets’ best back so far this training camp. Therefore, perhaps the Jets would be inclined to trade Carter if they bring in another back.

Nick Bawden has been running with the first team all training camp. Robert Saleh sang his praises in a press conference. Unless something catastrophic happens, he seems like a roster lock.

Travis Dye didn’t do anything in his preseason debut, but he’s a practice squad possibility.

Wide receiver (6): Garrett Wilson, Allen Lazard, Corey Davis, Mecole Hardman, Randall Cobb, Jason Brownlee

Practice squad: Irvin Charles, Xavier Gipson

Released: Malik Taylor, Alex Erickson, Jerome Kapp, T.J. Luther

The Jets’ top five receivers appear to be roster locks. That leaves one more possible spot. Considering that the team carried six receivers in 2022, it seems likely they’ll carry one again. That player is likely required to contribute significantly on special teams.

In training camp, Jets fans oohed and aahed over Jason Brownlee following his one-handed catch over Craig James. However, Brownlee did not distinguish himself in the preseason game, catching two passes for 17 yards on five targets and allowing two catchable balls to fall incomplete.

That being said, no other receiver did much, either. The highlight of the game was a 57-yard pass from Zach Wilson to Malik Taylor. It seems unlikely that the veteran Taylor will make the roster over one of the younger players, but given his experience with Rodgers, anything is possible.

Xavier Gipson committed a preseason no-no with a muffed punt. Although he later had a 45-yard return, the muff will likely outweigh that in the coaches’ minds. Gipson certainly has potential as a returner, but the most important thing is for him to hold onto the ball. In the passing game, Gipson was targeted once and had no receptions.

The Jets could choose to keep several receivers on the practice squad and not carry a sixth receiver at all. We’ll see how that shakes out.

Tight end (3): Tyler Conklin, C.J. Uzomah, Jeremy Ruckert

Practice squad: Zack Kuntz, Kenny Yeboah, E.J. Jenkins

If the Jets carry a fullback, it’s hard to see them also carrying four tight ends. Zack Kuntz is a raw prospect, but he looked surprisingly decent as a run-blocker in the Hall of Fame Game. As a priority free agent, E.J. Jenkins could be lumped in the same category as Kuntz.

Kenny Yeboah has been hovering around the fringes of the Jets’ roster for a few years. Maybe they carry him on the practice squad, and maybe they let him go. It’s hard to imagine the Jets actually carrying three tight ends on the practice squad, but I suppose I’m going with that here.

Offensive tackle (5): Duane Brown, Max Mitchell, Mekhi Becton, Billy Turner, Carter Warren

Practice squad: Yodny Cajuste, Greg Senat

When I started writing this article, I had Mekhi Becton listed as traded. However, after he played only seven offensive snaps in the Hall of Fame Game instead of the 20-25 Saleh had mentioned, I simply think the Jets won’t be able to get anything for Becton. His knee still seems to be an issue, and even though he looked fairly good in his short outing, there’s no reason to trust that he can stay healthy. The Jets might be forced to do so.

The concern over Duane Brown is growing as Saleh said he will not be practicing for another couple of weeks. Will the veteran be healthy? Billy Turner has looked terrible in camp, while Max Mitchell looked just as poor in his preseason debut as he did in game action in 2022. Carter Warren needs a lot of development and should redshirt this season.

The Jets will likely be scouring the trade market to try to find an upgrade. I’m just not so confident that they’ll find one for an acceptable price. We could be seeing Alijah Vera-Tucker at tackle this season, which is not something the Jets want and is far from ideal.

Offensive guard (3): Laken Tomlinson, Alijah Vera-Tucker, Wes Schweitzer

Practice squad: Trystan Colon-Castillo

I’ve already gone on the record saying that I like Trystan Colon better than Wes Schweitzer. Colon played okay-to-solid against the Browns. Schweitzer has a lot of bad film and lost his starting job over the last two years for a reason.

The Jets are counting on a bounce-back from Laken Tomlinson. It is far better for them if Vera-Tucker stays at guard and has a chance to actualize his All-Pro potential.

Center (2): Connor McGovern, Joe Tippmann

I still think Connor McGovern will be the Jets’ Week 1 center. However, I believe Joe Tippmann will be the second-stringer and could push McGovern by midseason. Tippmann didn’t look perfect in the first game, but he showed intriguing two-way potential and the ability to make the reach blocks that McGovern is good at.

Edge rusher (6): Carl Lawson, John Franklin-Myers, Jermaine Johnson, Bryce Huff, Micheal Clemons, Will McDonald

Practice squad: Deslin Alexandre

For now, I don’t think the Jets are going to trade Bryce Huff. However, that prediction could change soon. Huff played a little much in the Hall of Fame Game for a roster lock; it seemed somewhat like an audition to show him off to other teams. He wasn’t all that impactful, either, notwithstanding a sack that would not have happened against starters.

Carl Lawson and John Franklin-Myers will return as the starters. Will McDonald showcased intriguing potential and some surprising ability in the run game. The Micheal Clemons hype train appears extremely overblown; he did not stand out in the preseason game at all.

Defensive tackle (4): Quinnen Williams, Al Woods, Quinton Jefferson, Solomon Thomas

Practice squad: Tanzel Smart

Released: Marquiss Spencer

Quinnen Williams is the biggest key to the Jets’ defense. Al Woods will be the other starter, but having specialists at the position rather than another two-way player could hurt the Jets’ defense. Solomon Thomas didn’t do anything in 2022, but Saleh seems to like him. Tanzel Smart was on the Jets’ practice squad last year.

Linebacker (4): C.J. Mosley, Quincy Williams, Jamien Sherwood, Zaire Barnes

Practice squad: Chazz Surratt, Claudin Cherelus

The top three linebackers are locks. Saleh and Jeff Ulbrich likely think they can develop Zaire Barnes, who has tremendous athleticism but is quite raw as a defender. I could see Chazz Surratt finding his way onto the roster as the fourth linebacker in the interim. Hamsah Nasirildeen and Maalik Hall were released recently due to injuries in the Hall of Fame Game, and they went on injured reserve when they were unclaimed.

Cornerback (6): Sauce Gardner, D.J. Reed, Michael Carter II, Javelin Guidry, Bryce Hall, Justin Hardee

Suspended: Brandin Echols

Released: Craig James, Derrick Langford, Jimmy Moreland

I think I’m in the minority regarding Bryce Hall. Many fans seem to think he will be released, but with Brandin Echols suspended for Week 1, I think Hall will last at least until then. Although the Jets can save $2.74 million by cutting him, I somehow think that they’ll keep him around in case something catastrophic happens, rather as they did in 2022.

Joe Blewett was also not impressed with Echols’ play in the Hall of Fame Game, particularly his boneheaded mistakes. Javelin Guidry is making a case to return as the backup nickel corner, especially with Tony Adams now entrenched as the starting free safety. Justin Hardee will be on the roster, for better or worse.

The practice squad could go many different ways at cornerback.

Safety (4): Jordan Whitehead, Tony Adams, Adrian Amos, Trey Dean

Practice squad: Jarrick Bernard-Converse, Marquiss Waters

Released: Ashtyn Davis

I think Ashtyn Davis’ days with the Jets are over. They can save $2.74 million by releasing him, and his role as the punt protector won’t outweigh that. I thought Jarrick Bernard-Converse would make the roster, but he’s been dealing with an injury; I suspect the Jets will stash him on the practice squad and try to develop him as a safety. They could also put him on short-term injured reserve and then decide what to do with him when he returns.

Trey Dean is a UDFA whom many Jets fans were excited about; although he’s more of a box safety, I think he has the best chance to make the roster over Bernard-Converse. Marquiss Waters is also vying for that spot.

Kicker (1): Greg Zuerlein

Punter (1): Thomas Morstead

Long snapper (1): Thomas Hennessy

Not much to say about the Jets’ kicker and punter. It appears those positions are finally solidified for the Jets for the first time in a very long time. Thomas Hennessy is apparently the best long snapper in the game, or at least the Jets think so.

Returner: Mecole Hardman

Xavier Gipson could push for a returner role, but I think Mecole Hardman will end up taking the spot. Zonovan Knight appears to be out of the mix as a kick returner.

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Rich
Rich
9 months ago

Caught Hard Knocks last night and man, the thing that just gnawed at me was Zach making comments about Malik misjudging, hesitating, and not catching that bomb in stride. It came across as whiny and just isn’t a good look from your QB who’s supposed to be a leader. More and more from all the info we’re gleaning across 3 years, I wonder if Zach might just be too entitled and immature to ever be a leader of grown men. I hope not.

Last edited 9 months ago by Rich
NCgreen73
NCgreen73
9 months ago

After hearing Saleh praise Chazz Surratt on Hard knocks it sounds like he’s gonna find a way to keep him on the roster. He’s gonna have to play special teams though.

Peter Buell
9 months ago

Picking up Zeke Hunt or Fournette can’t hurt.
I’ve never cared for Cook. He’s all or nothing, dosent block and drops waaayy too many passes…especially for a rb.
If any trade/cap space is expended is should be for tackle.
If they can’t pull that off AVT cam move to tackle but it would be robbing Peter to pay Paul.
If AVT is moved is most likely means Bechton is still having issues so maybe Brown Tomlinson McGovern Turner and AVT to begin.

wa2k99
wa2k99
9 months ago

I just have this feeling Dalvin gets signed and Breece starts on the PUP list.

Jets71
Jets71
9 months ago
Reply to  Rivka Boord

I think Breece goes on the IR with a return designation. I think a year for a major knee to a RB seems the norm, and he’ll need some time to work back. He got hurt week 7 last year which was just about end of October, so 4 weeks into the season makes it just about a year. I’ve been riding the IR train too.

I like Guidry as the back up nickel, and think Echols in spite of his troubles in the pre season opener is better than Hall. Releasing Bryce and Ashtyn is about $5.5m in cap savings for a couple of guys who won’t dress most games.

I think Colon makes the team. I agree with you, I thought Becton was a trade candidate but looks more and more like they are going to have to ride it out with him. His play was good although very limited, I hope the knee problem now is more mental than physical. Time can heal that trust, if the knee is sound.

I wasn’t impressed with Brownlee, maybe I expected too much, but even though Gipson muffed that punt I was more intrigued with his ability to make plays than any of the other guys. I’ll be interested to see how that plays out.

Also agree with you on the “specialist” role with Hardee, yes he’s good but just ties up a roster spot…is he “THAT” good? I know Boyer loves him but to me someone like that can’t have dumb penalties.

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