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NY Jets 53-man roster prediction: Things have changed since draft

Tarik Cohen, NY Jets, 53-Man Roster Prediction
Tarik Cohen, New York Jets, Getty Images

The New York Jets have some interesting roster decisions to make

I took my first stab at a New York Jets 53-man roster prediction following the NFL draft. Several iterations are to follow, including a post-OTA and minicamp version.

With the Jets’ choices to bring in extensive competition at the returner position, Robert Saleh’s and Jeff Ulbrich’s comments on the safety position, and insights from Robby Sabo during OTAs and minicamp, I now bring you another version.

QB: Aaron Rodgers, Tyrod Taylor, Jordan Travis (3)

Since Joe Douglas said he expects Jordan Travis to be ready for training camp, I can’t list Travis as a PUP list candidate anymore. He’ll be on the 53-man roster and redshirt his rookie season.

HB: Breece Hall, Braelon Allen, Isaiah Davis (3)

I’m still of the opinion that Israel Abanikanda will not make the Jets’ roster. Braelon Allen and Isaiah Davis looked good in OTAs, and Abanikanda was relegated to scout team work. The Jets targeted specific skills in Allen and Davis, most notably contact balance — a skill Abanikanda thoroughly lacks.

FB: Nick Bawden (1)

I did not include Nick Bawden in my previous iteration of the roster, but Robby continues to insist that he will make the team. The Jets clearly plan to run the ball down opponents’ throats in 2024, which makes a fullback a more likely option. Nathaniel Hackett has also carried a fullback with every stop he’s made in the NFL.

WR: Garrett Wilson, Mike Williams, Malachi Corley, Allen Lazard, Xavier Gipson, Irvin Charles (6)

Xavier Gipson’s roster spot looks shakier now that the Jets have brought in Tarik Cohen, Jakeem Grant, and a host of undrafted free agents to try out for the return specialist position — not to mention Malachi Corley’s potential in that area. Still, Robby has said to keep an eye on Gipson even offensively, and Rodgers made several highlight-reel plays to him during OTAs.

That would leave Jason Brownlee the odd man out. Irvin Charles’ roster spot as a special teams ace is likely locked up with Justin Hardee gone.

TE: Tyler Conklin, Jeremy Ruckert, Kenny Yeboah (3)

I had Zack Kuntz making the roster in my last iteration, but now I think the Jets will go with just three tight ends. They know they can stow Kuntz on the practice squad if need be. Unless he’s made significant strides as a blocker, the Jets will ride with Conklin, Ruckert, and Yeboah. Yeboah was quite active in the early days of OTAs.

OT: Tyron Smith, Morgan Moses, Olu Fashanu, Carter Warren (4)

I no longer think the Jets will sign David Bakhtiari before the season. I think it’s more likely that he stays unsigned to start the year and joins the Jets in case of an injury. That means Olu Fashanu must be prepared to start when Tyron Smith inevitably goes down.

Morgan Moses is also recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, giving Carter Warren first-team reps. Max Mitchell’s spot is likely done for, as he and Warren are redundant, but Warren has only one bad season of tape as opposed to Mitchell’s two.

IOL: John Simpson, Joe Tippmann, Alijah Vera-Tucker, Wes Schweitzer, Jake Hanson (5)

I’ve maintained all along that the Jets will re-sign Connor McGovern, but now I’m not so sure. If they don’t go with McGovern, the most likely interior candidate to make the roster is Jake Hanson, whose 5.5% pressure rate on 165 pass-block snaps was far better than Xavier Newman’s 8.2%.

EDGE: Haason Reddick, Jermaine Johnson, Will McDonald, Micheal Clemons, Eric Watts (5)

It’s possible that the Jets will carry both Braiden McGregor and Eric Watts, with or without Micheal Clemons on the roster. Both undrafted free agents stood out in OTAs, and both have solid reputations as run defenders. If the Jets are looking to replace John Franklin-Myers’ impact, they could keep both. I lean Watts because of his bigger frame.

IDL: Quinnen Williams, Javon Kinlaw, Leki Fotu, Solomon Thomas, Leonard Taylor (5)

On the interior, the only real question is if Leonard Taylor will make the roster. Though we didn’t hear much from him in OTAs, I still think the Jets will carry him on the roster if they choose to go with 5 edges instead of the 6 they’ve had for the past two seasons.

LB: C.J. Mosley, Quincy Williams, Jamien Sherwood, Zaire Barnes, Chazz Surratt (5)

Neither Zaire Barnes nor Chazz Surratt has a roster spot locked up, but I think the Jets will carry both of them. Barnes is a developmental linebacker with Quincy Williams-esque traits, and Robert Saleh explained on Hard Knocks how much he loves Surratt. With the new kickoff rules, I think Surratt will survive.

CB: Sauce Gardner, D.J. Reed, Michael Carter II, Brandin Echols, Qwan’tez Stiggers (5)

With Isaiah Oliver moving to safety, it appears to be Qwan’tez Stiggers vs. Jarrick Bernard-Converse for CB5. JBC originally switched to safety, and the fact that the Jets don’t like him enough to keep him there bodes poorly for his chances. They also really liked Stiggers in the draft process, enough to take him despite his lack of college experience.

S: Chuck Clark, Tony Adams, Ashtyn Davis, Isaiah Oliver (4)

Jaylen Key and JBC have a chance to make the roster, but Oliver’s move to safety places the odds against them. Key ran a 4.6 40-yard dash, and while his technique is decent, he doesn’t have the athleticism to keep up. JBC had better testing numbers that did not translate to the field when he was in college.

K: Greg Zuerlein (1)

P: Thomas Morstead (1)

LS: Thomas Hennessy (1)

KR/PR Tarik Cohen (1)

The fact that the Jets keep adding returners makes me think that they’re not happy with what they’ve been seeing so far. If Gipson, Corley, one of the UDFAs, or Cohen had wowed them during OTAs, they wouldn’t have given Jakeem Grant a tryout. Still, Cohen looked shifty at running back during OTAs, and I could see him becoming the Jets’ return specialist.

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1 month ago

You don’t have them keeping a Long Snapper? I would Thomas Hennessy is a lock