The goal of this Friday’s 12 pack is to discuss twelve players on the New York Jets roster who haven’t been mentioned much, if at all this off-season. Middle class and bottom of the roster players play a crucial role in forming a deep, playoff-caliber team. Let’s give “the other guys” their day in the sun here at Turn On The Jets. Crack open the 12 pack, give us a follow on Facebook and Twitter…and enjoy –
1. Greg McElroy – The other guy in the quarterback room besides Tebowmania and The Sanchize. McElroy showed promise last pre-season and looked like he could be a long term backup for the team. He surrounded himself in some controversy by criticizing the locker room environment last year. This is an important season for McElroy to establish that he can be a backup quarterback in the NFL.
2. Josh Mauga – A forgotten man at linebacker since the Jets selected Demario Davis in the third round. However, Mauga has the skill set to be a very good special teams player and a capable backup at inside linebacker. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see him in certain sub packages on defense because he has decent coverage skills compared to the rest of the linebacker group.
3. Ricky Sapp – He has received a little hype from the coaching staff as a role player/backup at outside linebacker. If he can stay healthy and produce with the second team in the pre-season, there is no reason he shouldn’t stick on the 53 man roster. Sapp has intriguing pass rushing skills.
4. Ellis Lankster – It looks like he will be the fourth corner heading into the season, which is an important part of Rex Ryan’s defense. Lankster will also be relied on to be a core special teams player, replacing Marquice Cole on many of the coverage units. The fact that the Jets didn’t sign Chris Johnson, after kicking his tires, shows their faith in Lankster to take on an expanded role.
5. Patrick Turner – By all accounts, he had a very strong practice this week and took advantage of Stephen Hill being on the sideline with a hamstring injury. Turner has good size and is familiar with Tony Sparano’s offense. He had a few catches last season and will battle it out with Chaz Schilens and Jordan White for the 4th and 5th spot on the receiver depth chart behind Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill and Jeremy Kerley.
6. John Conner – What ever happened to “The Terminator?” He was average at best last season and didn’t contribute much overall. Can he take on a bigger, more important role in Tony Sparano’s offense? His lead blocking will be crucial to helping establish the Jets as a power running team again and he also is a good short yardage back.
7. Jeff Cumberland – If the season started today, he’d be the number two tight end. Cumberland has good size and hands but similar to Dustin Keller, he is more of a receiver than blocker. If Cumberland can become more consistent blocking, he should see a good chunk of playing time in Tony Sparano’s offense.
8. Bilal Powell – Many (including myself) think that rookie Terrance Ganaway has the ability to pass him up on the depth chart. However, let’s not forget Powell was a fourth round pick and despite a disappointing rookie year should get a good chance in the pre-season to stake a claim on the third running back spot on the depth chart.
9. Matt Kroul – Competing with Caleb Schlauderaff (Mike Tannenbaum’s favorite player) for the backup center position behind Nick Mangold. He also has the ability to play guard. Kroul is a former defensive lineman. You know who also used to be a defensive lineman? Brandon Moore.
10. Tanner Purdum – You never want to hear about the long snapper but Purdum will be back for his second season with the team. The James Dearth era is truly over.
11. Martin Tevaseau – Competing with Kenrick Ellis for reps in the defensive line rotation. He has the advantage of Ellis missing the first few days of training camp because of a jail sentence.
12. Nick Bellore – A linebacker who will have a tough time seeing any reps on defense but does have the ability to become a quality special teams player. He is firmly on the bubble of the 53 man roster after the Jets selected Demario Davis in the third round.