Where aren’t additions needed, AMIRITE? Just kidding…Yes, the New York Jets are 32nd in ESPN’s “5 months before they actually play a real game” Power Rankings but of course we know that means nothing. The Jets have steadily improved arguably the league’s worst 2012 roster over the course of the off-season. You can make a very sensible argument that they are a bottom ten team on paper but fortunately the games aren’t played on paper. The Jets managed 6 wins last season with Mark Sanchez playing the worst football in the NFL at the quarterback position, Shonn Greene plodding around and Mardy Gilyard running routes on offense, while Bryan Thomas, Bart Scott and a severely banged up Sione Pouha took major reps on defense.
The roster is a work in progress but the progress is being made. Yet, there are still some depth charts holes that jump out in particular.
Tight End – Jeff Cumberland isn’t a starting tight end, John Idzik knows this. He wouldn’t have tried to trade for Jermichael Finley or sign Fred Davis if he thought he was. The Jets board didn’t match up to take a tight end early so they didn’t draft one, as they stuck to taking the best value and didn’t let need dictate their decisions. But what to do now?
Keep an eye on Brent Celek, who thrived in Marty Mornhinweg’s offense in Philadelphia and is suddenly part of a crowded tight end room with Zach Ertz and James Casey. The Jets may be able to swing a trade for a late round pick. The free agent market is thin but Kevin Boss, Dallas Clark or David Thomas could all add some needed talent to the current tight end group.
Safety – Dawan Landry will be a competent starter at one spot. Is some combination Josh Bush, Antonio Allen and Jaiquawn Jarrett ready to handle the other? Probably not. There are some “name” veterans out there in Charles Woodson and Kerry Rhodes but neither seems likely targets for the Jets. They could examine the trade market once training camps start or look for a lower tier free agent, if Bush/Allen/Jarrett struggle in practice.
It wouldn’t be that shocking if Bush and Allen ended up platooning opposite of Landry. The Jets are going to be young (and in some cases not very good) in certain positions this season. Both Bush and Allen will take their lumps out there but have enough NFL skills to hopefully hold the fort and develop throughout the season.
Wide Receiver – Santonio Holmes coming off major surgery. Stephen Hill coming off major surgery and a disappointing rookie year. Jeremy Kerley (who is coming off a very strong year but at best is a #2 WR) and Clyde Gates…that isn’t enough depth.
Braylon Edwards name has been endlessly kicked around and remains a sensible addition. Jordan White could develop in his second year. Brandon Lloyd, Laurent Robinson, and Ramses Barden are all also still free agents. Regardless, the Jets would be wise to add another player with experience under his belt.
Outside Linebacker – A position that is clearly devalued in this defense, as we should see more 4 and 5 man fronts than ever in Rex Ryan’s defense. Antwan Barnes and Calvin Pace are the de facto starters but are better suited as situational players and will likely see situational player type reps in many weeks. Garrett McIntyre will provide depth. The free agent market has been picked dry, so the Jets could have to wait until roster cut-downs during training camp to find another body.