The Turn On The Jets 12 Pack is back and going through the top positional battles on the New York Jets this year, along with predicting a winner for each. Make sure you are following all our writers on Twitter and give TOJ a like on Facebook. Have a great weekend, Jets Nation!
12. Third Quarterback – Greg McElroy vs. Matt Simms – McElroy started a game last season but underwhelmed and has been working behind Simms in OTAs. The new coaching staff might not be thrilled with his long term potential which could lead to Simms taking the 3rd job if he has a strong pre-season. Prediction – Matt Simms
11. Defensive Line Rotation – Kenrick Ellis vs. Damon Harrison vs. Antonio Garay – We know Muhammad Wilkerson, Quinton Coples and Sheldon Richardson will lead the way upfront. Yet, the Jets should have a deep, versatile group of defensive lineman overall. Ellis, Harrison and Garay should all make the roster but it remains to be seen how their reps will be divided up in the rotation. Prediction – All 3 make team but Harrison is inactive some weeks. Ellis sees more reps against run heavy teams while Garay sees more reps against pass heavy teams.
10. Backup Offensive Lineman – Stephen Peterman vs. Caleb Schlauderaff vs. Dalton Freeman vs. Oday Aboushi vs. Vladimir Ducasse vs. William Campbell vs. Dennis Landolt – As you will see below, I think Brian Winters and Willie Colon start at Guard leaving Peterman as the top backup. Outside of that, the Jets will likely keep two other lineman on the active roster for depth. Prediction – Peterman, Schlauderaff and Aboushi on the active roster. Freeman and Campbell on the practice squad.
9. Number 4-5-6 Receiver – Ben Obomanu vs. Clyde Gates vs. Zach Rogers vs. Ryan Spadola vs. Jordan White vs. KJ Stroud vs. Marcus Davis – After Santonio Holmes-Jeremy Kerley-Stephen Hill, how will the depth chart shake out? Recently signed Ben Obomanu is the early favorite to be the 4th but the Jets have a very talented group of UDFAs. Jordan White also has a good skill-set for this offense. Prediction – Obomanu and Rogers are the 4th and 5th receivers. Spadola and White make the practice squad.
8. Fullback – Tommy Bohanon vs. Lex Hilliard – Bohanon was the Jets 7th round draft pick and showed good hands and versatility in college. Hilliard was thoroughly mediocre last year. It’d be surprising if Bohanon doesn’t do enough this summer to claim the job. Prediction – Tommy Bohanon.
7. Running Back – Chris Ivory vs. Mike Goodson vs. Bilal Powell vs. Joe McKnight – We know Ivory will start. If Goodson is cleared legally, he should be the primary back-up and 3rd down back. However, with his status up in the air both Bilal Powell (who projects as a good swing back-up) and McKnight could push for more playing time. I had originally been sour on McKnight’s roster chances but pending Goodson’s legal situation, I think the Jets keep four halfbacks on the final 53. Prediction – All 4 make roster. If Goodson is cleared to play, he sees bulk of reps behind Ivory.
6. Nickelback/Slot Corner – Kyle Wilson vs. Aaron Berry vs. Darrin Walls – More generally, what corner will see the most reps outside of Antonio Cromartie and Dee MIlliner. Wilson will likely get the early nod but don’t be surprised if Berry and Walls are pushing for time sooner rather than later. Prediction – Wilson starts week one but by mid-season is splitting time with Berry.
5. Outside Linebacker – Calvin Pace vs. Antwan Barnes vs. Garret McIntyre vs. Ricky Sapp vs. Quinton Coples*** – A tricky spot to project because of how versatile the Jets front seven will be. Coples is the team’s best pass rusher and will be used all over the place, including outside linebacker. Pace is still adequate against the run while Barnes is built to be a situational pass rusher. Even the “starters” here might not play normal starting reps. Prediction – Pace and Barnes as the “starters” with Coples seeing the most overall reps out of this group because of how he will be used at defensive end and defensive tackle along with his reps at outside linebacker. McIntyre and Sapp are both nothing but depth players/special teamers.
4. Safety – Antonio Allen vs. Josh Bush vs. Jaiquawn Jarrett vs. Rontez Miles – The spot next to Dawan Landry is wide open. Allen received a little playing time last season but probably projects better to playing more inside the box. Bush has the right skill set to be a free safety. Keep an eye on the UDFA Miles. Prediction – Bush starts week one but both Allen and Miles see defensive reps and push for more time as the season goes on.
3. Tight End – Jeff Cumberland vs. Hayden Smith vs. Konrad Reuland vs. Mike Shanahan vs. Chris Pantale – This position is wide open. Both Cumberland and Reuland played extensive reps last season but didn’t distinguish themselves. Smith has unique athleticism but is he ready for major reps? Both undrafted free agents have potential and at least one of them should stick. Regardless of who the “starter” is here, look for the reps to be divided up and some of the normal tight end responsibilities shifted off to other positions. Prediction – Cumberland starts, with Smith and Shanahan backing him up. Pantale makes the practice squad.
2. Guard – Willie Colon vs. Stephen Peterman vs. Brian Winters – A pair of veterans on a 1 year contracts and the Jets 3rd round draft pick. Colon is the most talented of the 3 and if he is healthy, will start and be a bargain on his contract. Winters has the make-up of a day one starter and should be able to flash enough to relegate Peterman to being the 6th lineman. Sorry, I don’t think Vlad Ducasse is in the mix here. Prediction – Willie Colon and Brian Winters.
1. Quarterback – Mark Sanchez vs. Geno Smith – The embattled veteran who just about everybody has given up on versus the 2nd round draft pick. If Smith is competent this summer and Sanchez can’t run away with the job with the type of performance we haven’t seen from him since 2010, Smith will start day one. Prediction – Geno Smith.