The Entirely Too Early New York Jets 53 Man Roster Prediction

Joe Caporoso predicts the New York Jets 53 man roster at an absurdly early date

With the season less than 100 days away and the New York Jets in the midst of OTAs, we thought it was an appropriate time to drop in a premature prediction for the team’s 53 man roster. It is fair to assume there will be a handful of outside players still brought in, surprise cuts and injuries BUT this is the best we can do based on who is on the team right now.

In case you missed it, we discussed the New York Jets wide receiver situation on the team’s website right here. We also talked quarterback there last week. We should have 3 or 4 more segments coming up each Monday on the so stay tuned…


  • Geno Smith
  • Mike Vick
  • Tahj Boyd

The Jets were high on Boyd and Logan Thomas throughout the entire draft process as long term developmental backups. Once the Cardinals took Thomas somewhat surprisingly early, Boyd became their guy. It will take a very strong summer from Matt Simms to keep Boyd off the final 53, as the Jets will likely not want to risk losing him off the practice squad to another team’s roster. The decision to sign Vick and draft Boyd shows the Jets remain doubtful of Simms’ ability to be a NFL backup.


  • Chris Ivory
  • Chris Johnson
  • Bilal Powell
  • Daryl Richardson
  • Chad Young (FB)

Maybe somewhat surprising to see the Jets keep four halfbacks and Young over Tommy Bohanon. However, Bohanon was relatively awful last season so if Young can make an impression this summer, he has a good shot of sticking. I think the Jets keep four halfbacks because they will be fairly run heavy and depth is always essential, especially with Chris Ivory’s durability questions. Mike Goodosn might not be on the roster by the end of the week, nevermind in September and Alex Green remains an equally long shot to stick on the roster.


  • Jeff Cumberland
  • Jace Amaro
  • Zach Sudfeld

Assuming the team doesn’t bring in some veteran blocking support, Sudfeld should stick as the third guy behind Cumberland and Amaro, who will be prominent parts of the passing game. The Jets are very high on Cumberland’s potential. We are going to see many two tight end sets featuring him and Amaro, so much so that it is likely to be the team’s de facto base formation.


  • Breno Giacomini
  • Willie Colon
  • Nick Mangold
  • Brian Winters
  • D’Brickashaw Ferguson
  • Dakota Dozier
  • Oday Aboushi
  • Ben Ijalana
  • Dalton Freeman

The health of Colon as the team enters training camp bears watching. As of now, it appears Aboushi is the top backup to him but it wouldn’t be surprising if Dozier bumped him out of that spot and develops into a likely 2015 starter. If healthy, Ijalana provides competent tackle depth and Freeman projects as a developmental player at center behind Mangold.


  • Eric Decker
  • Jeremy Kerley
  • David Nelson
  • Jalen Saunders
  • Shaq Evans
  • Stephen Hill

It will be a very interesting battle for the spots after Decker and Kerley. Nelson remains the team’s third best/most proven receiver, out of the rookies Saunders’ game is most ready to make an immediate impact on the offense, while Evans was a strong fourth round selection as well. For now, I will go with Stephen Hill sticking on the roster. Clyde Gates and Greg Salas are goners. Jacoby Ford and Quincy Enunwa are wild cards here. If Ford is healthy, he can be electric but is there room for him and Saunders? Enunwa is very, very raw but do the Jets want to risk losing him to another team by putting him on the practice squad? Like we said at the top, it is going to be a heated race this summer at this position.


  • Muhammad Wilkerson
  • Damon Harrison
  • Sheldon Richardson
  • Leger Douzable
  • Kenrick Ellis

These guys are good.


  • David Harris
  • Demario Davis
  • Calvin Pace
  • Quinton Coples
  • Antwan Barnes
  • Jeremiah George
  • Nick Bellore
  • Trevor Reilly

Hopefully Barnes is back to 100% health by the time training camp starts. The Jets need his speed off the edge. I’m going with the rookie, Reilly, knocking Garrett McIntyre off the roster and fellow rookie George sticking as well. Jermaine Cunningham could also push for a spot but as of now, I don’t think he will make it.


  • Dee Milliner
  • Dimitri Patterson
  • Kyle Wilson
  • Dexter McDougle
  • Darrin Walls
  • Ellis Lankster
  • Ras I-Dowling

Dowling is going to generate a bunch of offseason buzz because of his measurables and draft status. Yet, can he stay healthy and consistent? Patterson is the likely day one starter opposite of Milliner, while it wouldn’t be surprising if McDougle was pushing for playing time on the outside by the middle of the season. Lankster is a core special teams player, Walls provides good depth and is deserving of more of a look with the first team.


  • Antonio Allen
  • Calvin Pryor
  • Dawan Landry
  • Jaiquawn Jarrett

Nothing too surprising here unless you highly value Josh Bush, who hasn’t done much of anything since being drafted or think that Rontez Miles can make an impression this summer. It wouldn’t be stunning if the team kept five safeties and six corners.


  • Nick Folk
  • Ryan Quigley
  • Tanner Purdum

No surprises here.

Disagree? Leave your version in the comment section below…

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the VP of Social Media at Whistle Sports

  • To what extent will Breno Giacomini affect the O-line?

  • biggest questions will be guys like will campbell, josh bush, brandon dixon, johnny patrick

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    I think Enunwa has got a good chance to beat out Hill if he can contribute on special teams this year. I came across a highlight clip of him in the following scouting report converting a 3rd & 5 for 35 yards that displays some impressive playmaking ability with the ball.

    I think Ik is an interesting prospect as well, but drafting 3 LBs makes it tough to find roster spots for all of them.

  • first everyone needs to stop overrating david nelson. i like him just like everyone else but he is a career backup. i think ford will make the team cause u cant teach speed and he has plenty of it, plus he adds more value to the offense because of his speed and he is a pretty good kick returner as well, all he needs to do is stay healthy. nelson is gonna be battling hill and shaq for a roster spot. i think he is gonna lose to hill and their not gonna cut the rookie. also bush is gonna make the team over jarrett at safety because he knows the defense better.

  • Joe Caporoso

    Actually feel like everybody underrates David Nelson. Guy is only 27 years old, 6 foot 5 and caught 60+ passes in 2011 with 5 TDs, nevermind grabbing 36 passes last season and leading the time in reps, targets, receptions, and TD receptions over last 4 games despite getting signed in week 5.

    Ford is plenty fast but has never caught more than 25 passes in a season. Can he stay healthy? Can he produce? He played in 14 games last year and had under 100 yards receiving total. There is potential there but kinda of hard to keep him and Saunders, who is a near lock to make the team. With Hill, again plenty of potential…still limited production.

    Unlike many players at WR, Nelson has actually produced consistently at the NFL level. Career backups don’t have 61 reception seasons on their resume usually.

  • John Hunter

    e star don’t get misunderstand overrating Nelson with the fact that’s how bad we were last season, and outside of Decker we haven’t really upgraded with lock starters. As you mentioned Ford, along with 3 mid to late round rooks is all we got……not to mention Hill is a bad TC away from being declared a Tanny Bust Special. Nelson showed he’s willing to fight for his catches, and for now, that’s a pretty big deal for this offense.

  • Bacon

    My projections are 49/53 with you. I took Campbell instead of Ijalana, but that was without considering Aboushi stepping in as the OTAs starting guard, so I’m willing to grant that. I think the fullback job is a toss-up; Young’s tape is impressive so I would love to be wrong here, but I think Bohanon’s year of experience could tip the scales.

    On more contentious notes, I think Ford should get on the roster over Saunders. I REALLY like Saunders’ potential, but he’s 164 pounds and could use some extra time in the weight room before returning punts and kickoffs. Besides, with Ford, Hill, and Kerley all being injury prone, Saunders should get called up from the practice squad at some point.

    I do feel pretty strongly that TJ Barnes (or if Barnes isn’t good enough, a nose tackle cut from another roster) should get a spot. Three of the five defensive linemen, including both nose tackles, become free agents after this season, and there’s no guarantee any of them come back. If Ellis wants and can get a starting gig or, God forbid, Harrison wants more money than Idzik is willing to pay, the defensive line is downgraded from the cornerstone unit it has become. I would argue kicking the tires on Barnes is necessary to see exactly how much it’s worth paying those guys, particularly Ellis. It’s not like losing one of Darrin Walls, Ellis Lankster, or Ras-I Dowling is going to stop this team from being a contender. Besides, 2013 was the first season Rex’s Jets had less than 6 defensive linemen on the roster to finish the season.

    That’s all I have to say about that.

  • KAsh


    Harrison is a restricted free agent after this season. He is not going anywhere unless something major happens, the Jets lowball his tender (he was undrafted, so anything other than an original round tender will get the Jets a first- or second-round pick if the Jets do not match the offer), or a new coaching staff does not like him.

    As for the list, I think parts of it are off the mark.

    The team has no use for four running backs. Unlike wide receivers, more running backs on the field at the same time are not harder to defend against, and there are too few carries to split four ways. The 2009 and 2010 Jets were built for Ground & Pound, and neither team had more than three running backs. Players often get injured, but teams then sign other players from outside, instead of keeping a replacement on the roster in case of something that may never happen. I think Powell’s versatility and change of pace as a complement to Ivory and Johnson beat out Richardson.

    I will say this now so it does not come out of the blue later: Decker, Nelson, and Evans all play the same role. All are tall, big, can assist in the run game, but more possession receivers than deep threats that can stretch the field. Decker is the big name, has the big contract, and the most ability out of the three, but Nelson and Evans will be competing for reps in training camp. I do not think anyone would ever make a play designed to use both Nelson and Evans on the field. Nelson was crucial for us last year, but there is no upside, and there is not much ability either. Evans wins the competition, and Nelson’s spot goes to someone who can return kicks (and is missing from this roster).

    At defensive back, I think the team does go with five safeties. Pryor is a rookie and Landry is a bad backup for him. You need someone rangy like Bush or Miles, so that if you have to pull Pryor out of a game, you are not forced to rewrite your entire defense on the spot as Landry cannot even attempt to do what Pryor does. You also need another gunner on the return team besides Lankster. To get the roster spot, you need to cut somebody like Dowling, but hopefully McDougle continues to impress in training camp and you can cut Patterson. Along with cutting the fourth running back, that brings the roster back to 53.

    Finally, I think there is no reason thus far to think Boyd is anything but a practice squad player. Boyd has issues with technique, accuracy, reading defenses, learning to take snaps from under center, footwork, eye discipline, and needs to learn the offense. Other than that, he is ready to start tomorrow. He (along with Enunwa) got passed over two hundred times by every NFL team less than one month ago, yet he (along with Enunwa) is in danger of getting signed off the practice squad? I guess the two hundred twelve players that came before him are all making rosters.

    With Boyd behind Smith and Vick, you have three quarterbacks with similar issues, and none that can go in so as not to lose the game. Vick is brittle and Geno has shown that he can get into a rut and not be able to pull himself out, so the third string quarterback will be just as important to this team as he was last year. If Smith is sinking and Vick is on IR, you are only going to sink deeper with Boyd. Though I do not believe the team must make the playoffs, in many ways this is a crucial year for Rex. Knowing all of Boyd’s problems, are you really going to fall back on him if shit hits the fan?

  • Gavin.

    I have seen this video on Chad Young, the fullback Joe has taking the job over Bohanon…. It is a highlight reel of him, but would love him to lay the lumber in the NFL for us and would be great having creating holes for Ivory and Johnson like he does in this video….

    After watching this, I am really rooting for the guy.

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    I find it amazing how little Nelson is appreciated. His career stats are VERY similar to Kerley’s (128 career receptions vs 130 & 1,664 yards vs 1,465) with the main differences being Kerley has slightly more yards/catch & better YAC while Nelson has 0 career fumbles.

    Nelson was arguably Geno’s favorite target at the end of last season (& definitely top 2). At this point, it would seem foolish to take away any player a young QB trusts & was able to have success with.

  • Steve Windeler

    You can’t replace Saunders with Ford. If Saunders doesn’t return punts for us, then who will?

  • mike

    thanks for that link. young appears to have two skills that bohannon didn’t show last year: power and agility. intriguing player.

  • Kyle

    I really like the jets roster. And great job joe I really can’t disagree strongly with any of these choices. I like it!

  • joe dante

    1. Saunders will not be placed on the practice squad because another team will scoop him up in a second.
    2. Eric Decker is NOT a possession receiver. Eric Decker is a deep threat.
    3. David Nelson will start opposite Decker unless Hill becomes a good receiver this year. Rookies and Jacoby Ford are not going to be starters this season.

  • Dan in RI

    Richardson and Powell are on the bubble at RB–doubt that they both stick. Richardson will have to be impressive to beat out Powell, who has shown durability and enough talent to be worth a roster spot, even with Johnson taking over his role.

    The CB position is full of wild cards this offseason. Dowling, Reeves, Patrick, and Dixon are going to be slugging it out for a roster spot. If Dowling is healthy, you’d have to think he has the best shot. But they will all be in the running at the start of camp, even if only one or two of them stick. My guess is that Dowling makes the roster and Dixon and Reeves go to the practice squad. If Dowling gets hurt or doesn’t live up to his pre-draft hype, I think Dixon gets a shot at sticking with the team.

  • Big Al

    this roster is barely an nfl roster.. with hopes of no names becoming somebodies on the jets,, nelson?, a career back up, we did nothing to shore up cornerback postion, we are still weak in secondary, we had all this cap room and are saving it for a rainy day,, 45 year plus jets fans like myself are forced again to wait and see,,, this is an 8 win team on their best day, UNLESS, their offense can stay on the field with long drives and produce more than their pathetic 18 points per game, what are you expecting this defense to do?? give up only 17 per game?,, is this rex ryan 1950’s mentality?,, not the new nfl anymore.. yes you must have a seattle type offense/defense, which is obviously what the jets are trying to copy, they are not fooling anyone,, so the offense is definitely the issue foe me this season,, we need 24 points per game imo,, that is the goal, do that and we make the playoffs…

  • David

    This is why when Idzik talks all this competition BS I have to laugh. If you look at the NY Jets roster– and you can even see it in Joe’s predictions– there isn’t a lot of guess work involved. The competition “might be” and I stress the word might, be for may 4 spots on the entire roster. The rest are already set in stone.

  • Jets Warriors

    Dude, Chad Young video is a must watch! Can we put him in at guard? He reminds me of that Tampa Bay fullback in the early 2000’s that scored all the time. Bohannon is Bye Bye!

  • Dan

    This is as good a list as I could come up with this early. One area of disagreement is linebacker. I don’t think Barnes makes it back from injuries to ever be the same…or make the team. Also I think Nick Bellore could be a goner. He has never impressed me aside from STs and with a new ST coach there is no guarantee for him. Lots of young players could vie for those ST spots with, hopefully, better success. Good work on the roster though.