It is the “slow season” for not only the New York Jets, but the entire NFL. After a long draft season and overall offseason, I usually take a break this time of the year. This year is different though.
Early Roster Battle:
One of the early, noticeable battles at OTA’s that will carry on into training camp is at the fullback position.
Last year’s starter Tommy Bohanon was less than spectacular. Undrafted free agent Chad Young out of San Diego State will be given every chance possible to unseat him as the team’s fullback.
Young is built like a boulder (5’10, 240 pounds) and has displayed excellent hands in limited practices. Bohanon already knows the offensive system and may show improvement this year. I’m looking forward to watching these two battle it out.
The fullback position is a one vs. one battle, but wide receiver and cornerback is a royal rumble.
Let’s assume the Jets keep six wide receivers. Eric Decker, Jeremy Kerley, Jalen Saunders, and Shaq Evans are most likely locks. Stephen Hill and David Nelson would have to be injured or show absolutely nothing in training camp to not make the team.
This leaves off recent signing Jacoby Ford, recent sixth round pick Quincy Enunwa (who has a high ceiling), and even Greg Salas who flashed at times last year as a back up slot option.
As for the cornerbacks, this group is a more even field. After starters Dee Milliner and Dimitri Patterson, the locks seem to be recent third round pick Dexter McDougle, last year’s slot corner Kyle Wilson (who Rex recently called a leader on this defense), and former undrafted free agent Darrin Walls.
That would leave the roster with five “locks” at corner. If they keep seven, that leaves two spots between special teams demon Ellis Lankster, offseason signee’s Johnny Patrick and Jeremy Reeves (Rex has been gushing about the 5’8 speedster Reeves), 2014 sixth round draft pick Brandon Dixon, and Ras-I Dowling who has seen time with starters during OTA’s while Milliner is out.
As I follow OTA’s closely and hear who is “flashing”, I tend to not get as high on bottom of the roster speedsters as others do.
For instance, Jacoby Ford has caught the eye of many throughout this year’s OTA’s. Ford is a proven NFL kick returner, but there is a reason the Oakland Raiders of all teams were willing to let him go (and it has nothing to do with money).
In fourteen games last year, Ford had thirteen catches for 99 yards and no touchdowns. Clyde Gates was making noise last year much similar to what Ford has done this year.
I hope he flashes the same way when pads come on, but these guys are stars in shorts and non-contact practices. Training camp will be much more telling, once again.
Around The League:
I understand a lot of fans excited about Andre Johnson possibly being on the trading block, but buyer beware.
Johnson will be 33 this season and his cap hit is between $14 and $17 million in each of the next three seasons. If cut, he is owed dead money in the following order:
Does this fit Idzik’s mantra of cap flexibility? I do not believe so. The Jets are hoping to develop young talent like Jalen Saunders and Jace Amaro, while having Eric Decker (who makes about half of what Johnson makes) and Jeremy Kerley penciled in as the main targets.