The TOJ Roundtable is back. Make sure to give everybody a follow on Twitter and to let us know your opinion down in the comment section below!
Make one BOLD prediction for New York Jets training camp…
Joe Caporoso – Two young under the radar players, Deon Simon and Deion Barnes are going to not only make the team but carve themselves out situational roles on the defense. This is an extremely talented unit and neither of those players have much name recognition right now but both have enough raw talent and upside to make an impact. Simon will eventually push veteran nose tackle Steve McLendon for playing time and develop into the long term replacement for Damon Harrison, while Barnes will become a regular in the sub package alongside Lorenzo Mauldin as a pass rusher.
Dalbin Osorio – I think the boldest prediction I can make is that the best player we will keep hearing about during training camp will be Dee Milliner. The former 9th overall pick has shown flashes when healthy, but those moments have been few and far between. I think he represents the most talented player behind Darrelle Revis and Buster Skrine. Milliner’s play and health could go a long way towards the Jets not having to invest in a corner to eventually replace Revis as he transitions to FS. He would also be able to give the Jets another body to throw at the TEs teams are employing now, since Milliner’s best performances have come against bigger wide receivers. Head Coach Todd Bowles will play the best guys at every position (except QB clearly) and if Milliner flashes, he will see the field. I think Milliner does just that in training camp.
Joe Malfa – I don’t really know if this is too “bold” anymore because there seems to be no end in sight in regards to the Ryan Fitzpatrick saga, but I believe that Geno Smith will be a pleasant surprise and show that he is capable of leading this Jets offense.
It seemed as if Geno Smith did more bad than good when he was the starter, but we cannot disregard the good entirely. In both of his seasons at the helm, he played very well down the stretch and looked like a legitimate NFL starter. We also can’t forget that he never had the chance to play with the weapons this offense currently has. He had Jeremy Kerley and Eric Decker, but he never had both at 100%. Beyond those two, he had guys by the names of Clyde Gates, Stephen Hill, T.J. Graham, another player who was always injured in Percy Harvin, and a Santonio Holmes in the twilight of his career.
Geno has a big arm, he is mobile, and with this current arsenal, I believe he will have a lot of success in Chan Gailey’s offense.
Kevin Zielaznicki – My bold prediction for Jets training camp is that fourth year cornerback Dee Milliner finally lives up to his potential and snags the other starting cornerback spot opposite from Darrelle Revis. After a great career at Alabama, Milliner was projected to be an elite NFL player and some mock drafts had him going first overall to the Kansas City Chiefs. But injury concerns, mostly about a torn labrum in his shoulder, caused Milliner to fall to the Jets at number nine and it seemed like a dream come true scenario. Prior to the 2013 NFL Draft, new GM John Idzik traded away Darrelle Revis to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for the 13th overall pick (used to draft Sheldon Richardson).
With the Jets trading away their star corner and having another potential lockdown defender fall in their laps, it seemed like the Jets defense wasn’t going to miss a beat. Unfortunately for the Jets, Milliner didn’t fare well being thrown into the fire and was benched several times in the first few weeks of the season by Coach Rex Ryan. Milliner finished the last month of his rookie season with some excellent performances and was named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the month. Things looked good and many had high expectations for Milliner heading forward but the injury bug never left him alone over the last two seasons.
Going into 2016, Milliner is finally healthy and is facing a make or break season as the Jets declined to pick up his fifth year player option. Milliner will have the opportunity to compete for the #2 cornerback spot, but it’s a longshot that he will prove he can do it. But as everyone who watches sports knows, anything can happen. I’m hoping that my bold prediction of Dee Milliner being named a starting cornerback comes true!
Alex Kaczynski –My bold prediction this year is Jace Amaro absolutely dominates training camp and gives us a glimmer of hope for the 2016 season. I really want this one to happen because Jets need to have relevant, play making tight end again. The staff has high expectations going into camp and having a disappointing NFL career this far, why not now? I believe he will start to mold with Marshall and Decker and hopefully take some attention off the quarterback position if it happens to be Geno. He has the skill set to be very good and training camp is where it all starts. If the Jets manage to get that going there, you could really see this offense start to roll with whomever is under center.
David Aitken – My bold prediction is that Bilal Powell will emerge above Matt Forte as the number one running back on the depth chart. This is not to say that the signing of Forte will end up being a bust, but that Powell will carry his 2015 late-season form into training camp and cement himself as first choice at the running back position.
Powell’s late-season surge was no flash in the pan. Battling injuries during the middle of last season, Powell once healthy earned himself an important role as a complementary option the Jets were crying out for in the passing game down the stretch. Boasting a runner-receiver balance that Chris Ivory could not, Powell gave the Jets offense much needed unpredictability that both opened up running lanes and helped take pressure off the two star receivers. His ability to stay healthy will remain a question, but should he’ll be healthy for camp and has at last real expectations to contribute. The Jets showed faith in Powell by prioritizing his re-signing this past spring and thus he will no longer be treated as simply a backup on the team’s depth chart. He’ll have the opportunity to prove himself the most viable option at running back, and I believe he’ll take it. Forte should still see 10-15 total touches a game and help give the Jets a consistent receiving threat out of the backfield, but Powell I expect will prove more explosive than the 30-year-old former Bear and already offers the versatility that has been a hallmark of Forte’s career.
Sean Walsh – The one bold prediction I will make is the that Jace Amaro will have a fantastic camp. The word around the team is that he’s working very hard on his blocking but will be very w’ell be very keen to see how he returns from his shoulder injury
He could play a massive role in the passing game especially with the Jets only having 9 catches total in 2015 from the TE position and with the way Gailey spreads out the field he will be vital as either a check down option or one on one against a LB. It will all come down to how well Jace can block so that will be something to keep an eye on during camp but as I said, expect massive strides from #88
Photo Credit: Standing Sports