New York Jets Depth Chart – April Analysis

Joe Caporoso reviews the New York Jets depth chart heading into April…

A review of where the New York Jets depth chart stands as we head into April…

Quarterback 

  1. Josh McCown
  2. Bryce Petty
  3. Christian Hackenberg

Do not get wrapped up in the order, it is based on experience. The opening day starter is likely to be McCown or Hackenberg, if he is able to surprise in the summer with his growth. If the Jets do draft a quarterback, Petty would be the odd man out, unless the team foolishly decides to carry four quarterbacks again. This is arguably the weakest quarterback group in the NFL.

Running Back

  1. Matt Forte
  2. Bilal Powell
  3. Brandon Wilds
  4. Brandon Burks
  5. Romar Morris
  6. Chris Swain (FB

Based on last year, Powell is the most talented back on the roster and deserves the most reps. Outside of him and Forte, the rest of these guys are camp fodder and unlikely to make the final 53. The Jets need a 3rd running back and still may consider signing former Vikings fullback Zach Line.

Wide Receiver 

  1. Eric Decker
  2. Quincy Enunwa
  3. Robby Anderson
  4. Charone Peake
  5. Quinton Patton
  6. Devin Smith
  7. Jalin Marshall
  8. Myles White
  9. Frankie Hammond
  10. Darius Jennings

The Jets most intriguing position group heading into 2017. Depending on his recovery, Decker may still be released but I’d bet on him being on the opening day roster. Enunwa and Anderson are looking to build off impressive 2016 seasons and are massive bookends on the outside. Peake, Patton and Smith will be battling for reps and targets behind them. Peake has the most physical upside, Smith is on his last chance to make an impression and Patton has the most experience. Jalin Marshall starts the season on a four game suspension which could cost him a roster spot if the guys in front of him play well.

Tight End 

  1. Austin Seferian-Jenkins
  2. Eric Tomlinson
  3. Braedon Bowman

This is as ugly as it looks, especially with Seferian-Jenkins starting the season on a two game suspension. It is debatable if either Tomlinson or Bowman are NFL players and Seferian-Jenkins has a well known name but did not play good football last year and couldn’t stay healthy. HELP WANTED.

Offensive Tackle 

  1. Kelvin Beachum
  2. Brandon Shell
  3. Ben IJalana
  4. Brent Qvale

The Jets are betting on Shell’s three games to finish 2016 as a sign of things to come and that Beachum can return to his 2015 form. If not, Ijalana has experience at both tackle spots and Qvale has a little playing time under his belt.

Offensive Guard

  1. James Carpenter
  2. Brian Winters
  3. Dakota Dozier
  4. Craig Watts

Guard is one of the Jets few solid and stable positions, as Carpenter is coming off two very good seasons and Winters has improved gradually into a competent player. Watts was intriguing last preseason and is a better bet to stick around than Dozier.

Center 

  1. Wesley Johnson
  2. Jonotthan Harrison

The recently signed Harrison will push Johnson in camp and could slot in as their top backup at guard. Johnson impressed last year and is likely to be the starter.

Nose Tackle 

  1. Steve McLendon
  2. Deon Simon
  3. Mike Pennel

McLendon is one of the few remaining players left over 30 on the roster and could be in the progress of losing his job to Simon, a 2015 7th round pick who flashed last year. Pennel is a new addition who flashed in Green Bay and could stick as a rotational backup if he can stay out of trouble.

Defensive End 

  1. Leonard Williams
  2. Muhammad Wilkerson
  3. Sheldon Richardson
  4. Lawrence Thomas
  5. Claude Pelon

Richardson is likely to be traded in the coming month, while if Wilkerson bounces back from an ugly 2016, the Jets will have one of the better defensive end duos in the NFL. The team is very high on Thomas who flashed in camp and the preseason before a week 1 injury ended his season.

Inside Linebacker 

  1. David Harris
  2. Darron Lee
  3. Julian Stanford

After an unsuccessful run at Dont’a Hightower, David Harris will likely finish out his career in 2017 with the Jets as a starter. The team will probably draft a long term running mate for Lee at inside linebacker, who flashed as a rookie but needs to be much more consistent to live up to his draft status.

Outside Linebacker 

  1. Jordan Jenkins
  2. Lorenzo Mauldin
  3. Josh Martin
  4. Corey Lemonier
  5. Freddie Bishop

The team desperately needs Jenkins and Mauldin to make strides under new outside linebacker coach Kevin Greene. Mauldin took a major step back after an encouraging rookie year and Jenkins came on strong to close 2016 after a quiet start to the season. Martin is a special teamer, while Lemonier and Bishop will be battling for roster spots.

Cornerback 

  1. Morris Claiborne
  2. Marcus Williams
  3. Buster Skrine
  4. Juston Burris
  5. Daryl Roberts
  6. Dexter McDougle
  7. Nick Marshall

Claiborne is easily the most talented player here but how many games will he suit up? Williams couldn’t handle a bigger role last year but still has a nose for the football and has a place in this defense. Skrine is ideally the slot corner but has lingering concussion issues. The team has high hopes for Burris, a 2016 4th round pick who will get every opportunity to grab playing time in 2017.

Safety 

  1. Marcus Gilchrist
  2. Calvin Pryor
  3. Rontez Miles
  4. Doug Middleton

Both starters were flat out bad last season and Gilchrist is recovering from a major injury. He could be released if the Jets go safety with the 6th overall pick. It is debatable if Pryor merits a starting job handed to him or if he should have to battle it out with Miles in camp.

Special Teams

  1. Chandler Catanzaro (K)
  2. Ross Martin (K)
  3. Lachlan Edwards (P)
  4. Tanner Purdum (LS)

Only intrigue here is if Martin can beat out the veteran Catanzaro and if Edwards can improve on a disappointing rookie year.

Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com 

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owne 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

  • CPL593H

    Fugly situation. Not much in the way of elite talent, and the 2nd tier is pretty mediocre or unproven. Really need to hit big on a bunch of draft picks this year.

  • glegly

    You could say “Help Wanted” for just about any pos group, short of DE, where bizarrely we have 3 top flight starters for what are two spots. QB, OT, OLB, CB, S, TE, you name it, we need it. Ugh.

  • John C

    Wow, only after reading this, did I really appreciate how poorly Mike McCagnan has done as GM. He had better knock it out of the park with this draft. They need an immediate star at 6, and at least 2 other high quality starters, or Mac is useless. We have an opportunity to pick, no worse than the 6th best college player… That person must start, star, and be an every down player from day one, who excels. No projects, or limited performers.