Training camp is so close yet still so far away. With the green and white not scheduled to begin camp for another couple of weeks, the training camp position battle chatter is going to start heating up. Let’s kick some of that chatter off with the ranking of the offensive position battles.
I know this may come as a shock to people and I hope you were sitting down whilst reading this. This may not be the most fun camp battle considering if Darnold and McCown are even then Darnold should get the nod but it’s certainly the most important. We’re going to get the most out of it this summer. The beat writers are going to have us hanging on every “Darnold throws a laser to Anderson” and “Darnold with a rough day under center” tweet.
It should come as no shock that quarterback is one because it’s the most important position and the Jets finally have a franchise guy. Him alone trying to win the starting spot is enough for this to be the best even if he was competing against air.
The interesting part of all of this is Teddy Bridgewater being in the mix. My gut feeling is that teams wait to see how he does on that knee in a real live NFL preseason game before making an offer and the Jets ultimately pulling the trigger on a mid round pick from a QB needy team. If not, well then Darnold is going to have one hell of a QB room to learn from.
2. Wide Receivers
The Jets currently have 13 (!) receivers on the depth chart. There is 0% chance that there are that many come Week 1. This is the most interesting battle if it weren’t for quarterbacks.
I have four locks for roster spots: Robby Anderson, Jermaine Kearse, Quincy Enunwa and Chad Hansen. I expect the Jets to keep 6-7 receivers depending on who wins the job as a returner.
Terrelle Pryor is in the lead to win a spot but if that ankle doesn’t hold up and the Jets get a sense that he is going to be a locker room issue a la Washington and Cleveland, he’ll be gone. ArDarius Stewart will be fighting for a roster spot in year two. Lucky Whitehead and Andre Roberts will be battling for return specialist and that’s the only way I see them making the roster. Charles Johnson leads the way for guys on the backend who could sneak on because of an injury.
3. Tight End
As it stands right now, the Jets have five tight ends on the roster. Two are locks for me in Eric Tomlinson as the blocking tight end and Christopher Herndon as the receiving tight end. My gut feeling is they keep three for depth purposes.
That means it’s a battle between Jorden Leggett (who has yet to even see the field), Clive Walford (who had two okay seasons in Oakland before doing next to nothing last season) and Bucky Hodges (who might have a good amount of upside but again, has yet to see the field).
Jets fans are enamored with Jordan Leggett for reasons I can’t quite understand. It’s hard to get excited about a guy who didn’t play a single snap in his rookie season. Same with Bucky Hodges. Both guys are athletic tight ends but if you can’t even get on the field you have no use. Walford is the veteran of the bunch and a guy I could see them keeping if Leggett can’t get healthy. Otherwise, if Leggett can show that he can stay healthy and do something, he’ll make the team over Walford and Hodges. It’s really a two man race for that third spot and it may very well come down to who has more availability on the field.
4. Offensive Line
The offensive line seems relatively set as it stands. The four starters from last year and newcomer Spencer Long will be the Week One guys barring injury. Now it just comes down to depth.
Ben Ijalan, Dakota Dozier, Travis Swanson and Brent Qvale look to be the locks as depth guys. There are only a couple of guys I can see making a run for a roster spot. Jonotthan Harrison could sneak his way on but it seems unlikely. Antonio Garcia, a guy the Jets picked up after a being cut by New England after his rookie year, is someone I can the team placing on the practice squad. He was injured last year with the Patriots and is more of a stash guy anyways. Other than that, there doesn’t seem like much wiggle room for the line.
5. Running Back
The Jets running back situation is very cut and dry. There’s not much that’s going to chance. Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell will be the workhorse backs while Elijah McGuire will receive a majority of third down snaps, especially in passing situations.
The only guy that could sneak on is the rookie Trenton Cannon and that would be as a returner. Thomas Rawls was brought in more as a camp body and unless he runs like Barry Sanders in preseason, he won’t be on the roster come Week One. The best case scenario for the Jets with Rawls is he plays well enough in the preseason for a team to want to trade for him and the Jets get a pick. That’s really it.