Injuries are mounting around the NFL, along with former fringe players exceeding expectations and former starters losing their jobs. The depth chart movement around the league is contagious as the second half of the season is quickly approaching. Practice squad players being signed to active rosters will have a chance to showcase their talent, while depth player’s roles increase as the starters endurance wears down. Lets take a look at some vital movements which have shaped the Jets depth chart for their week seven match up against the Patriots.
A run through the Jets roster as it appears to stand heading into week one —
Quarterback – Mark Sanchez, Mark Brunell, Kevin O’Connell
It is disappointing to hear that Greg McElroy will have to spend the season on IR, as he showed promise in the pre-season as the Jets long term backup. It made sense for the Jets to bring O’Connell back considering his familiarity with the offense. Yet, the Jets still have a terrible situation on their hands if Mark Sanchez gets hurt.
Running Back – Shonn Greene, LaDainian Tomlinson, Joe McKnight, Bilal Powell, John Conner (Fullback)
No surprises here. If John Conner can’t go week one, the Jets can bring Tony Richardson back.
Wide Receiver – Santonio Holmes, Plaxico Burress, Derrick Mason, Jeremy Kerley, Logan Payne, Mardy Gilyard
The Jets picked up Gilyard off waivers from the St. Louis Rams, who gave up on him after only year after spending a fourth round pick on him. He has big play potential and could contribute as a returner. I am surprised the Jets decided to keep Payne despite his injury. Clearly, they are very high on his potential, especially as a special teams player.
Tight End – Dustin Keller, Matthew Mulligan, Jeff Cumberland
I am excited about the potential of Cumberland and wonder if he will get a chance to be active this season.
Offensive Line – Nick Mangold, Brandon Moore, Matt Slauson, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Wayne Hunter, Robert Turner, Colin Baxter, Vladimir Ducasse, Caleb Schlauderaff
The Jets have brought in a veteran in Sclauderaff and also added a true center to backup Nick Mangold in Baxter, but their depth is still questionable. It will improve when Robert Turner comes back from an injury. One of the biggest disappointments in camp was how Vladimir Ducasse failed to progress.
Defensive Line – Sione Pouha, Muhammad Wilkerson, Mike DeVito, Ropati Pitoitua, Kenrick Ellis, Marcus Dixon
I am excited to see these group develop in the coming years. Pitoitua, Dixon, and Ellis are all coming off strong pre-season and Wilkerson will step right into the starting lineup as a rookie first round pick.
Linebackers – Bryan Thomas, Calvin Pace, David Harris, Bart Scott, Jamaal Westerman, Garrett McIntyre, Josh Mauga, Nick Bellore
The Jets are very young behind their starters and will be relying on Jamaal Westerman to provide a pass rush. Josh Mauga had an excellent pre-season and McIntyre and Bellore are both nice stories.
Secondary – Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Jim Leonhard, Eric Smith, Kyle Wilson, Brodney Pool, Emmanuel Cook, Donald Strickland, Marquice Cole, Andrew Sandejo
Arguably the Jets deepest position. Sandejo likely won’t stick around as the Jets just picked him up from Dallas to pick his brain for week one. Cook had an inconsistent pre-season but should be a quality special teams player.
Specials – TJ Conley, Nick Folk, Tanner Purdum
Conley is the only newcomer.
Over at ESPN, Rich Cimini posted the New York Jets current depth chart, which we will be updating throughout free agency here at TOJ. However, it also inspired me to take a midsummer guess at what the final 53 for the Jets will be, even before free agency opens and training camp begins. Crazy, right? Well, we are in the last days of the lockout so might as well get these predictions out there now. Talk it up on the Twitter, Facebook, and yes even the Google+ page —
- QB – Mark Sanchez, Mark Brunell, Greg McElroy
- RB – Shonn Greene, LaDainian Tomlinson, Joe McKnight, Bilal Powell
- FB – John Conner
- WR – Santonio Holmes, Randy Moss, Jerricho Cotchery, Jeremy Kerley, Scotty McKnight
- TE – Dustin Keller, Matthew Mulligan, Jeff Cumberland
- LT – D’Brickashaw Ferguson
- LG – Matt Slauson
- C – Nick Mangold, Robert Turner
- RG – Brandon Moore, Marlon Davis
- RT – Damien Woody, Vladimir Ducasse
- DE – Mike DeVito, Trevor Pryce, Muhammad Wilkerson, Ropati Pitoitua, Matt Kroul
- DT – Sione Pouha, Marcus Dixon, Kenrick Ellis, Martin Tevaseu
- OLB – Calvin Pace, Bryan Thomas, Jason Taylor, Jamaal Westerman
- ILB – David Harris, Bart Scott, Josh Mauga, Brashton Satele
- CB – Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson, Marquice Cole
- S – Jim Leonhard, Brodney Pool, Dwight Lowery, James Ihedigbo, Emmanuel Cook
- K – Nick Folk
- P – Steve Weatherford
- LS – Tanner Purdum
Of course there could and likely will be some UDFAs or low budget free agent signings replacing bottom of the roster players, along with a few other spots being taken up by players we don’t even know are on the Jets radar yet. However, I do think the Jets primary focus will be maintaining their own players instead of shopping in free agency or looking for the trades. I am probably being a touch on the optimistic side by thinking Santonio Holmes, Antonio Cromartie, and Brodney Pool will all be back but why not have faith in Mike Tannenabum at this point?