Turn On The Jets 12 Pack – Jets Roster Battles Edition

Joe Caporoso with a Turn On The Jets 12 Pack on the Jets upcoming roster battles this summer

Welcome back to the Turn On The Jets 12 Pack with a very special “I’m getting married this Sunday so I better publish this soon before I get yelled at edition.” Don’t worry, you will be in good hands the next two weeks (while I’m on my honeymoon), we still have plenty of content on the way with the rest of the team steering the ship. For today, here is a review of the Jets roster battles heading into the summer. Check back tomorrow for UK Chronicles, myself and Connor Rogers breaking down Bryce Petty and then Sunday for Dalbin Osorio’s 53 man roster prediction

1. Offensive Guard – Who will be the other starting guard besides newly signed James Carpenter? Oday Aboushi is the slight favorite as of right now after finishing the year relatively strong. Willie Colon is a veteran presence but keep an eye on second year player Dakota Dozier, who may have the most natural talent of any player in contention. Brian Winters is headed towards a backup/roster bubble spot, while Jarvis Harrison will be too raw to contribute as a rookie.

2. Running Back – The best pure runner of the group is Chris Ivory and the best third down/passing game option is Bilal Powell so both the incumbents are favorites for the most playing time. Stevan Ridley is the wild card, if he can stay healthy, he could cut into some of Ivory’s time while Zac Stacy is more of a long shot, who will likely need the combination of a big pre-season and a slow recovery from Ridley to make noise.

3. Edge – Calvin Pace is going to find his way on to the field plenty, particularly on rushing downs while Quinton Coples should be more of a factor on passing downs and will be in the mix as the Jets use more four and five man fronts. Lorenzo Mauldin, Jason Babin, IK Enemkpali and Trevor Reilly are battling behind those two, with a Mauldin a lock to stick on the roster after being selected in the third round. Do not be surprised if Enemkpali pushes Babin off the team or if both of them stick.

4. Depth Inside Linebacker – This is the deepest collection of inside linebackers the Jets have in at least a decade. Behind David Harris and Demario Davis, Jamari Lattimore is a quality special teamer with starting experience, while Erin Henderson and Joe Mays have both started recently as well. They also signed undrafted free agent Taiwan Jones, who is expected to make a push for a roster spot. Could Jones knock one of the veterans off or will he be relegated to the practice squad? It will be interesting to see if the Jets carry four or five players here.

5. Tight End – We know Jeff Cumberland is the Y (except he can’t really block) and Jace Amaro is the H/F. It is fair to assume the H/F is going to see more work than the Y in Chan Gailey’s offense and wonder how many two tight end sets this team will use. Can Cumberland hold off veteran Kellen Davis from a blocking standpoint? What about Zach Sudfeld and undrafted free agent Wes Saxton? Outside of Amaro, the likely two other roster spots here are completely up for grabs.

6. Depth Receiver – Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, Jeremy Kerley and Devin Smith are locks. The last one or two spots are going to be based on long term potential and ability to contribute on special teams. Quincy Enunwa has the highest upside of the remaining receivers but Mike Maccagnan included DeVier Posey in a draft day trade for a reason. Chris Owusu, Saalim Hakim or TJ Graham will need to flash as returners and/or gunners if they want a chance to stick. Shaq Evans is likely on the outside looking in and could end up on the practice squad or cut.

7. Returner – Check out above. My money is on Owusu sticking, he may have the most raw ability as an overall football player alongside Enunwa. Hakim is a very good gunner but was over-matched as returner last season and can’t be put deep on punts. Watch for the reliable but dull Jeremy Kerley to remain back deep there, with maybe Eric Decker receiving a few situational looks. Also a friendly reminder that Devin Smith, DeVier Posey and Dexter McDougle are not returners and never have been despite their names sometimes being thrown out.

8. Safety – Marcus Gilchrist and Calvin Pryor should be the starters but who will stick behind them? Undrafted free agent Durell Eskridge has the skills of a natural free safety, something this team currently lacks. Antonio Allen had an encouraging 2013 but was pulled all over the place last season, turning into an unmitigated disaster. The thought of turning a player who was basically a linebacker in college into a corner was absolutely ludicrous. However, he may benefit from a fresh start with Todd Bowles. Jaiquawn Jarrett hasn’t done much in his NFL career outside of the Pittsburgh game last season and will need to hold off fan favorite Rontez Miles and Eskridge.

9. Backup Tackle – The Jets badly need another player with experience here. Right now the top options are Ben Ijalana, James Brewer or swinging one of the other backup guards out to tackle…not encouraging. The Jets are already shaky on the offensive line, if somebody goes down at tackle? It could get ugly.

10. Defensive Line Depth – Who stays behind the four horsemen? Leger Douzable has had the most production recently and is the most versatile. TJ Barnes, Davon Walls and Deon Simon are likely battling to be the backup nose tackle. It is hard to see both Kevin Vickerson and Stephen Bowen making it. Somebody with quality experience is getting cut.

11. Depth Corner –  I’ll go out on a limb (not really) and say Darrelle Revis (!), Antonio Cromartie, Buster Skrine, Dee Milliner and Dexter McDougle are locks. Marcus Williams is also likely to stick around after what he flashed last year, unless the new staff likes the skill set of Darrin Walls better or wants to just carry both of them. Seven corners feels a bit excessive but it wouldn’t shock me in such a defensive back heavy system.

12. Fullback –  Do they carry one at all? If they do, can Tommy Bohanon ignore this annoying blogger and hold off UDFA JC Copeland? I’m not sure this team is going to use a fullback but if they do, Copeland is probably going to offer more of what they need.

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner 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 EVP of Content at Whistle Sports