New York Jets Draft Notebook: Rookie Power Rankings, Volume One

Connor Rogers with power rankings for the New York Jets rookies…

While no conclusions or movement can be made from a minicamp, the Jets 2018 draft class (along with many rookie free agents) had the chance to work with the coaching staff for the first time over the last few days.

With a few potential starters in this year’s group there is a hope for quite a bit of instant impact, making the rookie power rankings more important than ever. Let’s reveal volume one of what should be a year long tracker.

1) Sam Darnold, QB

Well duh, right? The third overall pick of the draft and potential franchise quarterback of the future has to sit on the throne before training camp even begins.

Darnold has a realistic chance to open the season as the Jets starting quarterback. He packs much more big play ability with both his arm and legs than Josh McCown. Teddy Bridgewater’s health is a bit of a mystery at the moment, but could potentially be the x-factor in this situation.

Either way if Darnold does play, it’s hard to imagine anyone else bumping him from this spot.

2) Chris Herndon, TE

The tight end out of Miami wasn’t the Jets second pick in this draft, but he starts out in the number two spot. With Austin Seferian-Jenkins leaving in free agency for Jacksonville, the starting tight end spot is wide open.

Herndon, who is a versatile threat as a good athlete, pass catcher and reliable blocker is the favorite to win that job. Him and Eric Tomlinson could create an under-the-radar, solid duo at the position for Gang Green.

3) Nathan Shepherd, DL

The Jets trade for Henry Anderson most likely takes away ‘starter’ snaps from the rookie Shepherd, but at the minimum he will be in the defensive line rotation.

I like his ability as an interior pass rusher, where taking Anderson off the field on passing downs for him would be a wise plan. If Darnold sits, Shepherd has a chance to climb all the way to the top spot.

4) Parry Nickerson, CB

The electric corner out of Tulane provides much needed depth in the slot for Todd Bowles’ secondary. While Buster Skrine is penciled in to start, he’s missed a handful of games over the last two seasons. Counting on him for all sixteen games is no sure bet.

As for Nickerson, he’ll also see the field on special teams. His 4.32 speed should help as a gunner, where the Jets kick and punt coverage units were far from fantastic last season.

5) Trenton Cannon, RB/KR/PR

The Jets have a plethora of running backs on their roster between Bilal Powell, Isaiah Crowell, Elijah McGuire, Thomas Rawls and now Cannon, but his expected impact role is to solidify the returner spot.

He has incredible speed, something that can be utilized not only on special teams but also on screens in the passing game. After having the lowest punt return average in the NFL last season, anything will be an upgrade this year on that unit.

With that being said, it’s hard to see him climbing too far in the power rankings unless he turns in a stunning all-pro caliber returner type season.

6) Foley Fatukasi, DL

This selection was a little puzzling. Not due to Fatukasi’s talent, something he does have plenty of as a run stopper, but because of the lack of need.

The trade for Henry Anderson and third round selection of Nathan Shepherd make it extremely hard for Fatukasi to not only get on the field, but to make the team. Look for an undrafted free agent or two to sneak into this part of the rankings in early August.

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