Reaction to Initial 53 Man Roster & Players to Target

James Kuntz offers his thoughts on the Jets’ initial 53 man roster and players the team should target.

This afternoon, the New York Jets made roster cuts in order to winnow down their 80+ player squad to a 53 man active roster. In this article, I will offer my thoughts on the most significant decisions the team made and  provide names of players cut by other teams that the Jets should target.

Cutting James Morgan

I believe that it was the right decision to cut QB James Morgan, the Jets’ 2020 fourth round pick. He was very clearly not the 2nd best QB on the roster, and it is not worth sacrificing a roster spot that could go to a much better player just to roster a player because you took him a year prior. I do not expect Morgan to be signed by another team, and he should be on the Jets’ practice squad this year. Hopefully he can develop into a backup quarterback by 2022.

Keeping La’Mical Perine over Josh Adams

In my opinion, this was the correct decision. Josh Adams played well in preseason but he also did it against fourth string players and was often untouched for the first five yards of his runs. Adams is an ideal player to have on the Jets practice squad in case of injury. Perine, on the other hand, will fill a very clear role in the backfield as the team’s short yardage and goal line specialist. He is also on a very cheap contract for the next three years. Another good decision by the Jets.

Cutting Kenny Yeboah and Ryan Griffin

The verdict is still out on this decision because the Jets only have one tight end on the active roster, which indicates that multiple signings and/or trades will happen in the next few days. What’s particularly surprising is that the Jets decided to cut Yeboah and Griffin. If you told me that Griffin would be cut, I would have told you that there was a 99% chance Yeboah would be retained. This position is definitely one to watch going forward.

Keeping Jabari Zuniga and Jonathan Marshall

While Zuniga has not earned his roster spot, keeping Zuniga gives him one last opportunity to prove he can play like an NFL player. However, if he continues on his current career trajectory, he will not be on this team next year. Marshall, the uber-athletic rookie DT, was able to secure a roster spot in the team’s most talented position group, which is very impressive. I’m a bit sad that the team let go of Tanzel Smart, who played very well this summer, but considering the fact that Marshall is a draft pick and has a lot of room to grow, the decision is very understandable.

 

Players I’d Like the Jets to Target

There were a lot of very intriguing players let go today. Here are a few that I’d like the Jets to pick up off of the waiver wire.

James Wiggins, Safety – Arizona Cardinals

Wiggins is an athletic and versatile safety who fell in the 2021 NFL Draft due to injury problems. The Jets currently have three safeties on the roster, and the addition of Wiggins would nicely complement Ashtyn Davis, who is returning from injury.

Javian Hawkins, RB – Atlanta Falcons

An undersized running back tailor-made for an outside zone running scheme, Hawkins is an excellent developmental running back for the New York Jets. While he is unlikely to contribute this year, his experience in the wide zone rushing scheme (which he played in at Louisville) means that he can hit the ground running moreso than other potential running back additions.

Drake Jackson, Center – Detroit Lions

Jackson is an appealing player because he is a perfect fit in the Jets’ zone blocking scheme. He was an experienced starter at Kentucky who fell to the 7th round of the 2021 draft because he is undersized. Jackson could develop into a competent backup center, and the Jets would be wise to kick the tires.

Dazz Newsome, WR – Chicago Bears

During the past draft cycle, I graded Newsome as a 4th round prospect and believed that he could have an instant impact in the NFL as a slot receiver. He fell to the 6th round in the draft and was cut after a preseason where he flashed some of his receiving skills. I’d love to see the Jets take a chance on Newsome, a young player with potential, over Jeff Smith, whom we’re already familiar with.