Predicting the Jets 53-Man Depth Chart

Way-too-early depth charts are a post-draft tradition like no other; where else can you just blindly throw out bold claims without the slightest bit of on-field support? Nowhere. Which is why we all love them, it’s the chance to project your own bit of hope onto how the offseason will develop.

So here it is, filled with stunning hot takes, wild position battles and one more veteran out the door.

For more Jets news, be sure to follow Dan Mosher on Twitter @DMosher_NYJ as well as the official NYJetsNews.com Twitter and Facebook pages.

OFFENSE:


Quarterback (3):
– Christian Hackenberg
– Josh McCown
– Bryce Petty

BOOM! Starting off with a stunner to those of you who are only reading all the hashtag Fake News about McCown starting week one. I’d love to say Hack comes into camp and balls out, unfortunately, I see it almost being given to him by default, because this QB competition will be wildly underwhelming. Sure, it’s New York so there will be plenty of hype, but as for the quality of play, I’m not holding my breath. Hack, though, will show that he’s made enough progress and the coaching staff will let him take his lumps in the preseason. He’ll start week one and hopefully show some steady improvement throughout, thanks in part to McCown in the QB room helping him learn the new system.


Running Back (3):
– Bilal Powell
– Matt Forte
– Elijah McGuire

Powell finally sheds his “1B” role and assumes the top spot that he’s seen held by Shonn Greene, Chris Ivory and Forte over the last five years. Powell will still be apart of a running back by committee, so his playing time shouldn’t increase dramatically, but it’s his group.

Keep in mind Todd Bowles mentioned McGuire being used heavily in the return game, but his college production there wasn’t stellar. He has a roster spot locked down, but his development as a returner throughout camp could shape how the rest of the roster is filled out.


Fullback (1):
– Anthony Firkser

Firkser will be involved in what will turn out to be an intriguing camp battle with Julian Howsare, ultimately resulting in the Harvard man securing the job. The undrafted Firkser is a versatile weapon with the ability to line up at Fullback, H-Back or Tight End. He can be a surprise threat in the passing game and is solid in pass protection. He is an effective lead blocker, especially on the outside when he can build up some more speed.


Wide Receiver (7):
– Eric Decker
– Quincy Enunwa
– Robby Anderson
– Chad Hansen
– Charone Peake
– ArDarius Stewart
– Gabe Marks

Suspended: Jalin Marshall, 4 Games
Injured: Devin Smith, Injured Reserve

No real surprises here on the players, however I’m sure their order on the depth chart is a question for some. This is a crowded position group filled with potential, this offseason is when we’ll see that potential blossom into talent. Count on it being very interesting.

I see Hansen coming in with less of a learning curve than Stewart does, Hansen has the size and speed to be effective early on, where Stewart will need to perfect his game more to compensate for some of his physical limitations. He slips below Peake, which is not an indictment on Stewart, more of a testament to Peake’s growth.

UDFA Gabe Marks will be on the roster bubble with fellow undrafted receiver Brisly Estime. Estime has an early edge due to his return talent, but if Elijah McGuire can prove himself to be a strong returner, Estime could be cut. Marks is a driven player with a catch radius that allows him to make plays, the more film you watch of him, the more you love his game. Whichever UDFA secures that final spot will have four weeks to prove that they’re better than Marshall who will be returning from suspension.


Tight End (2):

– Jordan Leggett
– Eric Tomlinson

Suspended: Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, 2 Games

Man, my depth-player hot takes know no end! Eric Tomlinson’s blocking skills lead him to victory against all of the other uninspiring tight ends on the Jets roster, giving him the ever-so-coveted second tight end spot….. at least for two weeks until Sefarian-Jenkins comes back and sends him down to the P-Squad.


Offensive Line (9):
– LT Kelvin Beachum
– LG James Carpenter
– C Wesley Johnson
– RG Brian Winters
– RT Brandon Shell

– Ben Ijalana
– Brent Qvale
– Jonotthan Harrison
– Craig Watts

Okay, I’ll say it. This unit is pretty solid.. on paper. They can either turn real good or real bad depending on the development of Shell and Johnson, as well as Beachum’s ability to return to his 2014 form. If all that happens, this could be a top 10 unit in the league. The depth is filled with versatility.


DEFENSE:


Defensive End (4):
– Leonard Williams
– Mo Wilkerson
– Sheldon Richardson
– Lawrence Thomas

Even if Wilkerson is in top form — which I cautiously expect — Leonard Williams is still the best player on the entire roster. I don’t see them trading Richardson, so here’s hoping they can find a way to actually use him, even if it means rotating out Mo. Thomas provides great depth and showed flashes early last year before a season ending labrum tear.


Defensive Tackle (2):
– Deon Simon
– Mike Pennel

On the surface it seems like a shocking prediction, but it’s very possible that Simon comes into camp like a madman and snatches that top spot. If so, I see the Jets parting with the 31 year old Steve McLendon in favor of Pennel who, at only 25, can be a good player, if he stays out of trouble off the field.


Inside Linebacker (4):
– David Harris
– Darron Lee
– Josh Martin
– Connor Harris

Connor Harris has the all-time record for career tackles in the entire NCAA with 633 in 48 games, even at a D-II school, that is elite tackling production. Combine that with 34 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, 20 passes defended, 5 fumble recoveries and 6 interceptions, and you have an extremely productive, well-rounded football player. Bowles mentioned that they wanted players where were specifically for special teams, and in this ILB group with Harris and Martin, they could potentially have two of the best special teamers in the league. No surprises for the starting duo.


Outside Linebacker (5):
– Jordan Jenkins
– Lorenzo Mauldin
– Freddie Bishop
– Corey Lemonier
– Dylan Donahue

I’m sure this unit strikes deathly fear into all opposing quarterbacks….(kidding). There’s some potential here, but they all need to turn that into actual production. The best player in the unit is Jenkins, but his role is more of an edge setter, a la Calvin Pace. As far as who will start opposite him, the competition is wide open, let’s see if any of these guys can make a statement and grab the job.


Cornerback (6):
– Mo Claiborne
– Juston Burris
– Buster Skrine
– Marcus Williams
– Darryl Roberts
– Jeremy Clark

I loved what I saw out of Burris last season and I’m excited to see his progression. I’m hoping he comes far enough to lock down an outside spot, which would allow Skrine to play in the slot where he can be a terror. The addition of Claiborne and the proven depth of Williams and Roberts are possibly reasons why the Jets didn’t feel the need to address the position in the draft until Round 6. One of those picks, either Clark or Derrick Jones will likely find the practice squad unless they both show enough to jump past Roberts. Clark has more talent, but injuries held back his college career, if he’s healthy I expect him to make the roster.


Safety (4):
– Jamal Adams
– Marcus Maye
– Calvin Pryor
– Rontez Miles

The Jets invested a whole lot in their top two safeties, hopefully it pays off for the next decade. The ever-disappointing Pryor will get some action every now and then unless they find a way to send him packing. Miles is a great depth player and special teamer who would see an increased role if Pryor was traded.


Special Teams (3):
K – Chandler Catanzaro
P – Lachlan Edwards
LS – Tanner Purdum

Edwards needs to have a much more consistent year than he did last season. If not, he’ll surely be seeing some competition next offseason.


For more Jets news, be sure to follow Dan Mosher on Twitter @DMosher_NYJ as well as the official NYJetsNews.com Twitter and Facebook pages.

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