Harris, gone. Decker, gone. What does the Jets’ depth chart look like?

Tuesday, Bloody Tuesday. In a purge so disappointing you’d expect it to be in theaters this summer, the Jets parted ways with long-time, stalwart ILB David Harris and respected WR Eric Decker. The moves were both shocking and disrespectful, to say the least. But the business of football is as cutthroat as it comes, and loyalty is often a one way street.

As OTA’s draw to a close and the nuclear cloud dissipates, let’s take a look at a depth chart prediction heading into next week’s mandatory mini-camp.

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.


Quarterback (3):

– Josh McCown
– Christian Hackenberg
– Bryce Petty

So I flip-flopped, I had Hack starting week 1 last time, but I feel like Todd Bowles knows his best shot to win games in this schedule is early on, and McCown will just have a better command of the offense by then. Hack will take over by week six, and we’ll see what he does. Bowles is unfortunately on the hot seat of a wildly erratic owner with very little proven talent at his disposal; he’ll try to construct the most competitive roster he can.

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

No changes here from my first depth chart, 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. Forte likes what he sees out of new Offensive Coordinator John Morton’s system, hopefully we can see more two back sets on third down, something I was surprised not to see much last year with these two talented receiving backs. McGuire has been getting consistent work on punt/kick returns during spring practices, his roster spot is secured but this is his best shot to make an impact on Sunday’s.

Fullback (1):

– Anthony Firkser

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. The Jets are hoping he can become a similar player to 49er’s fullback, and fellow Harvard alum, Kyle Juszczyk.

Wide Receiver (6):
– Quincy Enunwa
– Robby Anderson
– ArDarius Stewart
– Chad Hansen

– Charone Peake
– Gabe Marks

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

While I don’t agree with the Jets cutting Eric Decker, I understand it from a standpoint of trying to give these young players more time on the field. ArDarius Stewart is now very much expected to come and contribute in year one. I believe he will be the Jets starting slot receiver as the year begins, with Enunwa and Anderson on the outside; Hansen and Peake will rotate in on the outsides when possible. UDFA Gabe Marks will have a four game audition to prove that he belongs on the roster, his claim will be much stronger if the Jets can establish a comfortable punt/kick returner before Marshall comes back from suspension.

Tight End (2):

– Jordan Leggett
– Eric Tomlinson

Suspended: Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, 2 Games

Word on the street is the Jets “have a f—–g tight end” — and although he’ll be sidelined the first two weeks, Sefarain-Jenkins really looks like he’s opened up a new chapter of his life. He can be a real weapon for the Jets, listen to him tell it and it seems his drinking was the main thing holding him back from living up to his second round potential, the Jets sure hope so.

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

No changes here, Beachum finally got into some action at OTA’s as the Jets slowly bring him back from a 2 year old ACL injury. Shell and Qvale continue to rotate at RG, which they will do throughout camp, or at least until Shell can win the job, the quicker that competition goes, the more it will say about his development.


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

An injury is the only thing that could alter my perception of a lineman’s roster spot in OTA’s. With guys running around in shorts, it’s meaningless to speculate how linemen on both sides of the ball look headed into camp. So my prediction stays the same. Leonard Williams is still the best player on the entire roster. I don’t see them trading Richardson. Thomas will show that same promise he did before an early injury ended his 2016 season.

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

Sticking with my first prediction on this group, and suddenly after Bloody Tuesday, the idea of Steve McClendon getting the axe is much less surprising. However, my initial assessment was that Simon was set to come into camp like a man on fire, and Pennel would prove himself a solid rotational player.

Inside Linebacker (5):
– Darron Lee
– Demario Davis
Bruce Carter
Josh Martin
– Connor Harris

Enter the void: the weakest position group on a lowly regarded roster. Sure, Lee has potential and can have a breakout year, but then what? I was initially happy with the Davis/Pryor trade because it netted a great backup ILB, but a starter? Come, on. There isn’t a true “Mike” backer in this group with the exception of Harris, a D-II undrafted free agent. The Jets botched the release of an all-time player like David Harris and balked on the opportunity to sign a young, quality replacement like Gerald Hodges.

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

Potential: this unit has it in spades. Unfortunately that potential means nothing if it’s not converted into production. The signs are pointing up though, Jenkins worked purely on pass rushing this offseason, something he’s never been properly taught. Mauldin is back at his 2015 weight which hopefully turns out better than his “bulking up” experiment in 2016 did. Donahue is turning heads this spring, his motor is unquestioned, I’m excited to see what he can do when he’s in pads. New OLB Coach Kevin Greene will look to inject some hall 0f fame energy into this young group.

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

Word out of OTA’s is that Claiborne looks very good and Burris is receiving first team reps with the nickel defense, that’s a good sign for this group here. I’m staying with my original depth chart for this one, still hoping Burris comes far enough to lock down an outside spot, which would allow Skrine to play in the slot where he can be most effective. Sixth round pick Derrick Jones is a raw, raw prospect; let’s see how much he can pick up at OTA’s, if he comes back to camp more comfortable at the position, he could sneak onto the roster.

Safety (4):
– Jamal Adams
– Marcus Maye
– Rontez Miles
– Corey White

Not that it was ever really in question, but Adams and Maye will be thrown right in as the starting duo. The Pryor trade not only got a disappointing player out of the locker room, but brought Miles back into the 3rd safety role, one he’s played well in over the last two seasons. White was an under the radar pickup a few weeks back, he’s been a solid versatile player in his career, more established at CB, the Jets are seeing what he can do as a safety.

Special Teams (3):
K – Ross Martin
P – Lachlan Edwards
LS – Tanner Purdum

Martin is having a great spring thus far, according to ST Coordinator Brant Boyer he’s improved his kickoff leg quite a bit. Let’s hope he can avoid another meltdown during the pre-season, if he can, he’ll edge the newly acquired Cantanzaro out the door. Purdum, the only player remaining from the 2010 AFC Championship game, has survived the roster purge.. But then again, we said the same thing about Harris and Decker..

Practice Squad:
S – Doug Middleton
WR – K.D. Cannon
CB – Derrick Jones
CB – Xavier Coleman
OT – Javarius Leamon

As of 2017 teams will now get to place up to 10 players on their practice squad. We’ll get more clarity on these guys as training camp comes around, but guys like Middleton, Cannon and Jones will be guaranteed a spot here if they fall short of making the final 53. With the Jets focused on youth and opportunity, the practice squad members will be in as good a position as any to get some playing time this season.

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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