Monday, August 2, 2010

53 Man Roster Predictions

With training camp finally here, it's time to look at the 2010 New York Jets. 80 players are vying for 53 spots. Most of the players we already know, but as always, there are spots up for grabs for players who impress during training camp.

Quarterback
On the Team: Mark Sanchez, Mark Brunell
On the Bubble: Erik Ainge, Kellen Clemens, Kevin O'Connell
Prediction: Last year, the Jets kept four quarterbacks all season. However, none seemed to assert themselves as the backup quarterback of the future. Mark Brunell was brought in to backup Mark Sanchez as a veteran mentor, so last year's three backups will be fighting for one spot. My money is on Ainge. Even though he's ill to start camp, at 24 years old, he's the youngest of the three, and he played fairly well last preseason. O'Connell has the size and the arm but New England gave up on him alarmingly fast. Clemens's best chance at the team is if he shows he's far and away the 2nd best quarterback on the team that should play if Sanchez goes down.

Runningback
On the Team: Shonn Greene, LaDainian Tomlinson, Joe McKnight, John Conner, Tony Richardson
On the Bubble: Danny Woodhead, Chauncey Washington
Uphill Climb: Jason Davis
Prediction: Five is usually the magic number for runningbacks on a team, with three halfbacks and two fullbacks. When it comes to depth, special teams and versatility is a must. Greene and Tomlinson obviously have spots locked in, and the Jets won't cut McKnight or Conner in training camp even if they are busts. There's an outside chance Richardson, 38, retires, but expect him to be on the team at least one more year until Conner takes over. Washington's role on special teams could be usurped by Brad Smith if someone else becomes the primary kick returner. Woodhead has a better chance at the roster because of his great hands. If he makes the team, it's probably because the Jets trust him more than McKnight as a change of pace back who can catch passes. Davis was on the practice squad last year, but the drafting of Conner all but kills his chances of making the team.

Wide Receiver
On the Team: Jerricho Cotchery, Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes*, Brad Smith, Laveranues Coles
On the Bubble: Aundrae Allison, David Clowney
Uphill Climb: Marcus Henry, Larry Taylor
Prediction: Cotchery and Edwards are locked in as the starting wideouts to begin the season. Holmes's four-game suspension opens the door for one more receiver to make the roster. Coles is probably that guy. After four games, there's a good chance LC is gone unless he plays too well to let go of. Smith has a spot locked down due to his versatility and special teams prowess. Allison and Clowney will probably be fighting for the last spot. I give a slight edge to Allison because the Jets have passed over Clowney again and again, and Allison has the ability to return kicks if he's healthy. Henry has the size but has never shown much in camp. Taylor has an outside chance of stealing the kick return job, which is his only path to the team.

Tight End
On the Team: Dustin Keller, Ben Hartsock
On the Bubble: Matthew Mulligan, Jeff Cumberland
Prediction: Keller is the pass-catching tight end, and Hartsock is the blocking tight end. That much is certain. Mulligan and Cumberland will be fighting for the third spot all training camp. Cumberland is an athletic rookie from Illinois known more for his receiving skills, while Mulligan spent most of last season with the Jets after New York picked him up off waivers from Tennessee. Mulligan is more of a blocking tight end who finally stuck on a team last season after rotating off and on Tennessee and Miami's practice squads. If Cumberland flashes enough receiving ability, he could steal the job. However, right now, expect him to be a practice squadder.

Offensive Line
On the Team: D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Vladimir Ducasse, Nick Mangold, Brandon Moore, Damien Woody
On the Bubble: Matt Slauson, Robert Turner, Wayne Hunter
Uphill Climb: Marlon Davis, Robby Felix, Dan Gay, Aaron Kia, Charlie Tanner
Prediction: The Jets will probably go with eight linemen, leaving three spots for the backups. Hunter, Turner, and Slauson were the guys last year, so it's easy to think they'll be back there this year. Hunter's spot is probably the most vulnerable given his age (29) but it's hard to figure out which of the five has the best chance at taking his job. The starters are all safe. Ducasse still has to beat out Slauson for the left guard spot, but everybody expects him to.

Defensive Line
On the Team: Kris Jenkins, Shaun Ellis, Sione Pouha, Mike DeVito
On the Bubble: Ropati Pitoitua, Matt Kroul, Vernon Gholston, Rodrique Wright
Uphill Climb: Jason Lamb, Ty Steinkuhler, Martin Tevaseu
Prediction: Jenkins will be ready for the start of the season after tearing his ACL last year. He and Ellis are locks to make the team and start, while Pouha and DeVito will see a lot of time. Pitoitua is a hulking lineman who was a long-term project a few years ago, and last year he started to see some game action. Kroul has been given a ton of praise this offseason, so it's hard to see him not making the team. Gholston will be given one last chance to prove he can play in the NFL, this time at a new position. Wright is talented but caught up in a numbers game on a team that doesn't play many defensive linemen. Also, Jason Taylor, Bryan Thomas, and Calvin Pace can all lineup with their hands on the ground on third downs, so there's no need for any more linemen.

Linebacker
On the Team: Calvin Pace, Bryan Thomas, Jason Taylor, David Harris, Bart Scott
On the Bubble: Jamaal Westerman, Lance Laury, Kevin Basped, Kenwin Cummings, Cory Reamer
Uphill Climb: Josh Mauga, Brashton Satele
Prediction: Harris and Scott are as good an inside linebacking duo in the NFL, while Thomas, Pace, and Taylor offers a talented and diverse group of players on the outside. The battle for backup spots will be fierce. Laury was signed for his special teams prowess, so he should have a spot locked up. Westerman was last year's camp sensation, so it's hard to see him falling short this year. Basped and Reamer both have chances to be this year's guy. Basped has higher long-term upside as a pass rusher, so expect him to make the grade. Cummings and Reamer will battle for the last spot with Cummings having a slight edge. Reamer should make the practice squad if that's the case.

Secondary
On the Team: Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson, Brodney Pool, Eric Smith, Jim Leonhard
On the Bubble: Dwight Lowery, Donovan Warren, James Ihedigbo, Marquice Cole, Drew Coleman
Uphill Climb: Brian Jackson, Emanuel Cook, Bo Smith
Prediction: The three cornerbacks and three safeties will all see a lot of action on the field, so the last few guys all need to stand out in some way to make the final roster. Lowery has better ball skills than anyone else out there, and the Jets are trying him out at safety to try to take advantage of that. Warren is an undrafted rookie from Michigan the Jets are very high on making the same transition. Both are good bets to make the roster. Ihedigbo is a big hitter and good special teamer, but his roster spot is in jeopardy with all the depth at safety. Cole and Coleman both made the team last year, but now they should be competing for the last cornerback spot. Give Cole the slight edge because Coleman is a known quantity: he can't cover anyone. Jackson, Cook, and Smith need to really impress to have any chance at cracking the team.

Special Teams
On the Team: K Nick Folk
On the Bubble: LS Tanner Purdum, P T.J. Conley, P Steve Weatherford
Prediction: Folk is the only kicker on the roster, so despite his struggles last year with Dallas, he should make the squad. Like Folk, Purdum is the only long snapper on the team, so it's hard to predict anyone else. You can bet James Dearth is on speed dial though. Conley and Weatherford will battle for the punting job. Conley impressed in mini-camps last year, but that didn't carry over to training camp. Weatherford is replaceable, so if Conley shows some consistency, he can take the job.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

As camp moves along, I think Ihedigbo will emerge as one of the best safeties on the team behind leonhard.

Mackenzie Kraemer said...

It's possible, but I don't know if he has the discipline or coverage skills. He's not a bad player, but I think Smith does what Digs can do a little bit better defensively.

He's never really been given an extended opportunity though, so you never know.