New York Jets: Breaking down top candidates to make roster


Dec 28, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets wide receiver

Chris Owusu

(14) scores a touchdown as Miami Dolphins cornerback

Brent Grimes

(21) can

First off, let’s get this out of the way; I’m back at writing about the New York Jets for! After an off season away from the keyboard, I’ve returned to my writing ways and I’m happy to be doing it on this site once again.  Thanks goes out to my readers as well as the new editorial staff for allowing me to return.

Next, I’d like to take a look at some of the lesser known names on the current Jet roster. Free agency brought in significant signings and as such has taken up the bulk of the Jet coverage for past several months. The Jet draft class has also gathered its share of the media focus, as has a highly touted UDFA class. The media in New York has been busy this year with lots of “star power” to write about!

I’m a Jet fan though, after nearly a half of a century of watching this team, I’ve learned to root for the under dog! The big names have often disappointed over the years. The big contracts often seemed unwise looking back at them, and the “stars” have often lost their shine. As such, I’ve learned to look for the “surprise player”, the “underdog”, the guy who is flying just below the radar.

This year, I’ve identified a few of those youngsters who might just be ready to make an impact for our football team. Let’s take a look together.

Next: Top defensive candidates

Curtis Brown

(31) before the game between the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports” width=”850″ height=”565″ /> Nov 24, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back Curtis Brown (31) before the game between the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

First up defensively, I’d like to look at two young cornerbacks that have been flying under the mainstream media’s radar that could have big impacts on the Jet secondary this year. Many view these two as long shots to make the roster this summer, but I believe they are being underestimated. If given the opportunity, the potential for these two youngsters to have an impact in 2015 is great.

Curtis Brown is 26 yr old former third round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Brown measures in a 6’0″/185 lbs, and played his collegiate ball out of the University of Texas. Brown was highly touted in the 2011 draft, before the Steelers took him in the third round, with the 95th overall pick.

Now, many will say Brown is nothing more then perhaps a special teams player, and that is likely the role he plays here if he hangs onto a roster spot. I think there is potential here though, Brown has great foot speed and good ball skills. He has the ability to go up high for contested balls, and has enough speed to provide coverage deep down the field.

Brown has been hindered by injuries to this point in his NFL career. He’s coming off an ACL injury that sidelined him for the 2014 season. If Brown can return to health, and stay healthy through camp, the Jets may have found a diamond here. Brown is entering his fourth year, often a year where corners come into their own, with proper coaching and hard work, he could definitely earn a roster spot. I’m not saying Brown is going to be a starter, but he has the potential to contribute if he remains healthy.

My other under the radar cornerback this year is Keith Lewis. Lewis has a higher ceiling then Brown in my opinion. Lewis measures out at 6’0″/190 lbs, he is just 26 and if he can remain healthy, you will hear his name called this season. Lewis has been battling to remain relevant his entire football career. He bounced around in college due to academic struggles and even left the game for a while to improve his grades and get back on track.

One thing you will learn about Lewis is he’s a very determined young man. He has the skill-set to be a contributor going ahead in a very talented Jet secondary. Keep your eyes on Mr. Lewis, he has all the tools and the skill set is in place. I wouldn’t be surprised that with proper coaching, you see Lewis start before season’s end.

Next: Top offensive candidates

Dec 28, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker (center) celebrates his touchdown catch with teammates New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (left) and New York Jets wide receiver Chris Owusu (right) during the second half at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Owusu is a young wide receiver who is being mostly overlooked this year. With the big name signing of Brandon Marshall to go along with the drafting of Devin Smith, the fans have overlooked this youngster.

Flash back to the final game of the 2014 season in Miami and you may recall Owusu strutting his stuff on an long bomb from Geno Smith. You may even remember him taking it to the Dolphins on the ground as well! It was Owusu’s break out game last year after spending the majority of the season on the practice squad.

Owusu measures in at 6’2″/200 lbs and is just 25 years old. If you don’t know Owusu’s game you should take the time to review some tape of him. He displays great hands, has atypical size for a wide receiver, and is a speedster. Owusu’s speed is what makes him a must watch this summer. Owusu ran a 4.36 at his combine but also posted a mind blowing 4.21 at his pro day!

Owusu is also versatile enough to contribute in the run game. He ran the ball in college and the Jets utilized that skill set in their final game last year as well. Owusu also could be seen as a kick returner on special teams. Owusu will have every opportunity to make this roster as if he can take the next step, he would look awfully good opposite Devin Smith on the outside.

The other offensive player I’m keeping my eye on this summer, is actually Mike Maccagnan’s first signing. Sean Hooey is a 6’9″/304 lb tackle, and at only 24 years old, he could have a nice career ahead of him for the Jets. It’s no secret that the Jets are aging along the offensive line, and competitions will be intense this summer. I for one think Hooey is one the Jets need to keep a close eye on.

Hooey comes over from the St. Louis Rams where he was the starting left tackle in 2014 while Jake Long recovered from an ACL injury. Hooey has been set back by injury, but there is hardly any doubt he possesses the skills and size to be successful at the NFL level. Oddly enough, he has drawn little attention from the media. With the Jets aging at tackle, Hooey could be a great addition to the line.

Hooey has experience playing on both sides of the line, as he started for the Rams on both key positions. An interesting note on Hooey is he also has collegiate experience as a tight end. Hooey would be a force as an extra lineman along the goal, or as an eligible receiver lining up as a tight end.

There you have it, four guys I think are worth watching as “under the radar” candidates to make the Jet roster. All have major potential that with proper coaching and hard work on their parts, could very well have an impact on this football team. They are young, talented and hungry! That is just what you want from your young guys going into camp!

What’s your take? Do you have a favorite under the radar player? We want to hear from you! Leave us a comment! Let’s talk Jet football!!

Next: Coffee with the New York Jets: 5/19/15

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