Jan 3, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins (10) cannot hold on to this pass late in the game as Buffalo Bills running back Karlos Williams (29) defends during the second half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Jets 22-17. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
Eventually the New York Jets will be north of 90 players on the roster, but only 53 will ultimately make the cut. These top 10 players will more than likely not make the cut.
The New York Jets are in the thick of the offseason, yet there are so many questions left to be answered. Will the Jets carry four quarterbacks into the regular season? How will their defensive secondary look like? Which linebackers will they start for 2016?
Or perhaps will the Jets try a unique approach as opposed to last season? This could be the start of this new leadership regime having lots of top options to choose from that will ultimately make the overall roster better.
Without further ado, here are the top 10 players who won’t make the final roster of the Jets.
Next: 10. Multi-sport athletes don't always translate
Jun 11, 2015; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers nose tackle Ian Williams (93) and defensive end Lawrence Okoye (98) participate in drills during minicamp at Levi
10. Defensive End Lawrence Okoye
Lawrence Okoye is one of many former rugby players trying to make the transition to professional football. Okoye isn’t the first and isn’t the last, but you can see why the Jets brought him in.
Okoye stands at 6’6 and weighs over 300 pounds, he’s a physical specimen. Okoye is the British record holder in the discus event.
Since entering the NFL in 2013, he has bounced around the league trying to get his shot at an NFL roster. Okoye has failed to make it to the final or active roster in the NFL, bouncing around practice squads in the NFC West with the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers.
Unfortunately for Okoye, he has the hardest job on planet Earth, attempting to make the roster of the Jets as a defensive lineman. The Jets already have their starters locked in and most of their second rotation, Okoye loses to the numbers game.
Next: 9. Simply not enough room on roster
Oct 4, 2015; London, United Kingdom; New York Jets running back Zac Stacy (30) is pursued by Miami Dolphins i left end Derrick Shelby (79) in Game 12 of the NFL International Series at Wembley Stadium.The Jets defeated the Dolphins 27-14. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
9. Running back Zac Stacy
Zac Stacy has had a tumultuous calendar year, it started when the Los Angeles Rams selected running back Todd Gurley with the 10th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Thus making Stacy expendable, the Jets jumped at the opportunity to add depth to the backfield.
Stacy became a situation grinding back for the Jets last season and had his moments. None brighter then when Stacy rumbled and bumbled for 46 yards against the Washington Redskins.
But on Thursday Night Football at the end of the first half in early November, Stacy made an ill-thought out decision. He came out of the end-zone late and ended up breaking his leg on the play.
At the beginning of this offseason he was the only back on the roster, until the Jets restocked and even upgraded the position. Now there simply isn’t room in the backfield leaving Stacy as the odd man out.
Next: 8. New addition hits the door sooner rather than later
Nov 15, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Bruce Carter (50) reacts as Dallas Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey (5) misses a field goal during the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
8. Linebacker Bruce Carter
After the Jets let linebacker Demario Davis walk, it appeared that there would be an opening for someone to take advantage of. Bruce Carter signed with the Jets during the free agency period and was looking for an opportunity for a career revival.
The Jets ended up re-signing linebacker Erin Henderson and then they drafted linebacker Darron Lee in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Every team needs depth and Carter possesses fantastic instincts and lateral speed.
In 2014, Carter had his best season as a pro, snagging five interceptions and proving to be a disruptive play-maker. After flopping in Tampa the next year, it appeared that Carter could be headed out of the NFL.
One of the stiffest competitions in training camp this offseason will be for the backup spots in the inside linebacking corps. The Jets have Jamari Lattimore, Taiwan Jones, Henderson, and Carter amongst others.
Next: 7. The Jets opt for a different core
Nov 1, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree (15) tries to elude New York Jets strong safety Dion Bailey (34) after making a catch in the fourth quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Jets 34-20. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
7. Safety Dion Bailey
The Jets had quite the battle last season at the safety position with a bunch of young players trying to make their mark in the league. Dion Bailey was one of those guys after being claimed off waivers from the Seattle Seahawks.
In exchange, the Jets released rising star Rontez Miles who had looked like he had finally cracked the 53-man roster. This time around, the Jets will make a wiser decision by sticking to their instincts.
Miles is a better player, he’s more well-rounded and has gotten consistently better from year-to-year. While Bailey got several chances last season, he really didn’t take advantage of them.
The Jets starters at safety will remain the same with Calvin Pryor and Marcus Gilchrist, but the openings behind them leave a lot of intrigue. Bailey is a limited player who should be released well before the final cuts are announced.
Next: 6. Injury cost him more than just one season
6. Tight End Zach Sudfeld
Zach Sudfeld has made his mark more so off the field than he has on it. Sudfeld has been heralded as one of the funniest players in the locker room.
Sudfeld has worked exclusively with www.newyorkjets.com doing interviews with other players and could set himself up for a nice post-football career. The problem is despite the Jets deficiencies at the tight end position, Sudfeld will always be a raw developmental kind of player.
Sudfeld has the apparent measurables to succeed at the NFL level, but a mix of drops and an apparent lack of playing time has contributed to his discrepancies. He suffered a torn ACL in training camp and was placed on injured reserve by the team.
He will have a chance to make the roster if he can make big time plays in limited opportunities. It just doesn’t seem very likely, so look for the Jets’ tight end position to be a little shallower.
Next: 5. The Jets return on their investment
Nov 15, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Jeremy Ross (10) fields a punt during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
5. Wide Receiver Jeremy Ross
The Jets let Jeremy Kerley go this offseason and the only veteran addition they made to their receiving corps was adding Jeremy Ross. The reason the Jets signed Ross is more so due to his returning prowess than that of his ability as a receiver.
Ross produced three returns of at least 40 yards last season for the Baltimore Ravens. A huge problem area for the Jets and has been for many years.
The Jets are trying to find another Brad Smith, someone who can instill fear in opposing team’s special teams units. Ross is too inconsistent to make an impact for the Jets, who’d be better served relying on another one of their offseason additions.
Brant Boyer is the new special teams coordinator for the Jets. For Boyer to sustain long term job security, he’ll need to find a consistent return man, Ross isn’t that guy.
Next: 4. The Jets pass on their project for another
Sep 13, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets linebacker Trevor Reilly (57) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports
4. Linebacker Trevor Reilly
This would be one of the tougher decisions for the Jets and would most likely be one of the final cuts. The Jets number one need heading into the offseason was finding an edge rusher.
Trevor Reilly was on this team last year and made a minimal impact (registered one sack last season). Reilly was one of the infamous “Idzik 12” and he has been a developmental prospect of sorts for the Jets.
The Jets made some new additions this year to that unit through the draft and free agency. The Jets are more willing to invest in a new product than attempting to salvage another one.
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. For the Jets to solve their pass rushing woes, they’ll need to try something different and that starts with getting rid of Reilly.
Next: 3. The guy who cost the Jets their season
Dec 27, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins (10) stretches for pass reception during the fourth quarter as he is defended by New England Patriots cornerback Leonard Johnson (34) at MetLife Stadium. New York Jets defeat the New England Patriots 26-20 in OT. Mandatory Credit: Jim O
3. Wide Receiver Kenbrell Thompkins
The Jets took a chance on a New England Patriots cast-off in Kenbrell Thompkins. Thompkins was the fourth or fifth receiver on the team for the Jets and was expected to contribute in that role.
Thompkins had his chance to save the season for the Jets last year and while simultaneously getting his first touchdown of the year. For the Jets, the mission was simple, ‘Win and you’re in’ in Week 17.
The Jets were in another AFC East grind with the Buffalo Bills and the time was winding down. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick threw a heave down the right hash to a wide open Thompkins.
Thompkins had the ball square in his hands and was looking for a walk-off game winner when cornerback Mario Butler knocked the ball away. Just for that reason alone, the Jets should cut Thompkins, but in all seriousness they added some intriguing talent at the end of the draft that should make the team.
Next: 2. The Jets call it quits on him
Sep 14, 2014; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson (87) catches a 33 yard pass with New York Jets cornerback Dee Milliner (27) defending during the second half of a game at Lambeau Field. Green Bay won 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
2. Cornerback Dee Milliner
It’s time to call a spade a spade and that’s exactly what the Jets have in Dee Milliner. A former top-10 pick who was labeled as the next Darrelle Revis (whether fairly or unfairly).
Milliner has been anything but, the only thing consistent with Milliner has been his injuries. He battled them throughout his collegiate career and that continued with a torn ACL and most recently having wrist surgery last season.
The Jets know the talent that they have in Milliner, but can he stay healthy? It’s a big if because he hasn’t been able to throughout his young career.
The Jets drafted another cornerback in this year’s draft and they already have a ton of depth on the team. It appears Milliner’s days are numbered, but if he can ever get healthy he could have a decent NFL career.
Next: 1. A shocking release leaves Jets with a void
Jan 3, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets tackle Breno Giacomini (68) against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Jets 22 to 17. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
1. Offensive tackle Breno Giacomini
The number one most shocking player who won’t make the final roster of the Jets is none other than the current starting right tackle, Breno Giacomini. Though it shouldn’t be surprising since the day the Jets signed him away from the Seahawks, their offensive line got worse.
Giacomini’s ceiling is average and that is on his best day. Last season, he was obliterated in pass coverage and the Jets possess one of the weakest depth charts on the offensive line in the league.
The Jets stole a gem in James Carpenter at the left guard spot from Seattle, but they weren’t so lucky with their right tackle selection. Although the Jets only added one offensive lineman in the this year’s draft (surprisingly), look for them to be more aggressive in next year’s draft.
With the news of D’Brickashaw Ferguson‘s surprising retirement, the Jets will go into next season with a pair of new starting tackles. Whether they promote from within (Dakota Dozier, Brandon Shell or Brent Qvale), they’ll save nearly $4M by releasing Giacomini.