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As the New York Jets prepare to evaluate players during training camp, players on the roster bubble must prove their worth to secure their spot on the final roster.
Training camp for the New York Jets begins this week and while the roster is pretty much set in stone, there are a few spots left up for grabs. It’s vital that bubble players show the coaching staff that they belong to secure a spot on the coveted 53-man roster.
It won’t be easy but all the players heading to training camp all were selected for a reason. They’ll be a lot of blood, sweat and tears as these players work hard to impress those around them and earn their spot.
Without further ado, here is a list of the top 10 players who are on the roster bubble for the Jets.
Next: 10. Bryce Petty
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10. Bryce Petty
After being hailed the future franchise quarterback only a year ago, Bryce Petty is fighting for a roster spot after the Jets drafted quarterback Christian Hackenberg in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Assuming quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick re-signs, the Jets would have four quarterbacks on the roster, which general manager Mike Maccagnan hasn’t ruled out. However, given that the team is in a win-now situation, it may be hard to justify keeping four quarterbacks as it depletes depth in other positions.
While Petty has looked shaky this offseason, he has one last chance to show the Jets his worth during training camp. He has the tools to be the franchise guy, but questions about his football IQ remain as he played in a Baylor’s spread offense which took reads away from the quarterback. While the Jets have commented on Petty’s improvement and potential, it may not be enough to make the cut.
Next: 9. Jalin Marshall
9. Jalin Marshall
Speedy receiver Jalin Marshall turned heads this offseason. Marshall has the explosiveness, vision and agility to stretch the field and pose a threat to opposing defenders. His versatility will also give offensive coordinator Chan Gailey more play-calling options.
Whether it’s middle screens or bubble screens, Marshall is a dynamic player who has the potential to play a role in various packages. The potential is there, but Marshall still has weaknesses in his game that he must address.
In addition to finishing contested throws and securing 50/50 balls, he must also fine-tune his route running. The undrafted rookie out of Ohio State also has experience on special teams which can be the difference maker.
At Ohio State, Marshall had 52 punt returns for 662 yards and a touchdown and returned three kicks for 92 yards. If he’s able to beat out wide receiver Jeremy Ross as the return man, he may find himself a spot on the roster given that he has a higher ceiling than Ross.
Next: 8. Charone Peake
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8. Charone Peake
Charone Peake, wide receiver out of Clemson who the Jets took in the seventh-round, has the potential to make the roster in an already crowded wide receiving corp. Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker are the No. 1 and No. 2 receivers, but the competition for the remaining spots are wide open.
At 6’2”, Peake posses the rare combination of size and straight line speed, running the 40-yard-dash in 4.45 seconds. He also has the ability to operate on all levels of the field. Clemson has produced many notable wide receivers including Sammy Watkins (Buffalo Bills), Martavis Bryant (Pittsburgh Steelers) and DeAndre Hopkins (Houston Texans), who often overshadowed Peake, but the Jets hope Peake follows suit.
Peake battled knee injuries throughout his 2013 and 2014 campaigns, but had his best statistical season his final year accumulating 716 yards on 50 receptions and accounting for five touchdowns. However, there are some weaknesses in his game. In addition to his small hands, he dropped five passes for a drop rate of 9.1 percent.
Next: 7. Zach Sudfeld
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7. Zach Sudfeld
Zach Sudfeld doesn’t appear to be a bubble player, but if Wes Saxton has a solid camp, he could find his roster spot in jeopardy. Additionally, tight ends aren’t heavily utilized in offensive coordinator Chan Gailey’s system so the Jets could opt to only have two – Kellen Davis the blocker and Jace Amaro the pass catcher with tremendous potential – if they want to add depth in another position group.
Sudfeld is a solid special teams player which was an Achilles’ heel for the Jets last season and makes it harder for the team to cut him. The fourth year veteran is coming off an injury, but he only has 10 career receptions for 148 yards so the Jets hope to see more production out of the tight end.
Next: 6. Jeremy Ross
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6. Jeremy Ross
Similar to Jalin Marshall, wide receiver Jeremy Ross has play-making ability as a punt returner and has the edge due to his NFL experience. The Jets are in a drought as they haven’t returned a kick or punt for a touchdown since 2012.
Ross averages a solid 11.2 yards per punt return and 25.1 years per kick return, which gives some optimism for the Jets. However, everyone has a weakness and for Ross it has been ball security. He He has lost 10 fumbles during his career, which is concerning for a team looking to avoid costly mistakes. If Marshall outplays Ross expect the Jets to cut the veteran.
Next: 5. Breno Giacomini
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Breno Giacomini is in an odd position given that he’s most likely going to be the starting right tackle. While it’s odd to note him as a bubble player, if the past is a predictor of the future, the Jets are not getting their money’s worth.
Giacomini struggled on both run and pass plays last season allowing three sacks, seven hits and 44 hurries last season. The Jets could save $5M in salary cap space if they cut Giacomini which could contribute to his departure.
The team is also high on Brent Qvale who played at right tackle at Nebraska. There will be a competition at right tackle so Giacomini must improve his play if he wants to remain with the Jets.
Next: 4. Trevor Reilly
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These next few weeks will be important for outside linebacker Trevor Reilly. At the start of the preseason, Reilly received most of the first-team reps, but as time progressed, his reps decreased. Reilly will battle rookie Jordan Jenkins, a third-round pick out of Georgia, and Freddie Bishop who recorded 11 sacks in the regular season plus one in the playoffs for the Calgary Stampeders last season.
Jenkins is expected to see plenty of playing time this season so it’ll be interesting to watch how many reps Reilly receives during training camp. After the departure of Calvin Pace, it appeared that the gates are wide open for Reilly to have increased playing time.
However, as his reps continue to decrease, it will be vital for Reilly to show the coaches that he has what it takes to make the roster. Reilly does have an advantage in that he’s a solid special teams player. Last season, Reilly and linebacker Erin Henderson lead the team with 13 tackles on coverage units.
Next: 3. Doug Middleton
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3. Doug Middleton
Safety Doug Middleton, an undrafted free agent out of Appalachian State, is a physical player who often applies jarring blows to the opponent. Middleton is most effective the closer he is to the line of scrimmage.
However, his game has several weaknesses including recovery speed and tackling. In 2015, Middleton had 14 missed tackles. Middleton’s immediate value will come in special teams as he can bolster the Jets’ coverage units. After a dismal year on special teams in 2015, the Jets will be looking for improvement, giving Middleton a chance to make the cut.
Next: 2. Ross Martin
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2. Ross Martin
There may be a kicking competition brewing in Florham Park. The former Duke kicker Ross Martin has the potential to make the roster if he can beat out veteran Nick Folk which will save the Jets $2M in salary cap space.
Folk has been solid converting 148 of 182 attempts. Prior to his quad injury which placed him on injured reserve, Folk made all 19 extra-point attempts and converted 13 of 16 field goal attempts.
Martin has been one of the most consistent kickers in college football over the last two seasons. He converted 90.5% of his kicks his junior year and 86.7% his senior year. He also displays physicality which was demonstrated with his 13 special teams tackles.
Martin is an accurate distance kicker, making 4-of-4 from 50-plus his senior year and 8-of-10 in his kicking career. He’s also never had a field goal or extra point blocked. There are questions about his kickoff skills as he averaged 59.9 yards per kickoff and his hang-time never surpassed 3.72 seconds.
Next: 1. Zac Stacy
1. Zac Stacy
With running back Bilal Powell and the additions of Matt Forte and Khiry Robinson, Zac Stacy is the odd man out. After posting a strong rookie campaign in 2013 which saw him gain 973 yards on the ground, his production dropped and he was later traded to the Jets in 2015.
Stacy’s 31 carries for 89 yards, a 2.8 YPA average in 2015, is far from the production the Jets are looking for in a No. 3 running back. Looking at last season’s totals, Robinson appears to be an upgrade. He averaged 4.1 YPA on 56 carries for 180 yards.
Stacy only saw double-digit carries just once last season (a week-six 34-20 win over the Washington Redskins) where he rushed for 46 yards on 13 carries. Unless Stacy has a stellar camp and preseason, his time with the Jets is most likely over.