The New York Jets have gotten younger this offseason as this Summer, competition at every position on the team will hopefully produce some surprise players ready to deliver.
Training camp of the New York Jets is just around the corner. With the offseason housecleaning of veterans undertaken by general manager Mike Maccagnan, the team is young and inexperienced. As a result, there will be key position battles all over the playing field.
First, and by far the most publicized is the competition surrounding the Jets quarterback position. Josh McCown, Christian Hackenberg, and Bryce Petty are all competing to be the team’s starter. It’s a long summer and this competition promises to be close. May the best man win.
Next up is the competition along the team’s offensive line. The Jets passed on drafting an offensive lineman this Spring but did make a few moves in the offseason to spur competition. The center position is one you might want to keep an eye on. With the loss of longtime contributor Nick Mangold, Wesley Johnson and Jonotthan Harrison will vie for a starting role. Right tackle should be another one to keep a close eye on.
The Jets brought in NFL veteran Kelvin Beachum to compete with Brandon Shell. Left tackle remains a question mark along the line. Ben Ijalana will need to hold off Javarius Leamon and Chris Bordelon for the starting spot.
The wide receiver position is another position that will have its share of intrigue this Summer. The Jets drafted two wideouts this year in Chad Hansen and ArDarius Stewart. It will be interesting to see how John Morton adds them to the mix. Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Charone Peake and Jalin Marshall already offer promise to the position.
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At running back, the Jets have two established players in Matt Forte and Bilal Powell. While they are almost certainly a lock to start, their workload responsibilities are still being questioned. Behind them, Brandon Wilds and newly drafted Elijah McGuire will compete along with Jordan Todman and Romar Morris for roster spots.
For the first time in years, the tight end position offers up something for Jets fans to watch through training camp. Austin Seferian-Jenkins returns to prove his worth, and by many reports has shown well through OTA’s and minicamps. The team also added Jordan Leggett in the form of a 2017 fifth round pick. Rounding out the group are Brian Parker, Eric Tomlinson, and Jason Vander Laan. The fans are likely to see two tight end sets under John Morton, so how the depth chart shakes out promises to be an interesting watch.
On the defensive side of the football, of course, the Jets defensive front is almost locked up. Muhammad Wilkerson, Leonard Williams, and Steve McLendon will once again be featured. Todd Bowles also must find ways to work in Sheldon Richardson, Mike Pennel, and Deon Simon. Pennel was picked up from Green Bay this offseason and could add a pass rush if he can make this roster and stay out of trouble. Simon is a player to keep an eye on through camp. The young nose tackle has been developing nicely for the team, and could possibly push McLendon for his starting role.
This year’s linebacker group promises to be an interesting watch. With the departure of long-time contributor and fan favorite David Harris, the Jets will have Darron Lee and Demario Davis competing to fill his shoes. On the outside, Pro Football Hall of Famer Kevin Greene will have Lorenzo Mauldin, Jordan Jenkins, and Dylan Donahue to develop into contributors. Also vying for roles are Bruce Carter, Josh Martin, Frank Beltre, Corey Lemonier and Julian Stanford. With spots limited, it should be an interesting watch to see how the depth chart pans out.
The secondary will feature two rookie safeties in the form of Marcus Maye and Jamal Adams. Also on the roster is free safety Rontez Miles, strong safety Shamarko Thomas, Doug Middleton, and Roland Martin. How Bowles plans to incorporate the two rookies into his defense will make this one watch you won’t want to miss.
At defensive back, the competitions are likely to be wide open. The team signed Morris Claiborne in free agency for the left side. Buster Skrine is slated to hold down the right side. Beyond that roster spots are up for grabs. Marcus Williams, Juston Burris, Darryl Roberts, Xavier Coleman, Dexter McDougle, Jeremy Clark, and Derrick Clark will all be competing to grab a spot.
By the time camp ends, fans will have a clearer picture of how the team will look going into the 2017 season. This is a very young football team, and the coaching staff will have its hands full shaping the team into a cohesive unit. Development over the summer is always important in building a team, but it takes on a larger importance this year for the Jets. It promises to be an intriguing watch for fans, stay tuned, and if you get the opportunity, come on out and watch!