The good news is that the Jets are slowly building one of the better young rosters in the NFL. The bad news is that a few underachieving Gang Green contributors could be seeking new jobs.
The Jets and every other team get allocated 53 roster spots, ten practice squad spaces, and various injured and reserved lists to stash talent. The elite franchises effectively maximize a complete arsenal.
The new coaching staff has their own ideas on which players fit their gridiron vision. Not everyone will be happy with those evaluations made.
This multi-page breakdown examines five Jets on the proverbial hot seat. All possess incredible physical gifts and have all been given ample opportunity to succeed. So it’s now or never…
Next: Davis Webb
Davis Webb, QB
It’s hard to believe that this statuesque 6’5″ gunslinger once shared a Texas Tech locker room with Baker Mayfield and Patrick Mahomes. But the 87th pick of the 2017 NFL Draft has yet to take his first regular-season snap. The Jets activated Webb for three late-season games last season, and at one point he could have seen the field — but coach Todd Bowles kept him on the bench.
After a year of tutelage on the practice squad, any decent player should be ready for a backup role. But Webb’s skill-set clearly falls far short of Darnold’s competent backup Trevor Siemian.
So expect Gase’s fleeting Dolphins project Luke Falk to be given every chance to win this third-string practice squad battle against former Giants GM Jerry Reese’s final blunder.
Next: Trenton Cannon
Trenton Cannon, RB/KR
Last year’s final draft pick out of D-II Virginia State looked like a rising star in training camp. But then he crashed back to reality in his first regular season.
Jets fans realize that the rookie dealt with many deficiencies, from an iffy O-line to his since-fired coaches. But 38 carries for 113 yards (3.0 avg) and 17 catches for 144 (8.5 per) for a PFF grade of 55.1 (out of 100) — ain’t exactly NFL-level production. Face it, with Le’Veon Bell and Ty Montgomery, there won’t be enough room for Cannon, Elijah McGuire, and top UDFA Jalin Moore.
Trenton offers additional value in the return game. But UDFA Greg Dortch was one of the nation’s top punt returners in 2018, as was Quadree Henderson in 2017 — while Montgomery and Jameson Crowder are proven return-men. So Cannon better come to camp ready to explode!
Next: Deontay Burnett
Deontay Burnett, WR
Darnold’s USC safety-net rose up last season’s Jets’ depth chart (10 receptions for 143 yards in five games). But Gang Green will bring to camp five other ballers capable of playing his same slot-receiver role, and the new regime has zero allegiances.
Burnett is an ascending flanker with nice hands and field awareness, unafraid to absorb hits over the middle. So it’s doubtful he’d survive any post-camp try to stash him on the practice squad.
To remain in Florham Park, this 2018 UDFA straight outta Compton needs a solid training camp.
Next: Foley Fatukasi
Foley Fatukasi, DT
Not sure if the Jets’ plan was to redshirt this beefy Far Rockaway-bred D-linemen. But in limited late-season play, the fifth-round rookie from UConn looked completely overwhelmed.
Folorunso plays hard every down and projects potential as a starting NT. But he’s so enigmatic; disruptive against the pass yet pedestrian versus the run. So a badass coordinator like Gregg Williams could possibly unlock that raw potential.
Between the promise of Quinnen Williams and the veteran savvy of Steve McLendon, Fatukasi may wind up back on the practice squad. It may seem unfair, but for Fatukasi to remain in green-and-white, he must deliver early and often.
Next: Rashard Robinson
Rashard Robinson, CB
Bart Scott on more than one occasion described the 2018 Jets roster as filled with great physical specimens lacking basic football acumen. Robinson exemplifies the prototype.
This LSU star — a lightning-fast, 6’2″ athlete — has all the measurables to become a stud cover-corner. The 49ers still can’t believe that they received the Jets’ fifth-round pick for their benched CB burned more than toast.
Robinson came off a four-game suspension to have one of the league’s worst PFF grades of 38.3. His porous late-season coverage makes one yearn for those Gang Green glory days of Dee Milliner and Juston Burris.
It just might be time for all of these players to start thinking about that proverbial day job…