New York Jets: Top 3 takeaways from first unofficial depth chart
The New York Jets’ PR staff released its first depth chart of the offseason. Nothing is official, but there are some interesting parts to keep an eye on.
Believe it or not, the New York Jets’ preseason opener is just a few days away. With that being said, the depth chart is starting to take shape in training camp.
There have been several new players that have impressed the coaches in the front office. While other players have regressed and fallen by the wayside.
Although the official coaches depth chart hasn’t been dropped yet, the team’s PR staff released its unofficial depth chart ahead of the first preseason game of 2019.
There’s been some interesting position battles we’ve been keeping an eye on in Florham Park throughout the summer. This depth chart gives us an idea of who’s standing out amongst the others at certain spots on the field. Here are three takeaways from the Jets’ first unofficial depth chart of the 2019 season.
Next: Young talent getting looks
Undrafted Free Agents
The Jets have had a decent amount of luck with finding solid UDFA’s over the past few years. They found Robby Anderson after the 2016 NFL Draft, who’s now the Jets’ No. 1 receiver. This year, they brought in a solid group of players, each with a chip on their shoulder.
Several of the Jets’ UDFA pickups, in 2019 and in the years prior, have began getting serious reps as second-string players. One specific UDFA has earned the only rookie starting spot in the special teams unit: Greg Dortch.
Dortch has been listed as the starting punt returner for the Jets ahead of Thursday’s game, ahead of Tim White and J.J. Jones. Gase said that Dortch has a good feel for catching punts, and compared him to a center fielder in baseball when back to return punts. Dortch was a highly regarded UDFA from the moment the Jets signed him, and he’s showing why in special teams.
Several other UDFA’s have earned spots as members of the second string as well:
- Kyron Brown, the undrafted corner out of Akron, has Derrick Jones and Parry Nickerson beat as the number four corner on the roster. Brown got first-team reps when Trumaine Johnson was out with a groin injury as well.
Two former UDFA’s, Deontay Burnett (2018) and Tim White (2017), have worked their way up the receiving depth chart as well, earning slots as second-teamers. Brandon Bryant, the safety that was picked up by the Jets after going undrafted in the compensatory draft, is now a second-team safety behind Jamal Adams.
The Jets have developed a good crop of UDFA’s over the years. Now they are contributors in key depth pieces. The Jets coaching staff has done a solid job developing these players into viable backups, and maybe even potential starters.
Next: Tight end unit taking shape
When the news broke that Chris Herndon IV would be facing a four-game suspension for a DUI, the Jets had a wide-open spot at the starting spot for the first four games of the season. Joe Douglas went out and signed former Texans tight end Ryan Griffin, who started in 36 games throughout his six-year career in Houston.
Griffin, who is by far the most experienced tight end on the Jets’ active roster, has been given the second-string spot behind Herndon, meaning he is the projected starter for the first four games. He is ahead of Daniel Brown, Eric Tomlinson, Trevon Wesco, and Nick Truesdell.
Brown has been given the third-string honors and has been impressing many throughout the offseason. The former UDFA from the 2015 NFL Draft has yet to hit his stride in the NFL, only starting in four seasons. The Jets signed him earlier this offseason as a free agent, and now he has a chance to get serious playing time to open up the season.
Wesco, the Jets’ fourth-round pick in 2019, is among the fourth team along with Tomlinson and Truesdell. The Jets drafted him primarily for his blocking, which he thrived at during his time at West Virginia. He and Tomlinson will likely battle it out to become the team’s go-to blocking tight end.
Next: 3rd round pick struggling
Jets fans had high expectations for Jachai Polite heading into training camp, but he hasn’t impressed the coaches much so far. He’s been mostly playing with the second and third team and hasn’t found his groove quite yet in camp. The 2019 third-round pick was regarded as one of the most talented edge rushers in the 2019 draft class.
One of the major reasons Polite plummeted down the draft board is because of his lackluster NFL Combine performance not only on the field but also during the interview process behind the scenes with NFL teams.
There’s a reason he fell so far down the board, but the Jets brass decided that in the third round the reward outweighed the risk.
Polite has picked up his play the past couple of days, and if he keeps up the good work, he could find himself climbing up the depth chart. He’s racked up several sacks over the last few practices, which is what the coaches needed to see.
For now, Polite is listed on the third team at outside linebacker, behind Frankie Luvu and Harvey Langi. If he continues his strong play, he could definitely rise up the ranks. Perhaps he could even beat out Brandon Copeland for the starting job. Gregg Williams plans on using several different linebacker packages, so only time will tell who gets playing time and who doesn’t.