NY Jets: Position-by-position analysis of the 53-man roster

NY Jets (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /
NY Jets (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

Now that the NY Jets’ 53-man roster is set, we provide a brief analysis for each position group.

The first iteration of the NY Jets‘ 53-man roster has mostly been constructed. Roster cuts have been made, the waiver period has passed, and once injury designations occur, the Jets should have their Week 1 roster ready for the start of the regular season.

On the surface, it’s clear that there’s still plenty of work to be done with this roster. General manager Joe Douglas did his best to improve the state of the organization both now and in the future this past offseason, but there was only so much he could do.

The roster is far from complete, but there are reasons for optimism as well.

As for cut day, there weren’t a ton of surprises as in years past. Sure the decisions to move on from guys like Jonotthan Harrison and James Burgess raised a few eyebrows, but they’re likely not decisions we’ll be thinking about a month from now.

The same goes for the practice squad additions as all 15 current members of the practice squad were also members of the training camp roster.

That’s likely a product of an unorthodox offseason and a lack of a preseason where teams are prioritizing familiarity. It’s a smart strategy, but it certainly led to a pretty uneventful weekend for most teams.

Nonetheless, there are still a few takeaways from the initial roster construction. We’re going to take a look at a position-by-position breakdown of the current roster detailing cuts and any surprises.

Let’s get into it.

Next: 1. Quarterbacks and Running Backs

NY Jets (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

NY Jets’ quarterbacks

  • Roster: Sam Darnold, Joe Flacco, James Morgan (R)
  • Practice squad: David Fales, Mike White

The Jets will have to do some roster manipulating over the next few weeks until Joe Flacco returns. Expect to see either Fales or White — likely the former — temporarily promoted to the active roster to serve as the de facto backup on game day.

Morgan had a shaky camp so the Jets feel more comfortable with any of the other guys playing the backup role to Darnold. But because of his fourth-round status, he had to be rostered.

Biggest surprise: Keeping both Fales and White on the practice squad

NY Jets’ running backs

  • Roster: Le’Veon Bell, Frank Gore, La’Mical Perine (R)
  • Practice squad: Josh Adams
  • Cut: Pete Guerriero (R)

The Jets opted to keep only three running backs on the active roster despite Perine’s injury. That’s likely good news for his status and it’s probable that he’s ready for Week 1.

Other than that, there was nothing noteworthy about this position group. Josh Adams will be kept on the practice squad and it’s highly likely we see him on the active roster at some point if a running back goes down with an injury — which they always do.

Biggest surprise: Keeping only three running backs

Next: 2. Wide Receivers and Tight Ends

NY Jets (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images) /

NY Jets’ wide receivers

  • Roster: Breshad Perriman, Denzel Mims (R), Jamison Crowder, Chris Hogan, Vyncint Smith, Braxton Berrios, Jeff Smith
  • Practice squad: Lawrence Cager (R), Donte Moncrief, Josh Malone, D.J. Montgomery
  • Cut: George Campbell (R), Jehu Chesson

The Jets keep a whopping seven receivers on the active roster, although that’s bound to change soon. Vyncint and Jeff Smith are both candidates for the injured reserve with the latter being the most likely addition.

The Jets also keep four wideouts on their practice squad including fan-favorite Lawrence Cager. All eyes are on Perriman and Mims as they work their way back from injuries ahead of Week 1.

Biggest surprise: George Campbell being left off the practice squad

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NY Jets’ tight ends

  • Roster: Chris Herndon, Ryan Griffin, Trevon Wesco, Daniel Brown
  • Practice Squad: Ross Travis, Bronson Kaufusi

The Jets opt to keep all six of their tight ends from training camp around in some fashion after re-signing special-teams ace Daniel Brown shortly following his release.

Herndon will look to put together his sophomore breakout that he never had while Griffin will attempt to prove that he can be a reliable sidekick to his younger teammate. Interestingly, the Jets keep both Ross Travis and defensive-line convert Bronson Kaufusi on the practice squad.

Biggest surprise: Keeping Bronson Kaufusi on the practice squad

Next: 3. Offensive Line and Defensive Line

NY Jets (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

NY Jets’ offensive line

  • Roster: Mekhi Becton (R), Alex Lewis, Connor McGovern, Greg Van Roten, George Fant, Chuma Edoga, Cameron Clark (R), Josh Andrews, Conor McDermott
  • Practice squad: Jimmy Murray, Corbin Kaufusi
  • Cut: Jonotthan Harrison, Brad Lundblade, Jared Hilbers (R)

Josh Andrews was predictably re-signed after being cut giving the Jets the backup center they lost with Harrison’s release. Meanwhile, both Clark and McDermott are candidates for the injured reserve given their recent injuries — the latter being more likely.

As for the starting five, there are no surprises here. Edoga never pushed Fant for the starting job and the other four ran basically unopposed. Hopefully the results will be vastly different from last year.

Biggest surprise: Cutting Jonotthan Harrison (Honorable mention: Choosing Kaufusi over Hilbers on the practice squad)

Must Read. NY Jets: 3 biggest standouts from 2020 training camp

NY Jets’ defensive line

  • Roster: Quinnen Williams, Steve McLendon, Henry Anderson, Nathan Shepherd, Folorunso Fatukasi, John Franklin-Myers, Kyle Phillips, Jabari Zuniga (R), Jordan Willis
  • Cut: Sterling Johnson (R)

The Jets basically decided to keep their entire defensive line from training camp on their active roster as Sterling Johnson’s release came a couple of days before cut day.

The unit was perhaps the strongest on the team last year and they return all of its key members. Quinnen Williams can transform the Jets’ defensive line from a superb run-stopping group to an all-around top-five unit if he breaks out in 2020.

Biggest surprise: Keeping Jordan Willis on the active roster

Next: 4. Outside and Inside Linebackers

NY Jets (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

NY Jets’ outside linebackers

  • Roster: Jordan Jenkins, Tarell Basham, Frankie Luvu, Harvey Langi, Bryce Huff (R)

The Jets keep all five traditional 3-4 outside linebackers on their roster as well as the three other hybrid players (Zuniga, Phillips, and Willis) that we listed as defensive linemen.

The unit is weak on paper, but look for guys like Basham and Huff to take advantage of the opportunities they’ll be given. Huff, in particular, will have a chip on his shoulder as the only undrafted rookie to make the team.

Biggest surprise: Keeping both Langi and Huff on the 53-man roster

NY Jets’ inside linebackers

  • Roster: Neville Hewitt, Blake Cashman, Avery Williamson, Patrick Onwuasor
  • Cut: James Burgess, B.J. Bello

The biggest surprise to come out of camp is that Avery Williamson likely won’t be starting come Week 1. He hasn’t looked the same since returning from his ACL injury while Hewitt and Cashman had strong showings this summer.

Expect Onwuasor to be an injured reserve candidate which makes the release of James Burgess even more surprising. The Jets will be very thin at linebacker with Burgess not even a member of the practice squad.

Biggest surprise: Cutting James Burgess

Next: 5. Cornerbacks, Safeties, and Specialists

NY Jets (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /

NY Jets’ cornerbacks

  • Roster: Pierre Desir, Blessuan Austin, Brian Poole, Quincy Wilson, Arthur Maulet, Nate Hairston
  • Practice Squad: Javelin Guidry (R), Lamar Jackson (R), Zane Lewis (R)
  • Non-football injury list: Bryce Hall (R)

The Jets will carry six cornerbacks into the regular season with three undrafted rookies on their practice squad. That’s not even including rookie fifth-round pick Bryce Hall who remains on the NFI list.

Hairston was released and then brought back, but don’t be surprised to see him released again once Hall is healthy. He’s eligible to return after three weeks, but it could be longer.

Biggest surprise: Nate Hairston being on the active roster

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NY Jets’ safeties

  • Roster: Marcus Maye, Bradley McDougald, Ashtyn Davis (R)
  • Practice squad: Bennett Jackson
  • Cut: Matthias Farley, Shyheim Carter (R)

Perhaps no player stood out as much as Marcus Maye this summer. The former second-round pick could be in-line for a monster 2020 if he can stay healthy.

As for the rest of the position, there were a few minor surprises such as the team only carrying three safeties. Farley getting cut was a surprise as was Carter — the team’s second-highest-paid undrafted rookie — not even making the practice squad.

Biggest surprise: Farley getting cut and not making the practice squad

NY Jets’ specialists

  • Roster: Sam Ficken (K), Braden Mann (P), Thomas Hennessy (LS)
  • Cut: Brett Maher (K)

Maher was technically cut before Saturday but we’re still going to count him anyway. Other than the kicker battle, not much was up for grabs in training camp.

Next. NY Jets: 3 takeaways from the initial 15-man practice squad

It still wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Jets make a move at kicker before the start of the season, but it’s looking more and more likely that Sam Ficken will be the guy come Week 1.

Biggest surprise: Not bringing in better competition for Ficken