The NY Jets’ initial depth chart has been released and we take a look at three takeaways.
The NY Jets have released their first initial depth chart for the 2020 season. With Week 1 just a few days away, the team is preparing for what could prove to be a challenging season.
A difficult schedule awaits a Jets team that hosts one of the least talented rosters in the NFL on paper. But as with every year, anything can happen.
The first depth chart that the team has released didn’t feature too many surprises, but there were a few things that raised some eyebrows. As always, it’s best not to look too much into these depth chart releases.
Rarely do their structures last for very long and sometimes they’re completely thrown out the window by the end of the first game. But that doesn’t mean they can’t still be useful.
This first depth chart provides a bit of an insight into the minds of how the Jets’ coaching staff feels about the roster. Which players are viewed as starters? Who is going to start the year as a reserve? And who will be playing a different position than expected?
Those questions were all answered in a relatively uneventful, but still insightful depth chart reveal. But what exactly does this reveal tell us about the state of the Jets’ roster heading into Week 1?
Let’s take a look at three takeaways from the Jets’ initial depth chart.
Next: 3. Curious positions for backups
3. Curious positions for some NY Jets backups
While the primary focus will be on the starting lineup — we’ll get to that — it should also be noted that all 53 players on the active roster were placed on the depth chart.
That means that we received an idea of which players are the top backups at each position. And for a few reserves, their placement on the depth chart raised a few questions.
More specifically, the positions they were listed at weren’t the ones we’ve become accustomed to them playing.
For starters, Harvey Langi was listed as solely a backup inside linebacker after spending the majority of last season and even parts of training camp at edge rusher.
The former undrafted free agent played in all 16 games last season and did play a little off-ball linebacker, but it was primarily due to the vast number of injuries at the position.
Remember, even Brandon Copeland played some inside linebacker in a pinch. Langi has primarily been an on-ball linebacker with the Jets, but that’s not where he’s listed on the depth chart.
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Elsewhere, backup offensive lineman Conor McDermott found his way on the depth chart as the sole backup guard. McDermott is an offensive tackle by trade and while he has experience playing guard as well, the assumption was that Josh Andrews would fill that role.
Instead, Andrews is only listed as the backup center with McDermott behind both Alex Lewis and Greg Van Roten.
Two curious placements for two players who ideally won’t step on the field for anything other than special teams. Nonetheless, it’s something to take note of.
Next: 2. Denzel Mims is a backup
2. Denzel Mims is on the NY Jets’ second-team offense
It’s been a rough start for Denzel Mims in his rookie season. The former Baylor star missed essentially all of training camp with a nagging hamstring injury.
And as a result, it likely cost him a spot in the starting offense in Week 1.
The Jets signed veteran Chris Hogan to counteract the overabundance of injuries at the wide receiver position and the former New England Patriots’ wideout fared quite well in camp.
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As such, Hogan was listed alongside Jamison Crowder and Breshad Perriman in the starting lineup while Mims was relegated to the second-team offense. This shouldn’t come as a major surprise given how much time Mims missed, but it sure is disappointing.
While certainly a project, many thought that Mims would immediately step in as a starter and hopefully make Sam Darnold’s life a little easier. But now, it’s unclear when he will see reps with the starters.
It’s likely the Jets attempt to ease Mims into the starting offense giving him more snaps as the weeks go on. For now, they feel comfortable with the veteran Hogan, who had a pretty good camp.
It isn’t an ideal situation for Mims or the Jets, but it’s not one that was unexpected given what we saw this summer.
Next: 1. Avery Williamson is a starter
1. Avery Williamson labeled as a starter for the NY Jets
Perhaps the only true major surprise from the initial depth chart reveal was who the Jets had at their two starting linebacker positions.
Throughout all of camp, the Jets had veteran Neville Hewitt and second-year pro Blake Cashman running with the first-team defense at linebacker. That didn’t change when Avery Williamson returned to the field either.
After missing the entire 2019 season with a torn ACL, Williamson finally returned this summer eager to make up for lost time and pick up where he left off in 2018.
But reports emerged that he looked a little sluggish in camp and his continued placement alongside James Burgess on the second-team defense seemed to back up that notion.
Williamson saw very little time with the starters this summer and it seemed to extend beyond simply easing him back into action. Combine that with strong summers from both Hewitt and Cashman and it looked like Williamson would be relegated to a backup role to begin the year.
Evidently, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Williamson was listed alongside Hewitt as a starting linebacker with Cashman and the aforementioned Langi as the backups. Perhaps we shouldn’t read too much into that and Gregg Williams will likely find a way to get all three of Hewitt, Williamson, and Cashman on the field.
Still, the Jets appear to have their starters. And somewhat surprisingly, Avery Williamson is one of them.