The NY Jets did an impressive job this offseason of accumulating roster depth, and that depth was on display this summer. It seemed like there were at least 5-6 guys who deserved to make the final 53-man roster but fell victim to the numbers game.
In fact, a whopping seven Jets players were claimed off waivers by other teams at the deadline — far and away the most in the NFL. For those who weren't claimed, however, many of them ended up on the Jets' practice squad.
The Jets' roster depth has been tested this year too with players like Breece Hall, Alijah Vera-Tucker, and seemingly every offensive tackle under contract going down with significant injuries.
The team hopes to get healthy after the bye week, but injuries are a part of the NFL. And when they happen, teams turn to their existing depth to help them get by. Fortunately, the Jets have some talented players down on their practice squad who can help them in the future.
Let's take a look at a handful of practice squad players who could prove to be key contributors for the Jets in the second half of the season.
4. Bradlee Anae, DE, NY Jets
The Jets have arguably the deepest and most talented pass rush in the NFL. From Carl Lawson and John Franklin-Myers to role players like Bryce Huff, Jermaine Johnson, Micheal Clemons, and Vinny Curry, there is no shortage of talent in this Jets' defensive end rotation.
The team has so much depth that they traded away Jacob Martin at the deadline for future draft compensation. With so much talent and depth, it might be hard for someone like Bradlee Anae to make an impact.
But all it takes is one injury to one of the Jets' edge rushers for Anae to be called into action. A former fifth-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys, Anae was a summer standout for the Jets and looked to push for a roster spot this past August.
A crowded defensive end room meant that he never had much of a chance, but expect Anae to be the first player called upon if one of the team's edge rushers goes down with an injury. He could be key depth down the stretch this season.
3. Chris Streveler, QB, NY Jets
Chris Streveler isn't exactly the same type of "depth" that Anae is, but that doesn't mean we won't see him at some point this season. In fact, we nearly did just a few weeks ago.
The Jets elevated Streveler from the practice squad ahead of their Week 8 meeting with the New England Patriots but curiously left him as a game-day inactive. We never received a straight answer from head coach Robert Saleh as to why exactly Streveler didn't play.
Still, the fact that they elevated him shows that there were at least plans for Streveler to be involved in the offense at some point. Don't be surprised if we see the Jets elevate him in the future and run a few trick plays on offense.
The Jets like Streveler and could use his mobility to their advantage in some wildcat packages. Don't expect him to fill the same role that Anae would as key depth, but he could be a fun situational contributor for a couple of games in the latter half of the season.
2 and 1. Tanzel Smart and Jonathan Marshall, DT, NY Jets
It's best to combine Tanzel Smart and Jonathan Marshall into one entry because they'll both be competing to fill the same role in the very near future.
With defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins expected to miss the next 4-6 weeks due to injury, the Jets have just three defensive tackles on their active roster. One solution is to elevate either Smart or Marshall from the practice squad.
Both players were summer standouts and could help provide valuable depth while Rankins is sidelined. Smart is the veteran of the two, having been in the NFL since 2017, and he's seemed to impress in limited opportunities with the Jets.
As for Marshall, the 2021 sixth-round pick showed signs of improvement this summer and has plenty of pass-rush upside. The Jets could always opt to sign a player like Linval Joseph or use the likes of John Franklin-Myers and Micheal Clemons in interior roles more often.
But Smart and Marshall earned their snaps this past summer. It would be nice to see one or both of them receive an opportunity this season.