Standout: Zaire Barnes, LB, NY Jets
Rookie linebacker Zaire Barnes has quietly been one of the most surprising standouts of training camp so far. The 2023 sixth-round pick recorded a sack on Tuesday and intercepted a Tim Boyle pass on Wednesday.
The Jets drafted Barnes with the expectation that he would serve as a core special-teamer for the team, but few expected him to play much of a role on defense this season. That could change if Barnes continues to impress.
The Jets really like Jamien Sherwood, and he's still penciled in as the starting weak-side linebacker, but Barnes has impressed in limited reps. He's turning a lot of heads this summer.
With Sherwood and Barnes, the Jets may feel comfortable enough with their own linebacker depth and pass on re-signing Kwon Alexander.
Standout: Tony Adams, S, NY Jets
Speaking of players the Jets' coaching staff is really high on, safety Tony Adams deserves a shoutout. Adams has been splitting reps between the first and second-team defense — an indication that the coaches believe he's in the mix to start at free safety.
The 2022 undrafted free agent recorded his first interception of the summer, picking off an errant Rodgers pass intended for Corey Davis. It was a free play as the defense jumped offsides, but Adams still showed off his impressive range to jump in front of Davis and secure the interception.
When asked about Adams following Wednesday's practice, Robert Saleh told reporters, "I guess the cat's coming out of the bag." Saleh even indicated that Adams was competing for a starting job.
The Jets signed Adrian Amos to be their starting safety alongside Jordan Whitehead, but don't be surprised if Adams pushes him for that role. There's a chance Adams is the Jets' Week 1 starting free safety.