NY Jets 53-man roster and 16-player practice squad prediction

NY Jets, Lawrence Cager
NY Jets, Lawrence Cager / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
4 of 8

NY Jets defensive ends

  • Carl Lawson
  • John Franklin-Myers
  • Jermaine Johnson
  • Bryce Huff
  • Jacob Martin
  • Micheal Clemons

This is the deepest position on the roster and some very, very difficult cuts are going to have to be made. The six players listed here are all probably safe.

Carl Lawson and John Franklin-Myers will start in the base defense with Jermaine Johnson, Bryce Huff, Jacob Martin, and Micheal Clemons rotating in. The real question is whether or not the Jets carry a seventh defensive end.

Seven defensive ends is a pretty unprecedented amount to carry, but the likes of Vinny Curry, Jabari Zuniga, and Bradlee Anae make this decision difficult.

Curry has battled hamstring injuries this summer and just hasn't been able to make up enough ground. While it's possible the Jets bring him back at a later date, it would be a mild surprise to see him on the initial 53-man roster.

Meanwhile, Zuniga and Anae each deserve to make the team after their performances this summer. In this scenario, there just isn't room for either and the Jets try to sneak them onto their practice squad. Don't be surprised if one or both are claimed off waivers, though.

NY Jets defensive tackles

  • Quinnen Williams
  • Sheldon Rankins
  • Solomon Thomas
  • Nathan Shepherd
  • Jonathan Marshall

Quinnen Williams, Sheldon Rankins, and Solomon Thomas are locks for the 53-man roster, and each figures to play an important role in the defensive line rotation. Everything else is up for grabs.

There's very much a scenario where the Jets only opt to keep one of Nathan Shepherd or Jonathan Marshall. You could certainly argue in favor of carrying an extra defensive end here instead of a fifth defensive tackle.

That said, Shepherd and Marshall each occupy different roles and are both useful players. Shepherd is one of the few true 1-technique defensive tackles the Jets have and they don't really have anyone else to fill that role.

At the same time, Marshall was a sixth-round pick last year and his play this summer warrants a roster spot. In the end, I made room for both. Tanzel Smart has impressed again this summer, but he seems destined for the practice squad.