NY Jets: Predicting the 53-man roster and 16-player practice squad

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NY Jets
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NY Jets practice squad

  • James Morgan [QB], Josh Adams [RB], Lawrence Cager [WR], Jeff Smith [WR], Daniel Brown [TE], Kenny Yeboah [TE], Corey Levin [OL], Tristen Hoge [OL], Isaiah Williams [OL], Jabari Zuniga [DE], Nathan Shepherd [DT], Noah Dawkins [LB], Edmond Robinson [LB], Isaiah Dunn [CB], Lamar Jackson [CB], Bennett Jackson [DB] (16)

Injuries will dictate which two players get called up every week to expand the roster from 53 to 55 on game day.

Tight end Daniel Brown seems like a safe bet because he is one of Brant Boyer's best players on special teams.

If, for whatever reason, after preseason action concludes, the Jets still have high hopes in James Morgan as a developmental quarterback, storing him on the practice squad makes sense because the Jets have the ability to protect four players on their reserve roster every week from being poached by opposing teams.

So, if the Jets still have a love affair with their 2020 fourth-round pick, Joe Douglas won't have to risk losing Morgan if the team chooses to protect him.

In theory, the Jets could carry another QB on their practice roster like veteran Josh Johnson. It's a role the journeyman quarterback played for the 49ers last year when Mike LaFleur was in San Francisco.

Having a veteran around in the quarterback room all year long could help the Jets' inexperienced quarterback group.

Some of the candidates to be protected weekly Jets' are Morgan, Brown, Yeboah, Hoge, Shepherd, and Dunn. New York can protect up to four each week.

One of the overlooked factors behind the scenes is a player's option to pass on being on your team's practice squad.

A young veteran like Nathan Shepherd could decide to look for a change of scenery after being waived during final cuts, turn down the practice squad spot, and land elsewhere.

Corey Levin has veteran experience on the pivot and guard and could make for a decent option for elevation if injuries occur.

Offensive lineman Tristen Hoge is an intriguing developmental project that could get onto the main roster before long. Isaiah Williams is a recent pickup by the Jets on the heels of Conor McDermott's injury. Williams spent time with line coach John Benton on the 49ers' roster last season.

Josh Adams would be the Jets' reserve option at tailback. He will truly be the first man-up candidate if any injuries occur in the Jets backfield.

At wide receiver, Lawrence Cager and Jeff Smith have shown some good things as young players, and the Jets could keep them around. D.J. Montgomery misses the cut, but he is also a legitimate candidate. He spent time last year on the Jets' practice squad.

2020 third-round pick Jabari Zuniga has fallen pretty far off the radar, and there's a chance that he doesn't remain with the Jets, despite the team's issues currently at defensive end.

The Jets will need some depth at linebacker, particularly with the team only carrying five or six linebackers. Noah Dawkins and Edmond Robinson make sense to remain in reserve.

Robinson is an outstanding special teams player, has experience with defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich, and can play on the strong side and in the middle at linebacker if needed.

The Jets have high hopes for undrafted rookie cornerback Isaiah Dunn, but it will be difficult for the team to carry eight cornerbacks on the 53-man roster.

Dunn could easily make it, but he could be a protected practice squad player if he doesn't. Javelin Guidry started the 2020 season in the same spot.

Lamar Jackson, like Guidry, also started 2020 on the practice squad. He could be headed there again. Jackson has had a good enough summer to make the main roster, and he still might, but if he does, it could come at the expense of one of the Jets' 2021 draft picks at defensive back.

Bennett Jackson is used to being a yo-yo, swinging back and forth the last few years on and off the practice squad and active roster. The reason for it is his versatility and value on special teams.

If you are a Jets player on the fringe of making the roster, hold on tight. The bottom end of New York's roster figures to have multiple changes before and leading into Week 1 of the 2021 season.

Next. NY Jets: 5 pass rushers to trade for including Chandler Jones. dark

The uncertainty and unknowns attached to this coming Jets season reflect the movement that will take place on the back end of the team's roster.