The New York Jets play their final preseason game tonight against the Philadelphia Eagles. The next big day on the schedule is Saturday September 3rd, when all 32-NFL teams will have to have their rosters cut down to 53 players by 4 pm. The vast majority of the regular season roster has already been decided, but there are still a few spots up for grabs. For the players vying for a spot on the roster, tonight is their final shot to make a lasting impression.
Before we predict the final roster, here are a few decisions that still need to be made. Will the Jets keep four quarterbacks? Who will win the battle to be the Jets return man? Who will the Jets keep as their backup offensive linemen? Which outside linebackers are they going to keep? We will have the answers to these questions Saturday afternoon. In the meantime, here are the players that should make the final roster.
Quarterback (4): Ryan Fitzpatrick, Geno Smith, Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg
With the way this preseason has shaped out, it looks like the Jets are going to keep all four of their quarterbacks. It is hard to envision the Jets cutting Hackenberg without getting the opportunity to see him play much, and with as well as Bryce Petty has played to this point he deserves a roster spot. There is a chance the Jets could try and trade Geno Smith with the plethora of QB problems, but it looks like they are going to keep them all.
Running Back (3): Matt Forte, Bilal Powell, Khiry Robinson
Forte has been destined to be the starter since the Jets signed him this winter. At the start of the season it wouldn’t be a surprise if they go with an even split between Forte and Bilal Powell in order to keep Forte fresh for later in the season. Khiry Robinson is yet to play in a preseason game so it could be a few games before we see him, there is also a chance he starts the season in the PUP list.
Full Back (1): Tommy Bohanon
Another year and Tommy Bohanon is still on the roster. Bohanon is as solid of a full back as you could hope for. Tommy Bo can block, get you a tough couple of yards, and catch the occasional pass out of the backfield.
Wide Receiver (7): Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, Quincy Enunwa, Kenbrell Thompkins, Charone Peake, Jalin Marshall, Robby Anderson
The first four receivers were locks to make the team. The last three however are not. It is normal for teams to keep six WR’s, but because of how many young talented receivers they have, this year they should keep more. Charone Peake is likely the biggest lock out of the three. Jalin Marshall makes the cut because I believe he will be the winner of the battle to be the Jets returner. Lastly Robby Anderson has played so well this preseason that he deserves to make it. Jeremy Ross might make the team and replace Marshall, but as of now he looks like the odd man out. Devin Smith has already been placed on the PUP list which means he’ll have to sit out the first six weeks of the season
Tight Ends (3): Kellen Davis, Jace Amaro, Zach Sudfeld
All three have played poorly in preseason games, however they are all likely to make the team. Kellen Davis is one of the better blocking tight ends in the league so he is assured a spot. Zach Sudfeld is a special teams stud and has flashed potential as a receiver. Jace Amaro like Sudfeld missed all of 2015, and if he can ever get over his issues with dropping balls, could be a very productive receiving tight end.
Offensive Line (9): Nick Mangold, Brian Winters, James Carpenter, Breno Giacomini, Ryan Clady, Brent Qvale, Brandon Shell, Dakota Dozier, Ben Ijalana
The starting line is set in stone. Breno Giacomini still isn’t healthy so we could see Brent Qvale play for him to start the season Ben Ijalana will back up Ryan Clady on the left side. Dakota Dozier will once again back up Nick Mangold and can fill in at guard. Brandon Shell will be the primary backup at guard.
Defensive Line (5): Muhammad Wilkerson, Leonard Williams, Sheldon Richardson, Steve McClendon, Jarvis Jenkins
The Jets have one of the most talented defensive lines in the game. Sheldon Richardson will miss the first game with a suspension. Deon Simon has the potential to make the team as a backup nose guard.
Linebacker (9): David Harris, Erin Henderson, Darron Lee, Lorenzo Mauldin, Jordan Jenkins, Bruce Carter, Freddie Bishop, Mike Catapano, Trevor Reilly
David Harris is the lone returning starter and is the stalwart leader of this defense. Erin Henderson will step into the starting role he took from DeMario Davis last year. Darron Lee will get the start in nickel and dime packages and will look to steal time from Henderson as the year progresses. Lorenzo Mauldin is transitioning into an every down OLB in his second season. Mike Catapano and Freddie Bishop will compete with each other for who is the primary back up OLB, and Trevor Reilly makes the team because of his special teams prowess.
Secondary (9): Darrelle Revis, Buster Skrine, Marcus Williams, Calvin Pryor, Marcus Gilchrist, Rontez Miles, Dee Milliner, Juston Burris, Dexter McDougle
Buster Skrine will step in as the starting cornerback across from Darrelle Revis, and Marcus Williams will take over the nickel back role that Skrine held last year. Calvin Pryor will look to make the leap to becoming an elite safety this year and will be rejoined by Marcus Gilchrist as a free safety. Rontez Miles has continued to play great this preseason and should end up seeing a good amount of playing time on defense. Dexter McDougle is on the bubble.
K Nick Folk
P Lachlhan Edwards
LS Tanner Purdham