Handicapping the New York Jets’ 53-man roster: offense

There are still many roster moves to come before training camp starts, but few of real significance. NFL teams have a good idea about which players they are taking into camp this July.

Which rookies will make the 53-man roster for the New York Jets this summer? Which vets don’t make the cut? Let’s start today with a look at the offense, position by position.

Quarterback: Geno Smith, Michael Vick, Tajh Boyd (rookie)

The Jets took the former Clemson standout quarterback in the sixth round of the NFL Draft earlier this month. Head coach Rex Ryan has connections with Clemson; his son plays wide receiver for their team, and Rex, general manager John Idzik and senior director of college scouting Terry Bradway all personally visited Clemson’s pro day in March. This gives me reason to believe they are all high on Boyd, and Boyd will edge out Matt Simms for the third-string roster spot. I like Simms, myself, and I think there is still room for him on the practice squad and running the scout team.

Running back/fullback: Chris Johnson, Chris Ivory, Bilal Powell, Tommy Bohanon

The Jets did not draft a running back in 2014, and it’s a good thing, too: They currently have a whopping six running backs on the roster, after the signing of former Ram Daryl Richardson off waivers. I don’t think Richardson, Alex Green or Mike Goodson stand a chance to make the grade in this highly competitive backfield. Bohanon, a seventh-round pick in 2013, ought to beat out undrafted free agent Chad Young from San Diego State for the fullback position.

Ivory will shine in a crowded backfield.

Ivory will shine in a crowded backfield.

Wide receiver: Eric Decker, Jacoby Ford, Jeremy Kerley, Jalen Saunders (rookie), Shaq Evans (rookie), David Nelson

Of course, the big ones I’m leaving off the roster are a former second-round pick in Stephen Hill and a 2013 draft choice in Quincy Enunwa. The Jets also took two wide receivers in the fourth round this year, and both are talented enough to make the team, but I prefer Nelson over Enunwa. Nelson is three inches taller and more experienced, so he has the advantage. If Nelson, who in his first year with the Jets had an eight-catch game against Cincinnati and a two-touchdown game against Cleveland, is the sixth receiver on the depth chart, it’s safe to say the Jets have improved at the position.

Meanwhile, it’s better to find the “Bust” stamp and part ways with Stephen Hill now. He’s going to need to be a completely new man in order to make the team.

Tight end: Jace Amaro (rookie), Jeff Cumberland, Zach Sudfeld

As I’ve written about extensively already, Amaro and Cumberland will make a great one-two punch. Sudfeld is our best option for a reserve and for three-tight end sets.

Offensive tackle: D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Breno Giacomini, Oday Aboushi, Dakota Dozier (rookie)

I give Aboushi and Dozier the nod over Ben Ijalana, the former Colt who the Jets claimed off waivers after the 2013 preseason. Ijalana can be a practice squad body, perhaps.

Offensive guard: Brian Winters, Willie Colon, Caleb Schlauderaff

Here’s where it gets tricky. Winters and Colon are the projected starters, but there’s really only room for one backup guard, which ought to be Schlauderaff. I can justify this because Aboushi can also move inside in a pinch. Hopefully it will not be necessary, but

new york jets

Pretend the other guy’s not there. This is a picture of Nick Mangold.

unless Winters steps up his game at left guard, the interior O-line might be the Jets’ weakest link this year, not cornerback.

Center: Nick Mangold, Dalton Freeman

Center is the one position the Jets didn’t address in the draft that I wish they would have. The team will need to start thinking about Mangold’s successor soon, and it won’t be Dalton Freeman. Nevertheless, Freeman is currently Mangold’s backup and, thus, makes the team.


Check back later this week for a look at the defense and special teams.