Recapping New York Jets' Rookie Performances from Minicamps and OTAs
As a team that made back-to-back AFC championships going into 2011, the Jets had high expectations for the season, only to struggle to a mediocre 8-8 finish. The team's rookie class will be counted on to give the Jets a shot in the arm to keep pace with the consistently great New England Patriots and improving Buffalo Bills. How did the draft class perform during their first two months with the team?
First-round defensive end Quinton Coples
No rookie outside of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III is having as big an effect on his team as Coples. The versatile defensive lineman has played some linebacker, keyed a transition to more 4-3 fronts, and been a "beast" in practices, harassing offensive linemen and quarterbacks alike. So far, it looks like the Jets were smart to turn down a trade-up offer from the Steelers so they could select Coples.
Second-round wide receiver Stephen Hill
According to ESPNNewYork's Rich CiminiHill has been just as impressive as Coples, displaying the ability to beat jams at the line of scrimmage, which is something head coach Rex Ryan expected Hill to struggle with early in his career. Hill was also consistently making big plays in practice until he was struck down by the rash of hamstring injuries that kept the starting wide receivers out of the Jets minicamp last week.
Third-round linebacker Demorio Davis
According to Jenny Vrentas of the Newark Star-Ledger, Davis exceeded expectations more than any other Jets rookie, drawing comparisons to Ray Lewis from head coach Rex Ryan. Cimini reported that Davis lined up with first-team nickel package in OTAs, so it might only be a matter of time before he completely takes Bart Scott's full-time job with the defense.
Sixth-round safety Josh Bush
Bush got a few first-team snaps in place of Eric Smith in the team's recent mini camp, and he also appeared to be in a subpackage, according to Vrentas. According to Dennis Waszak Jr. of the AP, defensive backs coach Dennis Thurman called Bush's offseason "impressive" and placed him as the No. 4 safety on the depth chart. Thurman also called Bush "mature" and said the team expects to see a "tremendous jump" from him in training camp.
Sixth-round running back Terrance Ganaway
Ganaway did not stand out for any good or bad reasons in rookie minicamp and OTAs. He was out for the team minicamp day open the media and did not attend Mark Sanchez's "Jets West" camp. There has been no clear evidence to contradict offensive coordinator Tony Sparano's statement that drafting Ganaway, who is experienced in an option offense, was a "coincidence" after the team traded for Tim Tebow.
Sixth-round guard Robert T. Griffin
Like his Baylor teammate Ganaway, Griffin was lumped into Sparano's "coincidence" statement about his selection's connection to the Tebow trade. Griffin did not get any significant action with the first-team, but both starting guards (Matt Slauson and Brandon Moore) are in the last year of their contracts, so he'll be a player to watch in training camp and the preseason.
Seventh-round safety Antonio Allen
Allen was more of a linebacker/safety hybrid at South Carolina, so Thurman remarked that playing "normal, natural safety" was an adjustment for him. Thurman does think that the Jets "may have found something" in the seventh round if Allen continues to progress.
Seventh-round wide receiver Jordan White
White suffered a broken foot during the team's first OTA, and missed the rest of the offseason.
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