New York Jets 2012: Latest News, Cuts, Preseason Predictions

Ryan AlfieriCorrespondent IIIJuly 31, 2012

New York Jets 2012: Latest News, Cuts, Preseason Predictions

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    After spending the last few months twiddling our thumbs, we are entering a very hectic time of year. Every day there will be roster transactions and player movement that will make your head spin. 

    That is why this guide is here. The following slides will break down every roster move the Jets will make over the next month, along with position-by-position breakdowns and predictions of how the team will look before suiting up against the Buffalo Bills in Week 1. 

    Here is your guide for following the Jets' roster throughout the preseason, all at your fingertips. 

August 31 Roster Cuts

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    The team announced most of its final roster cuts as they approach today's 9 PM deadline:

     WR Joseph Collins, LB Marcus Dowtin, T Robert Griffin, G Fredrick Koloto, C Matt Kroul, P Spencer Lanning, DB LeQuan Lewis, TE Tarren Lloyd, S D'Anton Lynn, DB Julian Posey, DE Jay Richardson, WR Eron Riley, LB Brett Roy, NT Martin Tevaseu, QB Matt Simms were all waived. 

    Later, the Jets cut OT Paul Cornick, DB Donnie Fletcher, WR Royce Pollard, LB Ricky Sapp, TE Hayden Smith and WR Jordan White, per Rich Cimini of ESPN

    The biggest surprise here would be Ganaway, a sixth-round pick who some thought would challenge Shonn Greene for playing time when he was  drafted. However, he will be a virtual lock for the practice squad, assuming no one else picks him up. 

    Another candidate for the practice squad is tight end Hayden Smith (the Aussie), which makes perfect sense for a player still learning the game. 

August 28 Roster Cuts

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    (via ProFootballTalk.com)

    Waives/Releases: WR Dexter Jackson, OG Terrence Campbell, LS Derek Chard, DT Matt Hardison, CB LeQuan Lewis, S Marcus Lott, WR Raymond Webber, OLB Damario Ambrose, WR Stanley Aruke, WR Wes Kemp, RB Jeremy Stewart, K Josh Brown

    Waived/Injured: TE Josh Baker

Latest Roster Moves

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    9/1/12: The Jets made some waves on the waiver wire

     per Connor Orr of NJ.com:

     

    Additions

    The Jets claimed TE Konrad Reuland from the 49ers, WR Clyde Gates and DT Isaako Aaitui from the Dolphins.

    To make room, DE Marcus Dixon was released by the team, per his agent, and S Antonio Allen was waived, per Jenny Ventras of NJ.com. Both of these cuts come as a bit of a surprise, as Dixon was a solid rotational player last year and Allen had a very strong camp. Allen would assume to be a high priority for the practice squad, but he ha enough talent to warrant considerable attention from other teams. 

    8/29/12: The Jets released CB Ryan Steed, per Live 5 News. Steed struggled to stay healthy, and the Jets probably made an injury settlement with him. A small-school prospect with plenty of upside, he had a chance of making the team if he had stayed healthy.  

    8/28/12: The Jets claimed punter Spencer Lanning off waivers (per ESPN), who lost a competition with former Jet Reggie Hodges of the Browns. The Jets needed to add competition for Conley, who has been wildly inconsistent this preseason. 

    8/27/12: The New York Jets released kicker Josh Brown, according to Manish Mehta of the Daily News. This makes Nick Folk the winner of what has been a fierce kicking competition in Jets camp. 

    The Jets also released linebacker Demario Ambrose, according to Jake Steinberg of the Jets Blog. Ambrose had little chance to make the roster in the first place with so many other players ahead of him.

    Just before midnight, the Jets traded Wayne Hunter for Jason Smith of the Rams

    8/25/12: The Jets released seven players just a day before the third preseason game.  G Terrance Campbell, LS Derek Chard, DT Matt Hardison, WR Dexter Jackson, CB LeQuan Lewis, S Marcus Lott and WR Raymond Webber, were all waived (via Jenny Ventras of the Star-Ledger).

    The roster is now down to 80 players. These guys had no realistic chance of making the team, to the Jets are probably doing them a favor by letting them know now rather than waste their time.

    8/20/12: The Jets released OT Stephon Heyer, according to ProFootballTalk. This is certainly an interesting move, as one would think the Jets would be collecting all of the tackle talent they can find, not cutting bait with valuable depth.

    8/8/12: The New York Jets have waived RB John Griffin and have claimed RB Jeremy Stewart off waivers, according to Manish Mehta of the Daily News. Griffin looked decent in minicamp, but a recent injury left the Jets impatient. 

    8/6/12: The New York Jets waived WRs Scotty McKnight and DaMarcus Ganaway, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. Ganaway was dealing with injuries that prevented him from even having a chance in the tight receiver competition, while McKnight was simply not special enough to warrant keeping around. 

    8/2/12: The New York Jets added a plethora of receivers, including Wes Kemp of Missouri, Chris Forcier Furman and S Marcus Lott, according to Seth Walder of the New York Daily News. With so many receivers down with injury and leftover spots on the roster, the Jets are simply adding camp bodies. 

    8/1/12: The New York Jets released safety Tracy Wilson, the team announced. Wilson had virtually no chance of making the squad because of the drafted players and free agents ahead of him. The Jets are doing him a favor by letting him possibly get picked up by another team. 

    7/30/12: The New York Jets made their first camp cut with CB Royce Adams, who suffered a knee injury in camp, as TheJetsBlog's Jake Steinberg reports. The release appears to be strictly injury-related, so if he heals up, he could potentially be back with the team.

    7/23/12: The New York Jets made a trade for former Panthers offensive tackle Jeff Otah in exchange for an undisclosed draft choice. Otah, a former first-round selection who has played in just four games over the past two years due to injuries, needs to pass a physical by July 31 or else the trade will be voided. If Otah passes, the Jets could have found themselves a talented player at a need position.  

    6/28/12: The New York Jets released OT Ray Willis, who was signed to compete with Stephon Heyer and Vladimir Ducasse for a backup tackle position.

Full Team Roster and Projected Depth Chart

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    The following depth chart is based on information from OurLads.com:

     

    Pos Player 1 Player 2 Player 3 Player 4 Player 5
    Offense
    LWR (7) Schilens, Chaz  Hill, Stephen  White, Jordan Pollard, Royce
           

    RWR (5) Holmes, Santonio Kerley, Jeremy Turner, Patrick Riley, Eron
    LT (2) Ferguson, D'Brickashaw  Heyer, Stephon      
    LG (4) Slauson, Matt Ducasse, Vladimir Schlauderaff, Caleb Griffin, Robert  
    C (3) Mangold, Nick Kroul, Matt
       
    RG (3) Moore, Brandon  Landolt, Dennis Koloto, Fred    
    RT (3) Hunter, Wayne Howard, Austin Cornick, Paul
     
    TE (5) Keller, Dustin Cumberland, Jeff Epps, Dedrick Smith, Hayden  Lloyd, Tarren 
    QB (4) Sanchez, Mark Tebow, Tim  McElroy, Greg  Simms, Matt   
    FB (3) Conner, John

       
    RB (5) Greene, Shonn McKnight, Joe  Powell, Bilal Ganaway, Terrance
    Defense
    LDE (3) DeVito, Mike Richardson, Jay
       
    NT (4) Pou'ha, Sione Ellis, Kenrick Tevaseu, Martin Harrison, Damon  
    RDT (4) Wilkerson, Muhammad Coples, Quinton Dixon, Marcus
     
    LOLB (2) Thomas, Bryan McIntyre, Garrett  Roy, Brett    
    LILB (3) Scott, Bart Mauga, Josh  Dowtin, Marcus    
    RILB (4) Harris, David Davis, Demario Bellore, Nick    
    ROLB (3) Pace, Calvin Maybin, Aaron Sapp, Ricky    
    LCB (4) Revis, Darrelle Wilson, Kyle Posey, Julian Fletcher, Donnie   
    SS (3) Bell, Yeremiah Bush, Josh  Allen, Antonio    
    FS (3) Landry, LaRon Smith, Eric Lynn, D'Anton    
    RCB (5) Cromartie, Antonio Lankster, Ellis Trufant, Isiah Steed, Ryan  
    Special Teams
    P (2) Conley, TJ
         
    PK(2) Folk, Nick
         
    LS (2) Purdum, Tanner 
         
    PR (1) Kerley, Jeremy        
    KR (2) McKnight, Joe Cromartie, Antonio

Last 5 In

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    The following five players are the ones closest to the edge of getting cut:

    DT Damon Harrison will be fighting for a roster spot in tonight's game against the Eagles. He will have to beat out the likes of Martin Teveseau in order to possible make the 53-man roster. 

    CB D'Anton Lynn is a terrible fit with the Jets' style of defense, as he is almost exclusively a zone corner. The fact that his father, Anthony Lynn, is the running backs coach may be his best chance to earning a spot on the practice squad. 

    ILB Nick Bellore is on the cusp of making the team. The Jets clearly want to keep him around, or they would not have bothered to try him out at fullback. A great special teams player, Bellore needs to prove his versatility to avoid being a victim of roster numbers. 

    TE Hayden Smith seems like a likely practice squad candidate. Having not seen much playing time in preseason games, it is difficult to picture him on the final roster. However, his potential is enticing enough to keep around on the practice squad. 

    CB Julian Posey Is right on the edge of making the team. The battle will be between him and Isiah Trufant for perhaps the final cornerback spot. 

Last 5 Out

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    S Tracy Wilson was waived on August 1. The Jets are probably doing him a favor by letting him go now so he can get picked up by another team, as the safety position is already beyond crowded. 

    CB Royce Adams was released on July 30 after suffering a knee injury. With so many other corners competing against him, all management needed was one excuse to make the competition a bit clearer. 

    OLB Demario Ambrose was waived. He had no chance of making the team with the sheer amount of proven players in front of him.

    K Josh Brown was released, after losing the kicker battle to the incumbent Nick Folk. The battle was very close, so Brown has a chance to land on another kicker-needy team.

    CB Ryan Steed was waived, as he could not stay healthy enough to warrant a roster spot. He likely made an injury settlement with the team.

Quarterbacks

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    QBs on roster: Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, Greg McElroy, Matt Simms 

    Projected starter: Mark Sanchez 

    Offseason additions: Tim Tebow, Matt Simms 

    Roster cuts: N/A 

    Projected final roster: Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, Greg McElroy

     

    The subject of the Jets' quarterback situation has been dissected more in-depth than a frog in seventh grade science class, so let's get to the latest update:

    There is none. The Jets have been mum on what Tebow's role will be specifically or how often he will be used. For now, all we know is that Tebow will be Sanchez's backup and play some Wildcat from time to time. How that role changes as the season progresses remains to be seen. 

    The fact that the Jets have been quiet on this front makes perfect sense; the less they say, the more time opposing defensive coordinators have to spend trying to figure out what they are going to do. 

    Meanwhile, Tebow also has gotten plenty of work on the punt team as the personal protector. The Jets think they can prevent opposing teams from rushing the punt with all of their resources and Tebow's threat to fake, and they are probably right.

    So far, there have been no reports of obvious tension between Sanchez and Tebow, which is obviously a good sign. Keeping this relationship cordial will be crucial to maintaining a delicate balance between Sanchez and his globally-popular backup. 

    As for the bottom half of the roster, things get almost as interesting. Greg McElroy showed some promise last preseason before landing on the IR before the season even started, while Matt Simms was impressive enough in minicamp to earn an invitation to training camp. 

    While I do not expect McElroy to be usurped as the third quarterback, his roster spot is not a total lock either. There is a legitimate chance that the strong-armed Simms could enamor coaches more than the squirt gun the former seventh-rounder out of Alabama possesses. 

Running Backs

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    RBs on roster: Shonn Greene, Joe McKnight, Bilal Powell, Terrance Ganaway, John Griffin, John Conner, Fui Vakapuna 

    Projected starter: Shonn Greene 

    Offseason additions: Terrance Ganaway, John Griffin, Fui Vakapuna 

    Roster cuts: N/A 

    Projected final roster: Shonn Greene, Joe McKnight, Bilal Powell, Terrance Ganaway, John Griffin, John Conner

     

    From the starters to those on the roster bubble, this is going to be one of the most intriguing positions to watch this season. 

    At the top we have Shonn Greene, who had a bit of an underwhelming 1,000-yard season in his debut as the lead back for the Jets. Back in a physical, run-first system, this is Greene's best (and perhaps only) shot to prove that he can carry the load on his own. 

    Without LaDainian Tomlinson around anymore, Joe McKnight is expected to take over the third-down duties. 

    Another disappointment from 2011, Bilal Powell, has looked impressive so far in camp (via Erik Frenz on B/R). If he continues to play well, he could earn a small role in the offense this year. Perhaps Powell is beginning to feel the heat presented by Terrance Ganaway, who is more of a Shonn Greene-type back who also has some agility to him. 

    Meanwhile, one of the most intriguing players to watch this August is John Griffin. While it would be unusual for a team to carry six running backs (five RBs and a FB), the Jets, perhaps more than any other team in the league, would benefit from added depth at the position.

    As for fullbacks, there will be a direct competition between the two former Hard Knocks stars, John Conner and Fui Vakapuna (Vakapuna was with the Bengals). Conner made more than a few mental mistakes last year, and while unlikely, a new coaching staff may not be opposed to have a more experienced player, such as Vakapuna, at the position.  

Wide Receivers

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    WRs on roster: Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley, Chaz Schilens, Scotty McKnight, Patrick Turner, Jordan White, DaMarcus Ganaway, Eron Riley, Raymond Webber, Royce Pollard, Dexter Jackson 

    Projected starters: Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley (slot) 

    Offseason additions: Stephen Hill, Chaz Schilens, Jordan White, Royce Pollard, Raymond Webber, DaMarcus Ganaway 

    Roster cuts: Scotty McKnight, Jordan White, DaMarcus Ganaway, Eron Riley, Raymond Webber, Royce Pollard, Dexter Jackson 

    Projected final roster: Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley, Chaz Schilens, Patrick Turner

     

    As with most 90-man rosters, the receiver position is by far the most-crowded group on the field, as their body type and skill sets are ideal for special teams use. 

    Most of the attention in camp will be surrounding the behavior of Santonio Holmes, who was at the center of the locker room issues last year. All eyes will also be on second-round pick Stephen Hill, who has already become the overwhelming favorite to be the starter opposite Santonio Holmes.

    Recently, there has been a new development in the slot receiver position. It was presumed that Jeremy Kerley, coming off a terrific rookie season, would resume his role as the slot receiver. However, receivers coach Sanjay Lal has gone on record to say that the slot receiver job is up for grabs.

    Kerley, after a poor offseason and a hamstring injury that sidelined him for the start of camp, finds himself in Rex Ryan's doghouse for now, while the rest of the competition cashes in on extra reps at Kerley's expense.

    Just about every other player on the roster is fighting for even the smallest role in the offense. Schilens will have to make his mark as a red-zone specialist with his 6'5'' frame, and he will have to battle Patrick Turner for the fourth spot.

    Meanwhile, the likes of Scotty McKnight, Eron Riley, DaMarcus Ganaway and other players with less-than-spectacular physical attributes are all just vying for a spot on the practice squad at this point. 

Tight Ends

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    TEs on roster: Dustin Keller, Jeff Cumberland, Dedrick Epps, Hayden Smith, Tarren Lloyd 

    Projected starter: Dustin Keller 

    Offseason additions: Dedrick Epps, Hayden Smith, Tarren Lloyd 

    Roster cuts: Dedrick Epps, Hayden Smith, Tarren Lloyd 

    Projected final roster: Dustin Keller, Jeff Cumberland

     

    Playing in a contract year, Keller is a player to keep an eye on this season. Of course, the Jets are hoping he has a good season, but not to the extent in which he becomes too expensive for their blood.

    Jeff Cumberland began to show promise last year as a receiving tight end before suffering a season-ending injury against the Raiders

    Even if Cumberland can come back at 100 percent, the Jets still lack a blocking tight end. At their disposal is Hayden Smith, a converted Australian Rugby player, a 6'7'' monster in Tarren Lloyd and Miami product Dedrick Epps, who probably fits in more of the receiving tight end mold. 

    It is unlikely that the coaches will trust putting Smith in an NFL game right off the bat, so Tarren Lloyd may turn out to be the best option the Jets have as a blocking tight end. Lloyd has the frame—he just need to focus on adding upper-body strength to move around NFL linebackers. 

    Still, this is a position that is based almost purely on potential, which is hardly a settling word for Jets fans. 

Offensive Tackles

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    OTs on roster: D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Wayne Hunter, Jeff Otah, Stephon Heyer, Austin Howard, Paul Kornick 

    Projected starter: D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Wayne Hunter 

    Offseason additions: Jeff Otah, Stephon Heyer, Paul Kornick 

    Roster cuts: Stephon Heyer, Austin Howard, Paul Kornick 

    Projected final roster: D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Wayne Hunter, Jeff Otah

     

    While the struggles of Wayne Hunter are well-documented, D'Brickashaw Ferguson had a subpar season in his own right, despite making the Pro Bowl. He will have to have a bounce-back season if the Jets' line is going to get back on track. 

    Meanwhile, all of the attention over the past week has been about whether or not Jeff Otah, who was recently acquired in a trade with the Panthers, will pass his physical and remain on the team.

    Should Otah fail his physical on July 31, the trade will be void and the Jets are back with Wayne Hunter as the starting right tackle, which is sure to draw groans from Jets fans.  

    If he does pass his physical, Otah will immediately become the favorite to win the starting right tackle job over the incumbent Wayne Hunter, who was one of the league's worst linemen last year. A former first-round pick from 2008, only health has prevented Otah from reaching his full potential. 

    A dark-horse candidate to keep an eye on is Austin Howard, a former Philadelphia Eagle. Howard actually came into OTAs overweight, but was able to come into training camp in shape, which impressed Rex Ryan (via The New York Daily News).

    Austin will be in direct competition with veteran Stephon Heyer to be the backup tackle. 

Offensive Guards

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    OGs on roster: Brandon Moore, Matt Slauson, Vladimir Ducasse, Dennis Landolt, Caleb Schlauderaff, Fred Koloto, Robert Griffin  

    Projected starters: Brandon Moore, Matt Slauson 

    Offseason additions: Dennis Landolt, Fred Koloto, Robert Griffin 

    Roster cuts: N/A 

    Projected final roster: Brandon Moore, Matt Slauson, Vladimir Ducasse, Caleb Schlauderaff, Robert Griffin

     

    The Jets appear to want to see a rematch between Ducasse and Slauson in a battle for the starting left guard job. Slauson won round one back in 2010, but the Jets are giving Ducasse first-team reps in a last-ditch effort to finally get something out of the former second-round pick.

    At a glance, this move makes little sense; Slauson only progressed as a pass protector, all while dealing with nagging shoulder injuries all season long. However, Ducasse does have more physical ability than Slauson, and perhaps Big Vlad is finally getting a hang of the mental aspect of the game. 

    On the other side, it will be interesting to see if Brandon Moore can improve in the run game after an abysmal 2011 season in the category. While he was one of the best pass protectors in the league for not allowing a sack all season, he was rated one of the worst run-blockers in the league by Pro Football Focus (h/t Rotoworld). 

    If Moore can get back to being his superior self in this category, it will go a long way in terms of getting Shonn Greene's numbers where they should be. 

    Robert Griffin, a sixth-round pick out of Baylor, figures to get at least one free year to ride the bench because of his status as a drafted player. Schlauderaff, who the Jets traded for last summer, also has the edge over the likes of Landolt and Koloto because of what the Jets have invested in them.  

Centers

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    OCs on roster: Nick Mangold, Matt Kroul, Terrence Campbell 

    Projected starter: Nick Mangold 

    Offseason additions: Terrance Campbell 

    Roster cuts: N/A 

    Projected final roster: Nick Mangold

     

    When healthy, Mangold is easily the best center in the league by a rather significant margin. 

    However, in the rare case that Mangold has missed time due to injury, the Jets have looked totally unprepared for such a situation. 

    This glaring weakness of depth was highlighted against the Ravens, in which Sanchez had perhaps the worst game of his career to compliment a whopping 35 yards rushing all night while Mangold was on the bench. 

    The Jets have a lot of options in terms of developing a contingency plan in case Mangold goes down again, including cross training one of the backup guards, such a Caleb Schlauderaff (or perhaps Matt Slauson). 

    The onus will be on Matt Kroul to convince the team that it is worth keeping around an extra interior offensive lineman to be a backup center. The converted defensive lineman has managed to stick around for his fourth training camp, so the coaches obviously like his potential. 

Defensive Ends

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    DEs on roster: Quinton Coples, Muhammad Wilkerson, Marcus Dixon, Mike DeVito, Jay Richardson, Brett Roy, Matt Hardison 

    Projected starter: Quinton Coples, Muhammad Wilkerson 

    Offseason additions: Quinton Coples, Jay Richardson, Brett Roy, Matt Hardison 

    Roster cuts: N/A 

    Projected final roster: Quinton Coples, Muhammad Wilkerson, Marcus Dixon, Mike DeVito

     

    The Jets have clearly made a conscious effort to beef up the defensive end position over the past two seasons, spending two consecutive first-round picks on the position. 

    This summer, Muhammad Wilkerson has been among the most impressive players so far. Loaded with physical tools, it would not surprise many if he turns out to be among the best players at his position sooner than later. 

    Meanwhile, it will be very interesting to see what the Jets do with rookie Quinton Coples. With his experience at a variety of positions, from defensive tackle to outside linebacker, expect the Jets to move him all over the front seven to create mismatches.

    Still, the Jets can't just ignore the new-found depth they have at defensive end. They will have to find a way to get guys like Mike DeVito and Marcus Dixon on the field. DeVito is as good as it gets when it comes to defending the run, while Dixon is a valuable rotational player. 

    Unfortunately for guys like Richardson, Roy and Hardison, there is simply not enough room for them to land a spot on the 53-man roster. Not only is depth at defensive end making it hard on bottom-level guys to make the squad, but as players continue to emerge at defensive tackle, it only makes it that much more difficult to carry extra defensive linemen around. 

Defensive Tackles

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    DTs on roster: Sione Pouha, Kenrick Ellis, Martin Tevaseu, Damon Harrison 

    Projected starter: Sione Pouha 

    Offseason additions: Damon Harrison 

    Roster cuts: N/A 

    Projected final roster: Sione Pouha, Kenrick Ellis, Damon Harrison

     

    One of the big victories of the Jets' offseason was locking up Pouha for another three years. Since Kris Jenkins went down just a handful of snaps into the 2010 season, Sione has emerged as one of the best 3-4 nose tackles in the game. 

    In terms of depth, the Jets have last year's third-round pick Kenrick Ellis, who is trying to rebound from a somewhat disappointing rookie campaign. However, judging from the televised practice on ESPN, Ellis looked faster and more powerful at the point of attack.

    Martin Tevaseu, otherwise known as "MTV," played reasonably well in limited action last year, but was only activated from the practice squad in desperate situations. 

    Meanwhile, small-school prospect Damon Harrison has earned some praise from Rex Ryan. Harrison has all of the measurables to compete in the NFL, but the small-school label kept him from being drafted. 

    There is a chance that all four defensive tackles will make the final 53, but it will depend on how many extra spots the Jets have left over at the end of August. 

Outside Linebackers

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    OLBs on roster: Calvin Pace, Bryan Thomas, Aaron Maybin, Garrett McIntyre, Ricky Sapp 

    Projected starters: Calvin Pace, Bryan Thomas 

    Offseason additions: N/A 

    Roster cuts: N/A 

    Projected final roster: Calvin Pace, Bryan Thomas, Aaron Maybin, Garrett McIntyre, Ricky Sapp

     

    Despite being viewed by many to be an area of need, the Jets did not do much tinkering to this position in the offseason. 

    The Jets are clearly counting on Pace and Thomas to be their base linebackers to set the edge in the run game, while Aaron Maybin and Ricky Sapp get on the field in pass-rush situations. All the while, McIntyre provides valuable depth and special teams play. 

    To me, one of the more intriguing players to watch in camp is Ricky Sapp, a former fifth-round pick by the Eagles who has shined so far in training camp. Evidenced by the success of Aaron Maybin, the Jets have proven that they can turn former draft-day disappointments into contributors. 

    Also, be on the lookout for Quinton Coples sightings at this position. He got a little work at linebacker during OTAs, so don't expect Ryan to abandon the Coples-to-linebacker project for no reason. 

    Garrett McIntyre and perhaps Ricky Sapp are the only two players who have a realistic chance of not making the roster, but since McIntyre has starting experience and Sapp has impressed in camp, I expect all five players to return for 2012. 

Inside Linebackers

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    ILBs on roster: Bart Scott, David Harris, Demario Davis, Nick Bellore, Josh Mauga, Marcus Dowtin 

    Projected starters: Bart Scott, David Harris 

    Offseason additions: Demario Davis, Marcus Dowtin 

    Roster cuts: N/A 

    Projected final roster: Bart Scott, David Harris, Demario Davis, Josh Mauga 

     

    The biggest question mark surrounding this position is the future of Bart Scott, who, by his own admission, had a poor season last year. 

    Now slimmer and refreshed after a season in turmoil, Scott is carrying himself like a man five years younger than himself. The real test for Scott will be whether or not he will be able to hold up in coverage and keep third-round pick Demario Davis off the field and retain his role in sub-packages.

    Meanwhile, unfortunately for Davis and the rest of the Jets' pass defense, Davis is on the PUP list for a hamstring injury to start the season (via OurLads.com). This obviously comes as a huge disappointment, as Davis' athletic prowess, combined with his leadership qualities, would have been great to see with pads on. 

    Josh Mauga, who replaced Scott in many packages in 2011, figures to return, albeit in a lesser role with Davis in the picture. Bellore, on the other hand, while a smart and effective special teams player, is hardly irreplaceable.

    It will be interesting to see if the Jets elect to roll with Marcus Dowtin over Bellore. Dowtin had the potential to be drafted, but off-field concerns that caused him to transfer from Georgia to Northern Alabama caused him to slip through the cracks on draft day.

    With a strong camp, Dowtin has the potential to be a dark-horse candidate to make an immediate impact on special teams this season, and should at least retain a practice squad spot.  

Cornerbacks

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    CBs on roster: Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson, Ellis Lankster, Isiah Trufant, Julian Posey, D'Anton Lynn, Donnie Fletcher, Ryan Steed 

    Projected starter: Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson (slot) 

    Offseason additions: Julian Posey, D'Anton Lynn, Donnie Fletcher, Ryan Steed
     

    Roster cuts: Royce Adams 

    Projected final roster: Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson, Ellis Lankster, Ryan Steed

     

    Now that Revis is officially in camp, the Jets can focus on rounding out the bottom of this position. 

    While Kyle Wilson enjoyed a rebound sophomore season, he still gave up way too many completions and needs to continue to improve if he wants to be the long-term answer in the slot. 

    One of the players to watch this August will be Ellis Lankster, who appears to be a lock to at least be the fourth corner this year. He has been one of the brightest stars of camp so far, according to Jake Steinberg. 

    With the upper half of the corner echelon set in stone, the excitement lies with some of the lower-level players who can make an impact early on. Ryan Steed, a Furman product, could have been drafted as early as the fifth round, but concerns about the competition he was playing against caused him to drop on draft day. With great physical attributes, Steed could develop into something special down the line. 

    On the other hand there is Boston College's Donnie Fletcher, who is a fundamentally sound, yet unspectacular player who could please coaches with his approach. 

    D'Anton Lynn, on the other hand, is a terrible scheme fit with the Jets as a pure zone corner, but the fact that his father, Anthony Lynn, is the running backs coach could salvage him a spot on the practice squad. 

    The amount of corners the Jets wind up keeping will also depend on how many of their new safeties they decide to keep. 

Safeties

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    Safeties on roster: LaRon Landry, Yeremiah Bell, Eric Smith, Josh Bush, Antonio Allen, Tracy Wilson 

    Projected starters: LaRon Landry, Yeremiah Bell 

    Offseason additions: LaRon Landry, Yeremiah Bell, Josh Bush, Antonio Allen 

    Roster cuts: N/A 

    Projected final roster: LaRon Landry, Yeremiah Bell, Eric Smith, Josh Bush, Antonio Allen

     

    No position on the team has undergone more change in a few months than the safety position, and for good reason. The Jets' safeties were constantly picked on last year by ends and slot receivers. 

    The Jets are putting a lot of stock into the health of LaRon Landry, who, when healthy, is among the best in football at his position. If he can avoid the injury bug, he can turn out to be a steal for the Jets. 

    On the other hand, Yeremiah Bell is an ideal replacement for someone like Jim Leonhard as a smart, physical, veteran presence with underrated coverage skills. 

    Eric Smith will return in his role as a part-time player, which is a role were he is most effective. Playing as a full-time safety, Smith was constantly picked on by opposing offenses. 

    Still, the Jets lack the ideal coverage safety, which is why they drafted John Bush out of Wake Forest. In the seventh round, the Jets landed Antonio Allen, who could have gone as high as the fourth or fifth round. Allen is as much of a linebacker as he was a safety, but he has all of the physical attributes necessary to develop the coverage skills necessary to succeed in the NFL.

    The odd man out appears to be Tracy Wilson, who was mostly a core-special teams player in 2011. He has a chance to stick around, but the sheer volume of new bodies is going to make it difficult to out-duel his drafted counterparts. 

Kicking Specialists

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    Kicking Specialists on roster: Nick Folk, Josh Brown, TJ Conley, Travis Baltz, Tanner Purdum, Derek Chard 

    Projected starter: Nick Folk, TJ Conley 

    Offseason additions: Travis Baltz, Josh Brown, Derek Chard 

    Roster cuts: N/A 

    Projected final roster: Nick Folk, TJ Conley, Tanner Purdum

     

    Nick Folk started off great in 2011 but tailed off toward the end, prompting the Jets to bring in former Ram Josh Brown to compete with Folk. 

    If the competition is close, I would expect the Jets to keep Folk, but if Rex Ryan says that there is an open kicker competition, then there is an open kicker competition. 

    Meanwhile, Conley's job as the punter is also on the chopping block. Conley had his moments—both good and bad. If Baltz cannot compete with Conley, the Jets will continue to bring in competition until they feel comfortable about the position. 

    The Jets did not have many, if any, issues with the snap a year ago, as Purdum was about as flawless as you can ask for. His competition, Chard, is nothing more than a camp body. 

Return Specialists

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    Return Specialists on roster: Jeremy Kerley, Joe McKnight, Antonio Cromartie 

    Projected starters: Jeremy Kerley, Joe McKnight 

    Offseason additions: N/A 

    Roster cuts: N/A 

    Projected final roster: Jeremy Kerley, Joe McKnight, Antonio Cromartie

     

    No team turned the ball over more often than the Jets did on special teams last year, which is obviously something that needs to change, but not from personnel changes. 

    Jeremy Kerley is expected to return as the primary punt returner, but as mentioned earlier, he has found himself in Rex's doghouse for a poor showing at OTAs and minicamp. Don't be surprised if the Jets throw someone else in during a preseason game to light a fire under Kerley. 

    Meanwhile, most of the questions lie in the kick return game. McKnight, one of the most efficient returners last year, is expected to take on a much larger role in the offense this year, which could limit his effectiveness in the return game. 

    Expect the Jets to monitor his performance and adjust his returns-carry ratio accordingly as the season wears on. 

    It remains unclear whether or not Cromartie will return kicks in 2012. While he did have a tendency to put the ball on the ground, he does have incredible speed and athleticism and is always a threat to have a big return.

    Cromartie will not be the full-time return man, but I would not be surprised if Mike Westhoff threw him in from time to time to provide a spark.