Breaking Down the New York Jets' Rookie Class After the Preseason

Aidan MackieSenior Analyst ISeptember 7, 2012

Breaking Down the New York Jets' Rookie Class After the Preseason

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    After a long (and sometimes very painful) preseason, the New York Jets are just a couple days away from their regular-season opener against the Buffalo Bills

    New York enters 2012 with a lot of new faces, but only five of them are rookies. 

    Gang Green cut almost half of their draft picks last week, but they managed to sign three to their practice squad after they cleared waivers. 

    However, sixth-rounders Terrance Ganaway and Robert T. Griffin are gone for good. Ganaway was claimed by the Rams, and Griffin is yet to draw interest from an NFL team. 

    Here is a breakdown of the five rookie members of Gang Green in 2012, and a quick look at the seven rookies also on the practice squad. 

Quinton Coples

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    Quinton Coples had some stellar moments throughout the preseason, as he recorded a sack in all four games. 

    Gang Green's first-round pick ended the preseason with a terrific 4.5 sacks

    For a player whose effort has been consistently questioned, Coples certainly seemed to give it all when he was on the field. 

    However, Coples has bought himself a one-way ticket into Rex Ryan's doghouse in training camp.

    Ryan was unimpressed with the former North Carolina star's attitude when playing with the second-team defense in Carolina. 

    The attitude problems are a concern, but Coples has shown that he can be the star pass-rusher the Jets have long desired. 

    Expect the defensive end to have an extremely strong rookie season and be a staple in the Jets' front seven. 

    Grade: A-

Stephen Hill

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    Stephen Hill has had a roller-coaster first preseason. 

    The second-round pick has shown glimpses of greatness during practice, as he managed to beat Darrelle Revis for big yardage on numerous occasions. 

    However, in actual game action, Hill has struggled. The rookie wideout has been pestered by drops.

    Against the Panthers, Hill let a solid Mark Sanchez pass slip through his hands into a defensive back for an interception.

    Despite his struggles, Hill is projected to start against the Bills in Week 1.

    With such a weak receiving corps, the Jets are relying on Hill to improve his game and emerge as a big-play threat. 

    The Georgia Tech product has the talent to step up, but he has a lot of flaws to fix first. 

    Grade: C

Demario Davis

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    Third-round selection Demario Davis has received a heavy amount of praise from the Jets' coaching staff this preseason. 

    Rex Ryan likened Davis' leadership to NFL legend Ray Lewis and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine praised his work ethic.

    Even star players such as Darrelle Revis and Bart Scott have been impressed by Davis.

    Although the Arkansas State product hasn't been very productive in preseason games, he has the potential to be an every-down player for the Jets for years to come.

    Although his ceiling for this year is limited because of his weaknesses, Davis could still make a decent impact this season.

    Grade: B  

Josh Bush

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    Josh Bush quietly had a very productive preseason, but the Jets' coaching staff obviously noticed.

    Bush was the only late-round pick to make the roster.

    The 5'11'' rookie has impressed coaches and players, and his attitude and motor has been revered.

    Bush's impact will be limited this year, as he is stuck in the backend of a very talented secondary. However, he could make a difference down the line if injuries strike.

    Grade: B- 

Damon Harrison

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    Perhaps the most surprising addition to the Jets' final roster was undrafted rookie Damon Harrison. 

    Harrison is a monster of a man, but he received little buzz among the coaching staff and players in training camp.

    He also plays at one of the Jets' most talented positional units: defensive line. 

    While Harrison does not possess elite potential, he has a terrific story, and he always gives 100 percent.

    Don't expect the former William Penn star to make an impact this season, though. In fact, he may be cut if New York chooses to pursue another free agent.

    Grade: C-  

Practice Squad

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    Antonio Allen, SS

    Allen had a solid preseason, and I was surprised his didn't make the final roster. The South Carolina product is a solid tackler and is decent in pass coverage. If injuries persist in New York's secondary, he could make a small impact this season. 

    Grade: B-

    Paul Cornick, T

    The undrafted offensive lineman out of North Dakota State had a decent preseason, and managed to make the practice squad. His inclusion was mainly based on New York's lack of talent and depth at tackle, and I'd be thoroughly surprised if he managed to make an impact during the regular season. 

    Grade: B

    Marcus Dowtin, LB

    Dowtin was a solid pickup for the Jets. I was surprised to see him go undrafted, given his superb athleticism and balanced game. The North Alabama product was one of the final members of the team to get cut, and he has a good chance of making an impact this season if one of New York's linebackers suffers a serious injury.

    Grade: B+ 

    Donnie Fletcher, DB

    Fletcher is another player who probably deserved to be drafted. The Boston College defensive back has above-average speed, and he is a tremendous tackler. However, the Jets are stacked at defensive back. An impact from him this season is extremely unlikely. 

    Grade: C+

    Royce Pollard, WR

    Pollard is another undrafted rookie who New York assigned to the practice squad. The former Hawaii product doesn't boast great speed or above-average size, so it will be difficult for him to make an impact at the NFL level. 

    Grade: C

    Hayden Smith, TE

    Smith arguably has the most potential of any player on the practice squad. The rugby player-turned-tight end has unbelievable athleticism and size, but he was too raw to make the roster.

    However, with a little grooming, he could emerge as an excellent run-blocker late in the season and beyond. 

    Grade: B+

    Jordan White, WR

    White was one of the Jets' seventh-round selections this summer, but he suffered a broken foot early in the offseason. This prevented White from showing off his skill set for the majority of training camp, and it eventually led to his demotion to the practice squad.

    However, White was incredibly productive in college and he has decent potential. He could make an impact if injuries persist in the Jets' receiving corps.

    Grade: A-