New York Jets: 5 Players Firmly on the Roster Bubble
Making an NFL 53-man roster is one of the most rewarding experiences for an aspiring football player, but it is also the most challenging.
Thousands upon thousands of former college football stars over the years have attempted to reach the professional level and failed.
Even though the New York Jets lack the talent of a traditional playoff contender, it will be incredibly difficult for many of the team's undrafted rookies and unproven youngsters to make the final cut.
Here are five players firmly on the roster bubble heading into training camp.
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Lex Hilliard is an unusual player to be on a list of roster-bubble players.
The 28-year-old has been a serviceable fullback since his rookie season, but he struggled mightily last season when protecting the passer.
With the addition of rookie fullback Tommy Bohanon and running backs Chris Ivory and Mike Goodson, there isn't much room left in the backfield for Hilliard.
Whether or not Hilliard makes the final roster is dependent on his ability to create rushing lanes and protect the passer on a consistent basis.
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For someone who has recorded just one catch in his career, Hayden Smith receives plenty of buzz from both the media and fans.
Smith, an Australian-born former rugby player, has the tools to be a solid blocker and downfield receiving threat.
Smith possesses an excellent combination of size (6'6'', 255 pounds) and speed (4.75 40-time, and he could form a dynamic trio of pass-catching tight ends with the newly acquired Kellen Winslow and Jeff Cumberland.
However, Smith has to improve his game immensely during training camp to even receive a roster spot.
Blocking specialist Konrad Reuland, Cumberland and Winslow are all locks to make the final roster, and New York may be inclined to only carry three tight ends.
Mike Edwards is arguably the most talented player out of Gang Green's 2013 undrafted free-agent signings.
Edwards possesses top-notch ball skills and stellar speed (4.50 40-time), and he could also be a factor in Wildcat sets and the return game.
However, Edwards is competing for a spot in New York's most talented positional unit, cornerback.
With Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson, Dee Milliner, Ellis Lankster and Isaiah Trufant seemingly locks to make the final cut, there simply may not be enough room for the talented Edwards to have a spot on the 53-man roster.
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Zach Rogers may have the best chance to make the Jets' final roster of all the undrafted rookie signings.
Not only does Rogers play at arguably the Jets' weakest position (wide receiver), he is also coming off a productive collegiate career and has all the tools to be a legitimate NFL receiving threat.
With great hands, speed (4.47 40-time) and route-running ability, along with decent size (6'0'', 182 pounds), Rogers could be a factor in his rookie season if he can sneak past the final roster cut.
With an impressive training camp, that shouldn't be a problem for him.
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Damon Harrison is a name many NFL fans, or even Jets fans for that matter, have never heard of.
Harrison was signed by the Jets as an undrafted rookie in April of 2012 after a solid career at William Penn.
Unlike most undrafted free agents, though, Harrison has managed to stick around.
The 24-year-old has all the tools to be an elite nose tackle. He possesses massive size (6'3'', 350 pounds) and surprising agility.
However, just like Mike Edwards, Harrison is attempting to break the final roster at one of New York's deepest positions.
With Kenrick Ellis, Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and Antonio Garay locks to make the final cut on the defensive line, Harrison needs an impressive training camp in order to play meaningful football in September.