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Predicting the Winners of the New York Jets' Biggest Postional Battles

Aidan MackieSenior Analyst IJuly 25, 2013

Predicting the Winners of the New York Jets' Biggest Postional Battles

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    Bart Scott, Bryan Thomas, Sione Pouha, Mike Devito, Dustin Keller, Shonn Greene, Brandon Moore, Matt Slauson, LaRon Landry, Yeremiah Bell and Darrelle Revis. 

    Those players made up half of the New York Jets' starters in 2012, but none of them are back for this upcoming season. 

    The Jets will experience a massive turnover in 2013, and many of the team's positional units will be revamped. 

    Many unproven youngsters and veterans will compete for starting jobs in training camp.

    Here is the predicted winner of each of Gang Green's biggest positional battles.  

Quarterback

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    Candidates: Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith 

    The quarterback battle is all anyone is talking about in relation to the Jets. 

    Mark Sanchez, the team's starting quarterback the last four years, has seemingly regressed the last couple seasons. Sanchez shows little to no ability to hang onto the football, and his accuracy is subpar. 

    Smith has high expectations from those around him entering his rookie season. Smith has excellent accuracy and great mobility, but he can often seem stifled when facing pressure. 

    The job is a toss-up right now, but Sanchez should emerge as the frontrunner. The former USC star could show signs of life in Marty Mornhinweg's offensive scheme, especially if he can avoid crucial turnovers. 

    Smith is the quarterback of the future for Gang Green, but the team doesn't want to make the same mistake it did with Sanchez and push Smith into the starting role too early.

    Expect Sanchez to start Week 1, but he will be on thin ice.  

    Predicted Winner: Mark Sanchez

Right Guard

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    Candidates: Stephen Peterman and Brian Winters 

    Right guard will be one of the team's most important positions in 2013, and it is important that the starter can be consistent in both run-blocking and pass-protecting. 

    Peterman started 47 games for the Detroit Lions the last three years, but he struggled mightily with pass-protecting last season. 

    Winters, on the other hand, is entering his first season in the NFL. Winters is a big and athletic individual, and if he can show the ability to get push against opposing linemen, he should win the starting role. 

    Predicted Winner: Brian Winters 

Nose Tackle

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    Candidates: Kenrick Ellis and Antonio Garay 

    Nose tackle is another position where experience will compete against potential. 

    Garay has shown in the past that he can be an effective interior pass-rusher, but injuries and inconsistencies have derailed the 33-year-old's career.

    Ellis, a former third-round pick, possesses serious upside. Legal troubles and health concerns have limited his impact so far, but 2013 seems like the year Ellis will finally break out.

    Ellis boasts an excellent combination of size and athleticism, and he can make an impact in both run-stuffing and pass-rushing.

    Garay is the current favorite for the job because of his experience, but I expect Ellis to have a fantastic training camp and preseason and run away with the starting job.

    Predicted Winner: Kenrick Ellis  

     

Free Safety

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    Candidates: Josh Bush and Antonio Allen

    Two talented youngsters in Josh Bush and Antonio Allen will compete for the starting free safety job in 2013. 

    While the two share plenty of similarities (they are both 24, they were both drafted in the late rounds of the 2012 draft, and they both attended big-time football schools), they are different kinds of players. 

    Bush is better in coverage than Allen, and he has the ability to be a dangerous ball hawk if given playing time. However, Bush is a subpar open-field tackler, and his speed and strength are just average. 

    Allen, on the other hand, has excellent size and strength. His tackling ability is superb, and he plays his best when placed in the box. However, the South Carolina product struggles mightily in man coverage. 

    Expect Bush and Allen to have a fiery battle throughout training camp, with neither player emerging as a clear frontrunner. I expect Bush to claim the job because of his coverage ability, but Allen will still receive a fair share of playing time. 

    Predicted Winner: Josh Bush

Nickel Cornerback

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    Candidates: Kyle Wilson, Aaron Berry, Isaiah Trufant, and Ellis Lankster 

    Even with the loss of All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis, the Jets are loaded at cornerback. 

    If the two can remain healthy, Antonio Cromartie and rookie Dee Milliner will man the two starting cornerback positions. 

    The starting nickel corner, though, is yet to be decided upon. 

    Former first-round pick Kyle Wilson has to be considered the favorite for the job. Wilson will never live up to his first-round status, but he improved significantly in coverage last season. 

    Isaiah Trufant and Ellis Lankster have been decent in the role, but they can sometimes appear lost, and Aaron Berry needs an impressive training camp to be considered for the role. 

    Wilson should claim the job unless injuries or inconsistencies strike. 

    Predicted Winner: Kyle Wilson

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