This is the first of three articles that will break down my predictions for the Jets' 53-man roster. First up will be the special teams and practice squad followed by the defense on Monday and the offense on Tuesday.
Special Teams—Jay Feely (PK), T.J. Conley or Eric Wilbur (P), and James Dearth (LS)
Jay Feely was hanging out on the free agent market when the Jets gave him a call after starting kicker Mike Nugent was hurt in the team's first game. He signed on with the Jets on Sept. 8, 2008.
Feely did a great job in place of Nugent, going 24 for 28 in field goals and 39 for 39 in PATs. He did so well that the front office and coaching staff decided to bring him back instead of Nugent this year, and he re-signed with the team on a one-year deal.
It was also Feely's game-winning 34-yard field goal in overtime against the Patriots that put the Jets in sole possession of first place in the AFC East for the first time since Nov. 19, 2001.
Over the past four seasons, Feely has been very accurate with a field goal percentage of 83.3 or higher.
T.J. Conley and Eric Wilbur will compete this summer for the starting job as the Jets' punter. The best bet would be that the loser ends up on the practice squad.
Conley went undrafted this past April despite entering the NFL Draft after spending four seasons with the Idaho Vandals in College. After leading the NCAA in punting this past season, he was named to the prestigious Walter Camp All-American Team as a First Team selection.
Wilbur was signed by the Houston Texans in 2007 after going undrafted, but didn't make it past Aug. 8, when he was released. The Jaguars quickly scooped him up only to hold onto him for a mere twelve hours before he was released again.
The Jets signed him on Apr. 15 to compete for the starting job.
He is what he is...a long snapper...and one of the best in the league.
What else do you want me to say?
QB—Chris Pizzotti—Another camp arm for the Jets. From the sound of it, he's giving Erik Ainge a run for his money.
Could be the Jets' future third quarterback.
RB—Danny Woodhead—The NCAA's All-Time leading rusher ran for 7,962 yards in his NCAA career and 9,749 all-purpose yards, good for second all-time. At 5'7" and 195lbs., he faces an uphill battle to make it in the NFL.
FB—Brannan Southerland—Could be the Jets' future fullback after Tony Richardson leaves/retires.
OT—Ryan McKee—A projected late-round pick, was twice named second Team All-Conference USA by the coaches.
Could be a projected offensive tackle.
WR—Marcus Henry—The Jets sixth round pick of the 2008 NFL Draft has the height to give the Jets a nice big target in the redzone, but at this point, the Jets need more than that. Perhaps an injury could move Henry to the active roster.
P—T.J. Conley/Eric Wilbur—One of these two will win the battle; the loser will be on the practice squad ready to take the other's job away if one has any hiccups.
DE/LB—Jamaal Westerman—The local product of Rutgers could make it in the NFL in the right system as a situational pass rusher.
DE—Brian Schaefering—Another defensive end that the Jets can have available to them considering the age of their defensive line starters.
Next up: Defense—Monday and Offense—Tuesday