Setting Realistic Training Camp Expectations for Each New York Jets Rookie
The NFL offseason has reached a lull after months of nonstop action, but the lull will only be for a short period, as training camps are due to start in the coming weeks.
The New York Jets kick off training camp on July 23 in the team's usual location, SUNY Cortland.
Training camp is the first time we get to see rookies really tested in an NFL environment. Some will perform admirably, some will struggle, and the majority will have both ups and downs.
The Jets have one of the largest rookie classes in the NFL, as they selected 12 players in the draft and picked up several more undrafted free agents.
So what should fans expect from each of these rookies in training camp and beyond? Click through to find out.
A lot is expected of Calvin Pryor in his rookie season and beyond.
The Jets selected Pryor in the first round of the draft ahead of any of the talented receivers and cornerbacks on the board.
New York sees Pryor as a tough playmaker who can lead the back end of the defense from Day 1. So far, he's lived up to their expectations, as the Louisville product put together a tremendous minicamp.
The 22-year-old has proved that he's capable of playing with the big boys, and it'll be interesting to see if he can keep it up on a consistent basis in training camp.
Pryor's already been playing with the first-team defense, so there's no doubt in my mind that he will be starting in the defensive backfield when Week 1 rolls around.
The goal for Pryor should be emerging as more than just a presence in the secondary, but as a young leader and playmaker.
Training Camp Expectation: Pryor emerges as one of the leaders of the secondary
Jace Amaro is responsible for one of the most productive seasons for a tight end in college football history, as he put up an astonishing 106 receptions and 1,352 yards for Texas Tech last year.
However, Amaro has had his struggles adjusting to the NFL style of play so far this offseason.
Amaro's struggles aren't at all surprising. In college, he played in a simple, pass-oriented system that probably inflated his statistics. Now, he must learn a complicated West Coast offensive scheme that will require him to line up from various spots and contribute as a blocker.
The 22-year-old needs to use training camp to master New York's offensive playbook. Anything more than that will be a pleasant surprise.
I'd be shocked if Amaro was the Week 1 starter at tight end instead of Jeff Cumberland, as Amaro's learning curve is still far from over.
Training Camp Expectation: Learn New York's West Coast scheme and be ready to contribute later on in the season.
Cornerback was deemed one of New York's biggest needs before the draft, but the team waited until the third round to take one.
Dexter McDougle was their choice. McDougle lacks ideal size and strength, but his speed, tackling ability and agility are all top-notch.
The Maryland product was initially sidelined with an injury, but he came back and really impressed New York's coaching staff in minicamp.
ESPN's Rich Cimini says Jets personnel were "giddy" with McDougle's effort so far this offseason.
However, despite the 23-year-old's success, he's unlikely to find himself in the starting gig at cornerback in Week 1.
McDougle's lack of size and experience, paired with the presence of the likes of Dimitri Patterson and Darrin Walls, likely means the rookie will be confined to the slot role.
Training Camp Expectation: Win the Slot Cornerback Role
Jalen Saunders and Shaq Evans
The Jets finally addressed the wide receiver position in the draft with the selections of Jalen Saunders and Shaq Evans in the fourth round.
Despite their similarity in draft stock, Saunders and Evans are two completely different receivers.
Saunders is a small and shifty wideout who thrives in the slot. He possesses great hands and elusiveness, and he has the ability to be a phenomenal returner at the NFL-level.
Evans, on the other hand, is a big, reliable target who is better on the outside as a possession receiver. He lacks top-notch speed, and he won't make many huge gains, but he will consistently move the chains.
Evans is the more likely of the receivers to make an immediate impact on offense, as the Jets lack big targets who can play on the outside.
Saunders, however, could emerge as New York's top returner if he impresses in training camp.
Training Camp Expectations for Saunders: Become the Jets' key return man
Training Camp Expectations for Evans: Move up the depth chart and make an impact early on in the season
Dakota Dozier and Jeremiah George
Dakota Dozier and Jeremiah George will both likely find themselves on the back end of the depth chart when the season rolls around, but both have the potential to emerge as contributors later on in the season.
Dozier was a tackle in college but is likely a guard in the NFL. He boasts terrific size and strength, and he has the ability to move defenders off the ball.
If the Furman product can improve his blocking mechanics and footwork, he could easily emerge as one of the Jets' top guards, as Brian Winters has struggled in the starting role, and Willie Colon is recovering from not one, but two injuries.
Unlike Dozier, George plays at a position where the Jets have a surplus of talent. The Iowa State product is extremely undersized for a linebacker, but he's a hard working, strong player who can become an immediate contributor on special teams.
Training Camp Expectations for Dozier: Rise up depth chart at guard
Training Camp Expectations for George: Become a leader on special teams unit
Brandon Dixon and Quincy Enunwa
Brandon Dixon and Quincy Enunwa need to impress in training camp to make the 53-man roster for the 2014 season.
Dixon is a very interesting prospect, as he was a Division II standout who led his team to a National Championship. He lacks height and speed, and his tackling needs improvement, but Dixon is a tough and durable player who is always around the ball.
Dixon needs to separate himself from the pack at cornerback, and his ability to make an impact on special teams may do just that.
Enunwa is a big receiver with decent hands and great intangibles. However, his speed is subpar, and he struggles to separate from defensive backs at times.
The Nebraska product will have to compete with several other youngsters in the receiving corps to earn a place on the roster, but his lack of explosiveness may cost him a job.
Training Camp Expectations for Dixon: Make an impact on special teams
Training Camp Expectations for Enunwa: Make the 53-man roster
Ik Enemkpali, Tajh Boyd, and Trevor Reilly
Ik Enemkpali, Tajh Boyd, and Trevor Reilly were New York's last three selections in the 2014 draft.
Enemkpali was a defensive end in college, but his lack of size likely means he will be a linebacker at the pro level. The Louisiana Tech product is a hard-working, tough player who hits hard and makes big plays.
However, for Enemkpali to separate himself from the pack at linebacker, he needs to develop some pass-rushing moves and mechanics.
Boyd's selection got all the headlines, and rightly so, as the Clemson product had tremendous success in college and has nice physical traits.
Yes, Boyd is undersized and his accuracy needs improving, but he boasts terrific throwing mechanics, athleticism and arm power.
If Boyd can impress the coaching staff in training camp, he could move past Matt Simms on the depth chart and emerge as New York's future backup.
Reilly possesses a lot of strong physical traits, and he can make an impact against both the pass and run. However, the Utah product is already 26, so there isn't much room for development.
He needs to really impress in training camp to make the final roster at a premium position such as linebacker.
Training Camp Expectations for Enemkpali: Make the final 53-man roster
Training Camp Expectations for Boyd: Emerge as the team's No. 3 QB
Training Camp Expectations for Reilly: Make the final 53-man roster
Undrafted Free Agents
Andrew Furney: Furney has an absolute cannon of a leg, but the Washington State product often struggles with accuracy and kickoffs. And with Nick Folk signing a long-term deal this offseason, there isn't much hope for Furney making the roster.
Steele Divitto: Divitto is an intelligent and strong linebacker, but his lack of athleticism and fluidity decrease the chances that he'll make much of an impact in the NFL.
Anthony Grady: Grady has a good body type for a defensive end, but he struggles to separate himself from blockers, and his speed and strength are both mediocre at best. Don't expect him to make the team.
Zach Thompson: Thompson's another defensive end who was overlooked by teams in the draft because of his lack of physical traits. The Wake Forest product needs to have an amazing training camp to find a place on the roster or the practice squad.
Chad Young: Chad Young is a tough and physical fullback, but the Jets already have one in Tommy Bohanon. That pretty much guarantees that Young won't be on the team come September.
Kerry Hyder: Hyder's an undersized defensive tackle who lacks explosiveness, but his run-stopping ability and work ethic could make him a sleeper to make the roster. It helps that the Jets lack depth on the defensive line.
Brent Qvale: Qvale has a good body type, but he lacks the blocking mechanics and quickness to make much of an impact at offensive tackle at the NFL level.
Training Camp Expectations for All Undrafted Free Agents: Make the practice squad