New York Jets: 10 Players Whose Stock Is on the Rise in OTAs

Ryan Alfieri@Ryan_AlfieriCorrespondent IIIMay 28, 2012

New York Jets: 10 Players Whose Stock Is on the Rise in OTAs

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    While seasons are not necessarily won or lost during OTAs, they can be a useful tool to gauge how players will fit into a new scheme or how they interact with teammates. 

    In particular, coaches can get a look at their new rookies going up against veterans. For example, if Stephen Hill holds his own against Darrelle Revis, it has to get the coaching staff excited about his ability.

    Here are some of the players on the rise during the Jets' OTAs.

Shonn Greene

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    Greene has taken a bit of heat recently after a solid-but-unspectacular first season as the Jets' top back. While he's not supposed to be a quick-twitch back, he looked heavy-footed at times. 

    However, it seems as if Greene is trying to make himself quicker; according to Rich Cimini of ESPN New York, Greene appears to have dropped a couple of pounds. 

    Shonn will still be the team's primary back and will still be at his best running downhill, but he appears to have heard some of the criticism he has taken and is taking steps to become a more complete back. 

Bart Scott

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    In just a few short months, Bart Scott has come a long way. 

    At one point, Scott was so displeased with his playing time that he was granted permission to seek a trade. His age was starting to catch up with him as he struggled in coverage, making his bloated contract virtually untradeable. 

    Now, Scott is 12 pounds lighter and appears to be ready for a bounce-back season. Rex Ryan had plenty of praise for Scott in his press conference last Thursday:

    Two guys that I want to talk about first that I'm really excited about, [and] the guys you might not think about, but Bart Scott. I think Bart, he’s ready to be Bart Scott, the guy that we brought in here.

    The Jets defense could get a huge boost if Bart can be the player he was in 2008 and 2009. 

Muhammad Wilkerson

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    The Jets' 2011 first-round pick is following up his strong rookie season with an exceptional OTA session so far. Along with Bart Scott, Rex made a note to point out that Wilkerson was "jumping out at me."

    Along with the rest of the 2011 rookie class, Wilkerson's development may have been hampered by the lack of a full offseason last summer due to the extended lockout.

    Wilkerson already had plenty of raw talent to work with, but with a full offseason, he has the potential to make a massive leap in production in 2012. 

Stephen Hill

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    The Jets desperately need a vertical element in their passing game next season, and so far, Hill looks like he could be the answer. 

    So far, according to ESPN New York's Rich Cimini, he has been working with the first team and looking good in the process. He burned Kyle Wilson on a deep route and made the catch in stride from a great pass from Mark Sanchez

    The biggest issue for Hill will be to overcome his disadvantages in the cerebral aspect of the game. Coming from a triple option-style offense, Hill ran simple routes and was not involved in an intricate passing attack.

    The good news is that he's getting help from his former college teammate Demaryius Thomas, who had difficulty overcoming the same obstacles coming out of Georgia Tech. 

    The faster Thomas can learn the position, the faster he can help rescue the erratic Jets passing attack. 

Josh Brown

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    Although Nick Folk is the favorite to win the kicker job, the former Ram is going to make it as difficult as possible on Mike Tannenbaum to pick a kicker. 

    The former Ram hit five of six attempts at the end of last Thursday's practice, missing only from 45 yards. 

    Don't be surprised if there is a legit competition for the job in training camp. 

Mark Sanchez

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    While Tebow's struggles have been well-documented, Sanchez is having a nice start to the new season for himself.  

    Rex Ryan noticed that he has gotten stronger, and it has shown on a lot of his throws: 

    "This kid is in great shape, as are most of the guys, but I just think he's stronger," coach Rex Ryan said. "That arm, it looks stronger to me. He's really zipping it and also throwing with touch."

    Sanchez has also done well in terms of handling the Tebow drama and keeping himself relaxed and confident. While there may be no real controversy, Sanchez needs to show that he is the superior quarterback to Tebow to get his teammates to have confidence in him. 

Quinton Coples

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    Coples has not had a particularly great week OTAs, but it's always a good sign when your first round pick is playing with the first team right away. 

    Rex is not always willing to throw first-round picks into the fray; in 2010, he benched Kyle Wilson in favor of Drew Coleman after Wilson had a poor start to the season. 

    Coples is viewed as a bit of a raw prospect, so the fact that he's already being trusted to start in Rex's defense is a good sign. 

Bilal Powell

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    After being virtually ineffective in his only action against the Broncos last season, Jets fans were just about ready to move on from Powell. 

    However, according to Rich Cimini, Powell looked improved on the first day of OTAs. 

    Powell will have to pick up his game if he is to keep Terrance Ganaway from taking his job.  

The Defense

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    While the offensive side of the ball learns a brand new offense, Rex Ryan is now playing a larger role in the defense. As a result, the defense is involving a bevy of new packages that are exotic to even the Jets' offensive players, who practice against Rex's "D" every day. 

    Rich Cimini of ESPN New York elaborates in an interview with Brandon Moore:

    Brandon Moore noted how the defense showed a few wrinkles, including a "Bear" front and third-down pressures, forcing the offense to react quickly. Sometimes they did, sometimes they didn't. On a couple of plays, Tebow was scrambling around the backfield, looking to escape an unblocked rusher.

    With Ryan taking on a larger role in the defense, expect the Jets to be much more aggressive and look more like the blitz-happy 2009 unit than the more conservative 2011 version. 

Yeremiah Bell

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    Yeremiah Bell may be well into his 30s, but things are looking up for him in his brief Jet career. 

    He was one of two players to intercept Tim Tebow (which is not a terribly remarkable accomplishment), but the fact that he's already making plays in a brand new system is encouraging.

    During the OTA session, Bell worked next to the incumbent Eric Smith with the starters. Ideally, the Jets would like Bell and Landry to start in the season opener, but Landry has not yet been to OTAs, presumably because he's still nursing his injury.