New York Jets Sleepers to Watch in Training Camp

Ryan Alfieri@Ryan_AlfieriCorrespondent IIIAugust 6, 2012

FLORHAM PARK, NJ - MAY 04:  Jordan White #17 of the New York Jets works out during the Jets Rookie Minicamp on May 4, 2012 in Florham Park, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Every year, there are a handful of players that rise from the bottom of the depth chart to make a big, unexpected impact on the season (see: Cruz, Victor). 

The Jets still have a bunch of holes headed into training camp, and with injuries depleting some key offensive positions, some of the younger guys will have a chance to shine. 

Here are players that can make a big impact on the Jets' season in 2012:

Bilal Powell

Few players have been more impressive than Powell in camp. Within just one week of camp, Powell has been getting reps with the first team, which is certainly an indicator that the Jets have plans to get him on the field this year. 

While Shonn Greene is still clearly the starter as the bell-cow, volume back, Powell does bring an element into the passing game that Greene clearly lacks. When Greene is in the game, the defense is able to play the inside run all the way. With a player like Powell in the game, opponents have to be ready for just about anything. 

Rex Ryan believes that health and conditioning was a big part of Powell's sudden burst up the depth chart:

He had a lot of injuries, little thing here, little thing there, that set him back. We never really got to see his capabilities. Now he's healthy. He's in great shape. He came in camp in great shape. 

Unfortunately for members of the Joe McKnight Fan Club, Bilal Powell may have made a huge jump in the depth chart to earn the No. 2 running back job. 

Ellis Lankster

While Kyle Wilson definitely made strides as the Jets' slot corner in his second year, he still gave up far too many completions and was clearly targeted by opposing offenses. 

Meanhile, Lankster is a player that is quickly rising in the eyes of coaches. SNY's Jake Steinberg has been particularly impressed with what he has seen from Ellis:

@jrpost7 He's been the third CB. In my opinion, he's looked ok. Not horrific, not outstanding. I do this Lankster has outplayed him. #nyj

— Jake Steinberg (@Steiny31) August 1, 2012

Wilson still has the upper hand on Lankster because of his draft position, but if Lankster continues to outplay him, it will be tough for Mike Pettine to keep him off the field. 

Ryan Steed

Steed was projected to be drafted somewhere around the fifth round, but the Furman product slipped through the cracks and his name was never called on draft weekend. 

While there are always concerns about a player coming from a program as small as Furman's, Steed was impressive at the Senior Bowl, showing that the jump in competition would not hold him back. 

Steed boasts terrific physical traits, including great speed and change of direction, which he can attribute from his days as a basketball player. He also possesses great ball skills. 

Between players like Cortland Finnegan, Brent Grimes, LaDarius Webb and Brandon Carr, there are tons of examples of overlooked corners that have made the transition to the pro game with relative ease. Perhaps Steed can do the same.  

The Jets are always looking for young, upcoming corners to round out their roster; don't be surprised if Steed not only earns a spot on the team, but earns a small role in certain defensive packages. 

Chaz Schilens

Unfortunately for Chaz, he has been more famous for his remarks about Antonio Cromartie's statements than his actual play, but it should be noted that he is currently listed as the starting wide receiver opposite Santonio Holmes. 

This is contrary to what Rex Ryan said earlier in the offseason when he predicted that Stephen Hill  would start right off the bat.

With a 6'4" frame to compliment his good speed, Schilens has all of the physical tools to develop into a quality NFL starter. He will also be working with receivers coach Sanjay Lal, who coached Schilens during his days in Oakland

Jordan White

With Jeremy Kerley firmly in Rex Ryan's doghouse after a poor showing at OTAs and minicamp, the slot receiver position is allegedly up for grabs. Jordan White's name was mentioned among the players who could win the job, as Sanjay Lal told Manish Mehta of the Daily News:

Whoever rises, takes it… I think (Kerley) can compete with Santonio (Holmes) for the inside position. We’re going to put the best three on the field, whoever that may be. … If Jordan White comes back strong, he could be an inside player…. The guy has some instincts.

White is still recovering from a broken foot he suffered in OTAs, which may hinder him a bit. But the former seventh-round pick is in the mix of things, which is a feat in itself with so many other bodies in competition. 

Patrick Turner

Between all of the newly-drafted receivers and free agents the Jets brought in at receiver, Turner is a player that everyone and their mothers is starting to overlook. 

Since becoming a Jet, Turner has steadily progressed every year, and Rex Ryan loves his competitive nature. 

Brian Costello of the New York Post says that the Jets could move either Turner or Chaz Schilens to the outside position if Santonio Holmes moves into the slot in place of Jeremy Kerley. Another possible scenario for Turner to get on the field is if Stephen Hill cannot secure the starting job. 

Either way, the fact that Turner is being talked about as a starter is a far cry from when he was fighting with bubble players for the rights to the fifth receiver position. 

Austin Howard

Now that the trade for Jeff Otah is officially a thing of the past, the Jets are now faced with either using veteran Wayne Hunter, who was nothing short of abysmal last year, or Austin Howard, who has made an impression on Rex Ryan for dropping 30 pounds to show up to camp in shape

The Jets will still look at other options, but the fact that Howard is already getting reps with the first team shows that the coaches think he may have a shot to become a starter. 


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