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New York Jets news, commentary and insider info from beat writer Kimberley A. Martin.

Predicting the Jets' 53-man roster

Jets head coach Rex Ryan, left, speaks with

Jets head coach Rex Ryan, left, speaks with general manager John Idzik during Day 2 of team minicamp at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (June 12, 2013) (Credit: James Escher)

The Jets have yet to name a starting quarterback for the season – but let’s move on from that for a moment, shall we?

With Thursday night’s game less than 12 hours away, I thought I’d take stab at projecting their final 53-man roster. 

OFFENSE
QUARTERBACKS
Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith, Matt Simms. [3]
The Simms bandwagon has been picking up passengers since training camp began. And while, I don’t think Phil’s son is NFL-ready, I think he’s got considerable upside based on his arm strength. Meanwhile, McElroy’s been hurt of late (knee and ankle injuries) and has only played in one preseason game (11-for-19 for 145 yards and a touchdown). As for the Geno Smith-Mark Sanchez debate, I don’t think it’s even close right now. Smith, who was slowed by a recent ankle injury, understandably isn’t ready just yet. At some point this season, Smith will be the starter. And it’s far easier to go from Sanchez-to-Smith than vice versa.

WIDE RECEIVERS
Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley, Clyde Gates, Ryan Spadola, Ben Obomanu. [6]
I’m going out on a limb here by assuming the Jets will keep SIX wide receivers. The first four guys listed above are locks, while Spadola is sure to make it based on his pass-catching ability and his involvement on special teams. Obomanu has veteran experience in the West Coast Offense and shares Seahawks ties with John Idzik. (Note: There’s always a chance the Jets decide to bring back Braylon Edwards, though. By releasing him and re-signing him after Week 1, they avoid giving him a fully-guaranteed salary.)

RUNNING BACKS
Chris Ivory, Bilal Powell, Tommy Bohanon, Kahlil Bell*
 [4]
Ivory is the key to their entire running game. The Jets already know the type of talent Powell has as a runner/blocker, but the coaching staff needs to know Ivory can be the bruising back they envisioned. Goodson won’t be a factor until Week 5, but the Jets are enamored with his speed. As for Tommy Bahama, he won the job even before veteran Lex Hilliard went down. (Note: Bell has impressed this preseason, plus he'll benefit from Goodson's early absence. He'll hang around, but the running backs room will be crowded once Goodson returns for good.)

TIGHT ENDS
Jeff Cumberland, Kellen Winslow, Konrad Reuland.
[3]
Cumberland gets to prove he’s the “complete tight end” Rex Ryan says he is. It’ll be interesting to see if Winslow can stay healthy. And Reuland – “the garbage man,” according to Ryan – is a shoo-in to make the team because of his versatility. (Note: Some Jets fans were bummed to see Aussie Hayden Smith released, but he could very well end up on the practice squad.)

OFFENSIVE LINE
D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Nick Mangold, Willie Colon, Austin Howard, Vladimir Ducasse, Brian Winters, Jason Smith, Caleb Schlauderaff.
[8]
Oday Aboushi can play either side of the line, but the addition of Smith puts direct pressure on the fifth-round pick. I thought Schlauderaff would be a goner once Stephen Peterman began taking snaps at center, but the Jets chose to cut the veteran instead. (Note: Draft-pick Will Campbell could wind up on the practice squad.)

DEFENSIVE LINE
Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, Kenrick Ellis, Antonio Garay, Damon Harrison, Leger Douzable. [6]
Harrison was the only UDFA to make the roster last year. Now, the William Penn product has been called upon to start preseason games because of Ellis’ back injury. Douzable, meanwhile, has worked his way up the depth chart.

LINEBACKERS
David Harris, Calvin Pace, Demario Davis, Quinton Coples, Antwan Barnes, Garrett McIntyre, Nick Bellore, Ricky Sapp, Josh Mauga, Danny Lansanah.
[10] 
Coples has made the switch to outside linebacker, but the former first-round pick si expected to miss the first two regular-season games at least. That means McIntyre and Barnes will see a lot more playing time. Lansanah has certainly improved his stock. (Note: Jacquies Smith could wind up practice squad.)

SECONDARY
Antonio Cromartie, Dee Milliner, Dawan Landry, Antonio Allen, Jaiquawn Jarrett, Kyle Wilson, Darrin Walls, Josh Bush, Isaiah Trufant, Ellis Lankster.
[10]
Simply put: Rex loves corners. But it’s clear the Jets could use another experienced safety.

SPECIALISTS
Nick Folk, Robert Malone, Tanner Purdum. [3]
The Jets, again, tried to turn up the heat on Folk by adding Billy Cundiff (in training camp) and Dan Carpenter (just before the final preseason game). But in the end, the job is Folk’s. Punter Ryan Quigley made a strong case for himself – especially with Malone battling a back injury for a good chunk of training camp. But I think the edge goes to the incumbent.  

Tags: jets , 53-man roster

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