Projecting the Jets 2014 final roster: Defense & Special Teams

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

After four practices and thinking about the Jets for almost all my waking hours over the last five days, here’s what I see of this roster as training camp moves into it’s second phase of practices in Cortland, New York. Next, defense and special teams…

DSC_0208Defensive Line [5]
DE: Muhammad Wilkerson
DE: Sheldon Richardson
DT: Damon Harrison
DT: Kenrick Ellis
DE: Leger Douzable

Expect more of the same from one of the best defensive lines in the league. The team has the luxury of having two excellent backups — in Leger Douzable and Kenrick Ellis — who work heavily in rotational work and provide little drop-off, while giving the starters a breather. TJ Barnes and Tevita Finau have shots at making this team if the roster falls right, but we get the feeling an emphasis will be made on linebackers and corners this year. Look for rookie UDFA Anthony Grady to challenge for a practice squad spot with Barnes and Finau.

Linebackers [9]
RLB1: Quinton Coples
OLB2: Calvin Pace
OLB3: Jason Babin
OLB4: Trevor Reilly
ILB1: David Harris
ILB2: Demario Davis
ILB3: Nick Bellore
ILB4: Jeremiah George
LB/ST: Troy Davis

The addition of Babin seems like a move that will squeeze Antwan Barnes off the roster. The starting group is good, but they lacked proper depth in 2013 and will look to avoid that again. Between Coples, Pace and Babin, the team has a solid group of edge-rushers. While Babin seems to go around the horn most effectively, both Pace and Coples can stunt inside with the best of them. Trevor Reilly will need to make the team on special teams but he is markedly better than all of the threes he has been playing against. Expect him to gain greater attention come the first preseason game. Jeremiah George had a play that raised Rex’s ire at the end of practice Sunday, but the Jets need depth at interior linebacker and George is the best most physical fit for future grooming. Troy Davis received praise from Rex Ryan in the first week of camp and will get a chance to make a name for himself on the first team special teams unit.

DSC_0028Cornerbacks [7]
1: Dee Milliner
2: Dimitri Patterson
3: Kyle Wilson
4: Dexter McDougle
5: Darrin Walls
6: Ras-I Dowling
7: Ellis Lankster

Dee Milliner finished his last season strong and inspired optimism from the coaching staff and front office who are content in building around him. Dimitri Patterson has had a good camp, batting passes down and playing the physical style of football that Ryan relishes. The concern of course for Patterson (and Ras-I Dowling) will be their ability to stay healthy. Kyle Wilson can line up anywhere in a pinch and is a known commodity for the Jets in the slot or against the boundary. Walls had some tough moments but acquitted himself well as a replacement player for Milliner and should make the team again due to his versatility. Lankster had an impressive pass break up on Eric Decker and is playing the cornerback position as physical as he ever has. Lankster is also a core special teamer, but could see some competition from WR Saalim Hakim as a flyer. We expect the Jets will lean towards Lankster thanks to the depth he can provide at corner. Brandon Dixon needs work and might be a player in which the Jets invest some practice squad time.

Safeties [4]
1: Calvin Pryor
2: Antonio Allen
3: Dawan Landry
4: Jaiquawn Jarrett

Rex has talked almost every day about how much he likes the depth of the safety spot. Pryor, Allen and Landry are the popular names, but I think the reason Rex is so confident is because of his fourth man, Jaiquawn Jarrett. Josh Bush worked mostly on the third team while Jarrett seems to be getting better in pass coverage with the second team. For as physical a player as Rontez Miles is, I don’t think that would override the team’s need of a more balanced run-pass safety … and Jarrett is already more of an in-the-box type (like the rest of this group aside from Bush). Rex has talked up Rontez Miles of late, but if he makes the team it might only be because Troy Davis does not.


Specialists [3]
Nick Folk
Ryan Quigley
Tanner Purdum

This was the team’s specialists last year and likely will be again this season.




46 comments
Justin Schaefer
Justin Schaefer

Little worried about the DB's here. Liked what I saw from Milliner 2nd half last year but he's hardly a sure thing. Patterson is an average guy and Wilson has never lived up to the hype- this year is make or break for him. Cant expect too much from McDougle. Walls can hit but lapses in coverage make him a rotation guy at best. Any high priced DB's in danger of being cut out there? We have the cap room.

bklyndude
bklyndude

The Jets practice squad is going to be hard to make this year,  never mind the 53 man roster.

jvsvn
jvsvn

In a year of a deep draft I think the Jets are banking on the fact that they will be able to stash 4 or 5 of their picks on the PS. If they can pull that off, they will have a lot of flexibility in the draft next year.

Disgruntled Jets Fan
Disgruntled Jets Fan

Between this and the offense prediction, how many draft picks does BB see the jets cutting? Four or five, right?

MarshRandy
MarshRandy

Keep the Mark Sanchez quotes coming, twitter

BDarc23
BDarc23

I really like Jarrett. I also wonder if there is going to be a surprise cut like Landry, Colon, Hill or even Pace.

Tooned In
Tooned In

Great final roster write-ups. Balanced and unbiased reporting.

Bent
Bent moderator

If Evans doesn't show enough in preseason and then gets bumped then that was a pretty pointless pick.  Not because he's a bad player or has no potential, but when roster space is at a premium, why waste a pick on a guy you know has to make an immediate impact to crack the roster and yet is the least likely guy to make that immediate impact because not only is he kinda raw, but also he was destined to miss mini-camp because of the quarters system?


None of that is Evans' fault, but if that was his only hope of making the team, they probably should have gone in another direction.  Hopefully they have more patience with him than that.

SackDance99
SackDance99

While KR is a battle between Saunders and Ford, it seemed like PR was more open.

Bassett, Bent and Co.,

Any idea for who has the inside track on PR?  Kerley seems to me to be too valuable to do it, but he, Shaq and Jalen were all out there.  I think Ford, was too; but, I can't remember.  Hakim and Gates were also returners, but I think at KR, not PR.

SackDance99
SackDance99

FWIW, Schum, who is Quigley's competition, can really boom his punts.

hitchhiker
hitchhiker

Has Trevor Reilly been playing at OLB exclusively in camp? He played OLB & ILB in college.

williamg1
williamg1

I'd keep Rontez over Troy Davis. 

Marvel_
Marvel_

Defense looking real good.

williamg1
williamg1

I would feel comfortable with any of those CBs starting (except for McDougle -- only because he's a rookie). 

Brendan
Brendan

I could see them keeping Barnes and dropping George to the PS, but that's dependent on whether or not they plan to use him a lot on STs. 

williamg1
williamg1

TJ Barnes may stay -- especially with the possibility of Ellis leaving. 

At least, I hope he stays. 

bklyndude
bklyndude

@jaym

NY media at it's worst again.  How can reporters constantly take quotes out of context for the mere purpose of selling newspapers.  

When will they realize it's only killing the newspaper business when each papers credibility is the only thing people can count on.  They keep screwing with it for the sake of maybe selling a few more papers until people just go some place else like the internet for balanced news. 

On a side note,  Philly fans will boo Sanchez as soon as his passes get intercepted at the line of scrimmage by D-linemen constantly.

tsjc68
tsjc68

@BDarc23

I also wonder if there is going to be a surprise cut like Landry, 

Maybe.

Colon, 

No.

Hill 

Maybe.

or even Pace.

No.

levi
levi

@BDarc23 Jarrett had a nice int I saw at camp. He made a very low catch.

jenkins
jenkins

@Bent Evans is playing exactly as he has always played. Should be great-isn't.

tsjc68
tsjc68

@Bent

I agree with everything you say, and your point is valid.  But moot.


Evans will make the 53.  Barring injury, he was always going to make the 53.

Bent
Bent moderator

@SackDance99 You need to be able to catch to return punts so Hakim is out.


I heard Saunders was probably the most impressive on punts, although they even had Decker back there, which is a role he played in Denver when they were in a situation where securing the catch was more important than the chance of a big play so he was a better option than Trindon Holliday.  I don't like Ford much on punts.

Marcus Armstrong
Marcus Armstrong

@hitchhiker I don't have him at ILB in my notes... Watched 5 games, but he certainly played all over in college, and it wouldn't surprise me if he could play ILB. Did a lot of work at weak side DE in college, though.

Brendan
Brendan

@hitchhiker I believe he's been kept at OLB/DE, but he's been flipping and playing both sides. 

Bent
Bent moderator

@Brendan I sense Barnes is going on the PUP so that when there's inevitably an injury they have a perfect break-glass-in-case-of-emergency option.


He might even be healthy enough to play in camp, but he doesn't need the reps because his role as a DPR is something he's more than familiar with.

SackDance99
SackDance99

@williamg1 Rex has a real knack for developing defensive linemen.  Probably the position that I'm least concerned about in terms of losing folks on waivers and not being able to PS them.

Christopher Lewis
Christopher Lewis

@Dr. Jonathan Reefer @Christopher Lewis 

Are you kidding me, The Vet had it's own court room for unruly fans...come on!!! My point is as soon as Mark shows his true colors hes will see that "Brotherly Love " Philly is know for... Watch!.  Lets see how he feels then.

Disgruntled Jets Fan
Disgruntled Jets Fan

Yes, that was terrible. But Philly fans booed Santa Claus, the Pope, and just about everyone else. They're the worst.

Steven Windeler
Steven Windeler

@Bent @SackDance99  I think Saunders is the only guy I've seen that I feel comfortable returning punts. No one last year, and from what I've seen from Ford, he's no better than Kerley. Looks very nervous trying to judge the flight of the ball. Decker...maybe in the AFCCG

Disgruntled Jets Fan
Disgruntled Jets Fan

Regarding Hakim - I don't think there's room on the roster for a guy who *only* runs fast, even if it's really fast. Even if he is an ok flyer/gunner.

Brendan
Brendan

@Bent Oh, I meant TJ, but I like your idea, too. I really have to remember to designate which Barnes I'm referring to, I keep just using the last name. 

Bent
Bent moderator

@Marcus Armstrong @Bent @SackDance99 That's the ideal situation (and probably Hakim at gunner) but unfortunately there might realistically only be one roster spot available for all three of those jobs.


Remember, we're not just talking about fitting all three onto the roster, they'd need to be active every week as well.

Bent
Bent moderator

@Brendan @Bent Call Barnes "TJB" - that way it will be even more confusing.


I can't see (TJ) Barnes getting poached off the practice squad to be honest and if he is then so be it, you can't keep everyone.

Brendan
Brendan

@Bent I just want to keep all the big guys. ALL OF THEM.