It took a bit longer than expected but the New York Jets finally dropped their full list of roster cuts just before 6 p.m. eastern time.
Of course, that comes with a flip side. For every player that did get cut, there were twice as many that did not.
General manager Joe Douglas and head coach Robert Saleh made several unexpected choices on August 31, let’s dive in and take a look at the initial 2021 Green & White roster.
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Offensive Depth Chart Ignores 2 Positions
On the offensive side of the ball, Douglas shocked everyone when he totally cleared the deck at both tight end and interior offensive line. Let’s start with the blatantly obvious, quarterback.
After rumors began circulating that veteran signal-caller Josh Johnson would be released, it wasn’t long before Mike White was announced as the backup QB to Zach Wilson. Many fans wanted to upgrade on White throughout training camp, but for now, it seems you may be stuck with the former Dallas Cowboys’ fifth-round pick in 2018.
The running back cuts went pretty chalk, possibly more so than every other position. Here’s the expected depth chart for QB and RB.
|Zach Wilson||Tevin Coleman|
|Mike White||Ty Johnson|
|Fullback- Trevon Wesco||La’Mical Perine|
The Jets’ tight ends have been pretty lackluster this summer and apparently, Douglas agreed. He sent four players packing at the position, leaving veteran Tyler Kroft on an island. That also allowed Gang Green to keep seven wide receivers, but the final choice was kind of unexpected.
|Corey Davis||Elijah Moore||Jamison Crowder||Tyler Kroft|
|Denzel Mims||Keelan Cole||Braxton Berrios|
Jeff Smith beat out Vyncint Smith, who made a late push for the 53-man roster. Both have intriguing skill sets, but it appears the former won out over the latter. Technically, the Jets will only have 52 players on the roster after the Chris Herndon trade goes through.
The final area on offense is the blocking unit, which had six locks. Based on his contract, the seventh lock ended up being Dan Feeney, who’s currently acting as the second-string lineman at three different positions. Douglas also elected to hold onto a couple of injured players in Chuma Edoga and Conor McDermott. They will most likely transfer over to one of the inactive lists, opening up two roster spots to bring in more talent. Below is the initial depth chart.
|Left Tackle||Left Guard||Center||Right Guard||Right Tackle|
|Mekhi Becton||Alijah Vera-Tucker||Connor McGovern||Greg Van Roten||Morgan Moses|
|Edoga & McDermott||Dan Feeney||Dan Feeney||Dan Feeney||George Fant|
The starting right tackle has not officially been revealed, with Fant pushing Moses for the job. Expect Douglas to be in the market for multiple tight ends as waiver claims and trades progress on September 1, as well as an extra interior lineman and possibly an extra offensive tackle.
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Defensive Depth Chart Stacks at CB & D-Line
On defense, Douglas and Saleh decided to bulk up on certain positions. The first was the trenches, which should come as no surprise. The Jets kept five defensive tackles and five edge rushers (technically four).
Kyle Phillips was immediately sent to the Reserve/PUP, but he’ll remain with the franchise as a possible pass-rusher that could return for the second half of the season. 2020 draft pick Jabari Zuniga also made the cut, despite missing most of training camp with nagging injuries.
|LEO||3-Tech DT||Nose Tackle||5-Tech DE|
|Shaq Lawson||Quinnen Williams||Folorunso Fatukasi||John Franklin-Myers|
|Bryce Huff||Sheldon Rankins||Nathan Shepherd||Jabari Zuniga|
Huff may start, but I’m going to keep the newer Lawson as the starter for now based on his ability as a run defender. The 2020 UDFA on the other hand has struggled in this department, excelling more on passing downs. Shepherd and Marshall claimed the final roster spots on the interior over Tanzel Smart. We’ll see if Zuniga sticks around or hits an injured list for a predetermined amount of time.
The Jets also trimmed some fat at linebacker and safety, while stockpiling cornerbacks. Here is a quick look at each of the final positional groups.
|Jarrad Davis||C.J. Mosley||Hamsah Nasirildeen|
|Jamien Sherwood||Blake Cashman|
Douglas will definitely add a linebacker once Davis moves over to an inactive list. At the same time, Mosley is expected to switch back to the center of the defense until he gets back. In order to replace Davis, we’ve stockpiled some options that are currently available on free agency and waivers.
At cornerback, the Jets decided not to sacrifice any talent while eliminating almost all of their depth at safety. Gang Green kept eight CBs, including a couple that struggled during the preseason. In comparison, they kept three safeties, including Ashtyn Davis who could be sidelined to start the season.
|Bryce Hall||Bless Austin||Javelin Guidry||Marcus Maye|
|Brandin Echols||Jason Pinnock||Michael Carter II||Lamarcus Joyner|
|Isaiah Dunn||Justin Hardee||Ashtyn Davis|
This covers the Jets pretty well, with players like Dunn and Carter that can double as safeties if needed. Hardee will mainly stick to special teams, but the veteran can help out in the secondary in an emergency scenario. Douglas may also add another safety at some point if Davis needs more time to recover from his 2020 foot injury.
This young group is probably one of the most inexperienced secondaries ever compiled, so the Jets will likely sink or swim based on their development.