Projecting the New York Jets' Depth Chart Post OTAs

Adam Waksman@@AdamWaksmanCorrespondent IIIJune 11, 2013

Projecting the New York Jets' Depth Chart Post OTAs

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    New York Jets' head coach Rex Ryan and general manager John Idzik have been busy throughout the offseason putting together a Jets roster that is substantially different from the 2012 roster. Moves at quarterback, running back and all over the defense are only pieces of what has been going on over the past couple of months.

    With OTAs now over and minicamp beginning on June 11, the 2013 depth chart is starting to take shape and become clear. Based on the current roster status of each player and on information from OTAs, I evaluate and predict the Jets' 2013 depth chart at each position.

Quarterback

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    Unlike in recent years, the Jets' quarterback situation is highly uncertain this summer. While Mark Sanchez has been the starter for the past four years without significant competition, he now faces his first real competitor in second-round draft pick Geno Smith.

    The competition is still going on and might not be resolved until after we have seen some preseason games. However, based largely on potential and his fit within a West Coast offense, I would currently give the edge to Smith.

    Greg McElroy, who started one game last year, does not seem to be in serious contention. He has received some competition from Matt Simms even for the third spot on the depth chart, so he could potentially find himself off the team entirely. However, I think he will earn his spot for another year.

    Projected Depth Chart

    1. Geno Smith

    2. Mark Sanchez

    3. Greg McElroy

Running Back

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    If the quarterback competition is heated right now, then the running back competition is burning. With four backs of comparable quality, the Jets have some tough decisions to make.

    I have Chris Ivory, a recent pickup from the New Orleans Saints, in the top spot. He was buried in the Saints' deep depth chart, but he has the talent to be an above-average NFL starter.

    Meanwhile, Mike Goodson has been impressive in OTAs, at least on the field. Obviously, his legal issues could potentially conflict with his participation in the season. I am keeping him at No. 2 for now because that is where he belongs as long as he is with the team.

    Joe McKnight and Bilal Powell round out the group. I do expect the Jets to keep four active running backs on the roster, not counting fullbacks.

    Projected Depth Chart

    1. Chris Ivory

    2. Mike Goodson

    3. Joe McKnight

    4. Bilal Powell

Wide Receiver

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    The Jets' wide receiving group is the hardest one to predict due to the numerous amount of injuries. Their top four receivers are all battling injuries this summer. Santonio Holmes is most questionable for Week 1.

    I have second-year receiver Stephen Hill as the No. 1 receiver, at least to start the year, while Holmes gets back his form (or tries to). Jeremy Kerley should be able to get back to the slot, where he is at his best.

    Clyde Gates and UDFA signing Marcus Davis should have opportunities as well. There are several other players on the roster bubble fighting for spots or being considered as the Jets are always looking for opportunities to improve at receiver.

    Projected Depth Chart

    1. Stephen Hill

    2. Santonio Holmes

    3. Jeremy Kerley

    4. Clyde Gates

    5. Marcus Davis

Tight End

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    With Dustin Keller gone, Jeff Cumberland is the starting tight end by default. However, second-year rugby-convert Hayden Smith is shocking some people in OTAs and could potentially contend for the starting job or at least for significant playing time in certain formations.

    Under offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg's new system, two-tight end sets should be more common than they were for the Jets in 2012. I expect Cumberland and Smith to be the tight ends catching balls in games. Konrad Reuland is primarily a blocker more so than a receiver.

    Projected Depth Chart

    1. Jeff Cumberland

    2. Hayden Smith

    3. Konrad Reuland

Offensive Line

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    Center Nick Mangold and left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson are perennially among the best in the NFL at their positions, and their spots are secure on the Jets. Austin Howard, now entering his second year playing right tackle in New York, should also have a relatively uncontested spot.

    Offensive guard is where there is more intriguing action. Veteran guard Willie Colon has the most experience, but third-round draft pick Brian Winters has looked sharp at OTAs.

    The two of them might both end up starting. Much of that depends on whether or not Vladimir Ducasse, arguably the most physically talented member of the group, can grasp the West Coast offense and live up to his potential (something that he has not yet done).

    Tanner Purdum should start, as usual, at long snapper. Other guys looking to earn playing time as substitutes or in jumbo sets include Oday Aboushi, Dalton Freeman, Mark Popek and Caleb Schlauderaff.

    Projected Depth Chart

    1 (C) Nick Mangold

    1 (LT) D'Brickashaw Ferguson

    1 (RT) Austin Howard

    1 (LG) Willie Colon

    1 (RG) Brian Winters

    2 (OG) Vladimir Ducasse

    2 (C) Dalton Freeman

    2 (OT) Oday Aboushi

    3 (OG) Caleb Schlauderaff

    3 (C/OG) Mark Popek

Defensive Line

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    Defensive line is the deepest position currently for the New York Jets. Counting Quinton Coples, who splits his time at rush linebacker (essentially a defensive line position, though the Jets technically count it as a linebacker role), the Jets have three first-round picks on their defensive front.

    Muhammad Wilkerson is a dominant force, arguably the best player on the team. Coples and recent first-round pick Sheldon Richardson both face high expectations. Kenrick Ellis, Antonio Garay and Damon Harrison are all likely to find playing time one way or another, despite the quality among the group.

    Projected Depth Chart:

    1 (DE) Muhammad Wilkerson

    1 (DT) Sheldon Richardon

    2 (DE/RL) Quinton Coples

    2 (DT/NT) Kenrick Ellis

    3 (DT/NT) Antonio Garay

    3 (DT/NT) Damon Harrison 

Linebacker

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    The Jets use a significant number of 3-4 sets on defense, making inside linebackers key to the team's success.

    Veteran inside linebacker David Harris should be at his usual spot in the depth chart, but this year, I expect he will be joined by Demario Davis, who deserves to get starter-level minutes. Even in nickel sets, the Jets have often used two inside linebackers in the past, though not as much yet with Davis.

    On the outside, the two veterans are Calvin Pace and Antwan Barnes. Garrett McIntyre should be used like he was in 2012, situationally as a pass-rusher. I will also go out on a limb and predict that Ricky Sapp will finally get some real playing time. He has been an improved player in OTAs thus far.

    Projected Depth Chart

    1 (ILB) David Harris

    1 (OLB) Antwan Barnes

    2 (ILB) Demario Davis

    2 (OLB) Calvin Pace

    3 (ILB/OLB) Ricky Sapp

    3 (OLB) Garrett McIntyre

Secondary

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    The secondary group in New York was shaken up this offseason with the trade of star cornerback Darrelle Revis to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Antonio Cromartie has one starting spot locked down. The other should go to either rookie first-round pick Dee Milliner or former first-round pick Kyle Wilson.

    At safety, Dawan Landry is looking like the best of the bunch so far. The veteran should be able to earn a starting job, likely at free safety (although Rex Ryan's defense uses safeties in hybrid roles). The other spot will probably come down to a two-man battle between Antonio Allen and Josh Bush.

    Ellis Lankster and Isaiah Trufant are the strongest candidates for slot corner and nickel rotational spots.

    Projected Depth Chart

    1 (CB) Antonio Cromartie

    1 (FS) Dawan Landry

    1 (SS) Antonio Allen

    2 (CB) Dee Milliner

    2 (S) Josh Bush

    3 (CB) Kyle Wilson

    4 (CB) Ellis Lankster

    5 (CB) Isaiah Trufant

Kicker/Punter

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    At kicker and punter, the situation for the Jets is simple enough. There has not been any serious competition reported so far at OTAs. Last year's kicker (Nick Folk) and last year's punter (Robert Malone) are still the favorites to stick around another year with the team.

    Naturally, no backups are needed with roster spots being at a premium.

    Projected Depth Chart

    1 (K) Nick Folk

    2 (P) Robert Malone

    Adam Waksman is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report who writes primarily about the New York Jets and the NFL. Be sure to follow Adam on Twitter to receive updates right away.

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