As we do every year, we're going to mark preseason with a series of fan-sourced roster projections. The idea is that as players make their case in each preseason game this will be reflected in the next leg of the relay, along with other developments such as injuries.
Taking on the baton is a JetsFix regular who resides somewhere between Kenny and Wonder Twin in the pantheon of Powerses, Enumerated Powers ...
The knowledgeable and esteemed TSJC68 set a very strong pace on the first leg of the 53-man roster projection. Let’s see if we can take into account some new information, make a couple of adjustments, and then hand off the baton to whomever takes on the third leg. As you may know, NFL cutdown day is Tuesday, August 29 at 4 p.m. EDT, and teams will generally need to cut 37 players to get from not more than 90 to not more than 53 players.
After the first-leg roster projection was posted, the Jets signed Dalvin Cook (RB) to a one-year deal worth $7.0M plus up to $1.6M in incentives. On August 16th, Dalvin Cook was added to the Jets roster. In a corresponding move, Javelin Guidry was cut to keep the roster count at 90.
Let’s see if it is also feasible to add Malik Taylor (WR) and Jimmy Moreland (DB) to the first-leg roster as well as Dalvin Cook. This would mean trading or cutting two more players who made the first-leg roster as well as Javelin Guidry. Not easy! Let’s go!
Rationale for the additions at WR and DB
Jimmy Moreland and Malik Taylor are both age 27 with some NFL experience after entering the league in 2019. Malik Taylor has had a good camp, and Jimmy Moreland can backup Michael Carter II and has the potential to be a versatile cornerback. Importantly, both can play special teams.
Here’s Jimmy Moreland’s scouting report by Bent.
Here’s Malik Taylor’s scouting report by Bent.
And here's more from Bent about Malik Taylor.
The position group counts turned out as follows:
27 offense (QB 2, RB 4, FB 1, WR 7, TE 3, OL 10), 23 defense (DL 10, LB 5, DB 8), 3 special teams (K 1, P 1, LS 1) = 53 (Changes: WR +1, DB -1)
Comments: This team is somewhat lopsided with more players on offense than on defense. Nevertheless, I was unwilling to trade or cut any of the offensive players from the first-leg roster including Nick Bawden (FB), Randall Cobb (WR), Corey Davis (WR), and Michael Carter (RB).
The risk-reward decision to have fewer than 10 DBs is supported by the idea that the starting DBs play almost all of the snaps. In fact, Bryce Hall played only 15 defensive snaps last year.
The number of linebackers could be reduced from five to four because the starting linebackers also play most of the snaps. Marcell Harris played 62 defensive snaps last year. I think that that would be risky though.
Positions with no changes compared to the first-leg roster
QB (2) - KEEP: Aaron Rodgers, Zach Wilson CUT: Tim Boyle
FB (1) - KEEP: Nick Bawden CUT: none. Good fullbacks are hard to find.
TE (3) - KEEP: C.J. Uzomah, Tyler Conklin, Jeremy Ruckert CUT: Zack Kuntz, E.J. Jenkins, Kenny Yeboah
OL (10 - 5 OT, 5 IOL) - KEEP: Duane Brown, Laken Tomlinson, Connor McGovern, Alijah Vera-Tucker, Billy Turner, Mekhi Becton, Carter Warren, Wes Schweitzer, Joe Tippmann, Max Mitchell CUT: Greg Senat, Adam Pankey, Chris Glaser, Trystan Colon, Brent Laing, Grant Hermanns.
Comment: I would be very surprised if the Jets did not keep 10 OL, especially considering all of the injuries from last year. Finding a replacement starting OL is very difficult. Any one of these ten players would be signed quickly by another team.
OBLB (5) KEEP: Quincy Williams, C.J. Mosley, Jamien Sherwood, Zaire Barnes, Chazz Surratt. CUT: Claud Cherelus, Sam Eguavoen, Nick Vigil, Caleb Johnson
Comment: Chazz Surratt can play on special teams.
DL (10 - 6 Edge, 4 IDL) - KEEP: Carl Lawson, John Franklin-Myers, Jermaine Johnson II, Micheal Clemons, Bryce Huff, Will McDonald IV, Quinnen Williams, Al Woods, Solomon Thomas, Quinton Jefferson CUT: Bruce Hector, Deslin Alexandre, Ifeadi Odenigbo, Marquiss Spencer, Tanzel Smart, Pita Taumoepenu.
Comment: Trade Bryce Huff? Not unless the trade was very favorable for the Jets.
Special Teams (3) - KEEP: Greg Zuerlein, Thomas Morstead, Thomas Hennessy CUT: none.
Positions with changes compared to the first-leg roster
RB (4) - KEEP: Breece Hall, Dalvin Cook, Michael Carter, Israel Abanikanda CUT: Zonovan "Bam" Knight, Travis Dye, Damarea Crockett
Comment: Keeping three RBs instead would not be unprecedented, but that would be risky. Having four or more running backs is more common.
WR (7) - KEEP: Garrett Wilson, Allen Lazard, Mecole Hardman (KR/PR), Randall Cobb, Corey Davis, Jason Brownlee, Malik Taylor CUT: Irvin Charles, Xavier Gipson, Alex Erickson, Jerome Kapp, TJ Luther
Comment: Malik Taylor added. Jason Brownlee was projected to be a day 3 draft pick and has had a good camp. He should make the 53-man roster. In order to add Malik Taylor and not cut any of the 6 WRs who made the first-leg roster, the Jets would need to keep 7 WRs and shrink another position group.
DB (8) - 4 corners, 4 safeties - KEEP: Sauce Gardner, D.J. Reed, Michael Carter II, Jimmy Moreland, Jordan Whitehead, Tony Adams, Adrian Amos, Dane Cruikshank CUT: Bryce Hall, Javelin Guidry, Justin Hardee, Craig James, Derrick Langford, Ashtyn Davis, Trey Dean III, Marquis "Muddy" Waters
PUP - 6 games: Jarrick Bernard-Converse.
SUSPENDED - 1 Game: Brandin Echols.
Comments: The Jets will probably need to cut a player in order to add Brandin Echols (CB) after week 1. Brandin Echols can also play special teams and can backup Michael Carter II.
Summary of Changes
ADDED: Dalvin Cook (RB), Malik Taylor (WR), and Jimmy Moreland (DB). CUT: Justin Hardee (CB), Javelin Guidry (CB), and Zonovan “Bam” Knight (RB).
Conclusion: In order to add Malik Taylor and Jimmy Moreland without subtracting a player on offense, I cut Justin Hardee. Dalvin Cook was added. “Bam” Knight was cut and Michael Carter was retained.
QB (1) Tim Boyle; RB (1) Travis Dye; WR (2) Irvin Charles, Alex Erickson; TE (2) E.J. Jenkins, Zack Kuntz; OL (2) Trystan Colon, Brent Laing; DL (3) Deslin Alexandre, Tanzel Smart, Bruce Hector; LB (2) Claud Cherelus, Caleb Johnson; CB (2) Derrick Langford, Rezjohn Wright; S (1) Trey Dean III
Changes: Added Caleb Johnson (NYJ or JAX? - Yes.); Not signed Xavier Gipson.
Players who may be claimed
Zonovan “Bam” Knight (RB), Kenny Yeboah (TE), Bryce Hall (CB), Ashtyn Davis (S)
Justin Hardee is a special team ace. What would be the impact of cutting him?
The Patriots double-teamed Hardee, illegally holding him in the process. The penalty was not called and the Jets gave up a game-winning touchdown. So, having an elite gunner is not a guarantee of success on punt coverage especially if the team overly relies on the special team ace.
The Jets can also save $2.35M on the salary cap.
Other factors include the change in the kickoff rules, the change from Braden Mann to Thomas Morstead as punter, potential changes in Hardee’s skill, and other changes in the special team units.
(Editor's Note: The third leg will follow after the Bucs game)
Would you like to take the baton for the a lap of the track? We just need your 53-man projection and we'll make note of what's changed - and you're free to add insights if you wish. Volunteer in the comments section below...