The Jets released their first unofficial depth chart Monday leading up to their preseason opener against the Giants on Thursday. Below are three takeaways.
With Chris Herndon’s four-game suspension to open up the regular season, the tight ends are not only competing for a roster spot but the starting gig. Ryan Griffin, whom the Jets signed July 22nd, has the most experience of the group (77 games) and is listed behind Herndon as TE2.
“He's done well. He’s picked it up extremely fast,” head coach Adam Gase said of Griffin. “He rolled out here that first day and it was like he knew the offense. I've been impressed by what he's done. He's physical. He can do things in the passing game. He can do all three phases of the game. He's playing fast. He's giving us a lot. That was a good pickup for us.”
Behind Griffin is Dan Brown, who returned to practice Monday (hamstring), Eric Tomlinson, fourth-round pick Trevon Wesco and Nick Truesdell.
Like last year, Jordan Jenkins (7.0 sacks) and Brandon Copeland (5.0 sacks) lead the pack on the outside. But with all the packages defensive coordinator Gregg Williams runs, almost all of the ‘backers have taken first-team reps.
But Jenkins and Copeland are listed as starters, followed by Frankie Luvu and Harvey Langi. Behind them are Tarell Basham, third-round pick Jachai Polite, who has been heating up at practice, and Jamey Mosley, C.J.'s younger brother.
“Those guys, each and every one of them have their own skillset and they’re balling out,” Jenkins said. “The competition is high. Each person has their own day where they’ll be phenomenal and it’s going to be a very close-knit competition. Those guys get after it. Each one of them is a head buster, each one of them loves to get after the quarterback. It’s going to be interesting, man.”
The Jets have had a handful of players take reps at kick and punt returner in training camp, but Trenton Cannon (KR) and Greg Dortch (PR) are listed as starters.
Cannon, the Jets’ sixth-round pick last year, definitely has the speed to excel at the position. When the Virginia State product was drafted, many thought he’d battle for the return job Day 1. With Andre Roberts, who was sensational for the Jets last season, now up in Western New York with the Bills, Cannon has an opportunity to become a key cog in Brant Boyer’s system. Behind him are Ty Montgomery and Deonte Thompson.
Dortch, an undrafted free agent, served as Wake Forest’s punt returner the last two seasons and fielded 45 punts for 438 yards and two touchdowns. Following the 5’7”, 173-pounder are Tim White and J.J. Jones.
“He just has a natural feel,” Gase said of Dortch. “He looks like a center fielder getting under that thing. He catches it smooth, he's fearless. Just watching his college tape, he's a guy that we watched and when he didn't get drafted it was ideal for us. He kind of fits into what we do and his return ability is something we were interested in.”