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What Will Be the Jets' Most Intriguing Position Battle in Training Camp?

Tackle, Center, Linebacker Among Top Battles Entering Camp


Throughout the offseason, reporters Eric Allen, Ethan Greenberg, Randy Lange and Caroline Hendershot will each give their predictions to a series of questions regarding this year's Jets.

Today's question: What will be the Jets' most intriguing position battle in training camp?

EA: There could be several. On defense, it will be interesting to see how the DT rotation works next to Quinnen Williams after the Jets signed Al Woods and Quinton Jefferson in free agency. John Franklin-Myers is a matchup problem inside and the Jets are expected to take the same approach with Micheal Clemons (290 pounds). On offense, at LT, HC Robert Saleh told reporters this spring that Duane Brown will be a "hard out" so I've got my eyes on RT. That could come down to Billy Turner, Mekhi Becton, Max Mitchell and Yodny Cajuste. The return spots are open with Mecole Hardman, Xavier Gipson and Zonovan 'Bam" Knight. I'm curious to see if a Kwon Alexander return is on the horizon or whether Jamien Sherwood takes the reins of that third LB spot. I'll take center though because the Jets selected Wisconsin giant Joe Tippmann (6-6) in the second round after signing both Trystan Colon and Wes Schweitzer in free agency, and re-signing Connor McGovern days before the draft. McGovern played 3,055 offensive snaps in his three seasons as a Jet (2020-22), the most on the team in that span. The Jets like Tippmann's size, feet and potential versatility. That's always a critical spot and will come ever more into focus this season with the arrival of Aaron Rodgers

EG: At first glance, the most notable battles are the third linebacker spot, center, tackle and returner. I think the most important will be on the offensive line at tackle and center, but I think the most intriguing is the third linebacker spot. Training camp is the time for players to earn roster spots – WR Wayne Chrebet is a great example, entering camp last on the depth chart, then becoming a Ring of Honor member after 11 seasons in green and white. The third linebacker spot that was manned by Kwon Alexander last season has players who have barely gotten their feet wet in the NFL — like third-year players Jamien Sherwood and Hamsah Nasirildeen, who have a combined 6 starts over the last two seasons. Other players in the mix are Chazz Surratt, sixth-round pick Zaire Barnes and three UDFAs – Claudin Cherelus, Maalik Hall and Caleb Johnson. There's a lot of inexperience in the mix for the third 'backer, but this is what training camp is all about.

See the top images of the Jets during the 2023 offseason program.

RL: Any position except guard on the offensive line is quite intriguing. At left tackle, consummate 16th-year pro Duane Brown, his shoulder now good to go, vs. Mekhi Becton, 50 pounds lighter and hungrier than ever to reclaim the position after virtually two years lost to knee injuries. At center, wily seventh-year pro Connor McGovern, the only Jets O-lineman to play all 1,114 offensive snaps last season, attempting to hold off huge, strong second-round rookie Joe Tippman. At right tackle, Max Mitchell, the rookie opening-day starter last year who made five starts around stints on IR and NFI, vs. Billy Turner, who's started 61 games the past five seasons for Denver and for Aaron Rodgers' Packers, and even fourth-round rookie Carter Warren from Pitt. The objectives: Pry open lanes for the running game ... and protect ARod at all costs.

CH: It has to be the tackle position. Since last season when Mekhi Becton sustained a season-ending injury in training camp, the Jets left tackle position was the big question mark. Once Duane Brown signed with the Jets last season and played through a shoulder injury, it looked like the job could be his. It will be a true training camp battle this year between the new and improved Mekhi Becton, who lost more than 50 pounds this offseason, but has not played in almost two years. Brown, the almost 38-year-old veteran who is coming off of a shoulder injury, Billy Turner, Max Mitchell, and Yodney Cajuste are clearly in the mix. There will be a good competition in camp between the players vying for two starting jobs. I'm paying more attention to right tackle since Robert Saleh said Brown will be a "hard out."

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