In this year's training camp and preseason a number of players took themselves from either on the roster bubble or long shots and performed well enough that their roster spot looks pretty safe. Here are some who come to mind.
Clyde Gates: When the Jets brought back Braylon Edwards, one of the most common defenses of the move was that it would limit Gates' playing time. Gates looked like a much better receiver in camp and preseason, though. Rex Ryan pointed it out the first day of training camp. Gates always had blazing speed, but his breaks and cuts looked a lot sharper. It is difficult to say what his ceiling is, but Gates looks like he could at least emerge as a quality complimentary option.
Ryan Spadola: An undrafted rookie from Lehigh typically comes in with low expectations, but Spadola turned heads starting early in camp. Spadola followed that up with a solid preseason showing. He has the skill set to be a unique weapon out of the slot, particularly given his big frame. Spadola had a few hiccups in the preseason, but the way he read coverages on his routes impressed me. He also might have enough size and speed to make it work on the outside.
Vladimir Ducasse: Everybody's favorite whipping boy seemed to be in big trouble. He was a Mike Tannenbaum project, and Tannenbaum was gone. Vlad was an afterthought in the competition at left guard between Stephen Peterman and Brian Winters. Peterman's play looked so poor that he was cut, and Winters doesn't look ready at all. Ducasse now appears to be the starter. He earned it too. Vlad looked solid in pass protection, which was his biggest Achilles heel and was effective as a run blocker. There still is Adrien Clarke potential here, but Vlad amazingly enough earned the job.
Damon Harrison: Teams take on a lot of undrafted projects who get hyped up. Few of them ever amount to anything. Skepticism was warranted when it came to Big Snacks. Harrison played very well in the preseason, though. He effectively held the point of attack and ate up multiple blockers on a consistent basis. His play probably makes Antonio Garay expendable.
Matt Simms: Simms was a total zero when he entered camp. Now he's a little bit more. He played very well in his preseason action, displaying a cannon for an arm that allowed him to fit in throws normal quarterbacks couldn't complete. I think those proclaiming Simms as a big time prospect and a viable starter might be getting a bit ahead of themselves. Lighting up preseason is very different from facing top tier competition and defenses that disguise fronts and coverages, forcing quarterbacks to dissect what is happening in less than a second. Did Simms show enough to prove he is worth keeping around as a developmental guy, though? Sure.
Jaiquawn Jarrett: Jarrett was a reclamation project. The Jets didn't really know what they were getting. It is still tough to say. I don't feel great going into the season with Jarrett, but he at least managed to look like less of a disaster than Antonio Allen, against whom he was competing for a starting job. One would imagine Jarrett is going to get the starting nod.