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Jets 2017 Roster Breakdown: Can Jalin Marshall Earn Another Chance as a Returner?

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NFL: New York Jets-OTA Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Our roster countdown continues today as we look at Jalin Marshall.

Name: Jalin Marshall

Number: 89

Year with Jets: 2nd

Projected Role: Competing for roster spot as a returner and backup receiver

His 2016: There was early buzz about Marshall performing well in training camp. He even earned some reps with the first team offense as he competed with Jeremy Ross for the kickoff and punter returner job and a roster spot. By the time the preseason ended, it was difficult to figure what the buzz was about. After a long return in the opener, the rest of the preseason was a struggle for Marshall with multiple fumbles. It felt to me as though he had been outplayed by Ross and was a clear practice squad player as an undrafted rookie. The Jets coaching staff saw things differently, though, and gave Marshall the nod over Ross. A pair of early season fumbles in the first three weeks led to big touchdowns. Eventually seeing his role reduced, Marshall fumbled twice more during the season before a solid 3 catch finale against Buffalo where he scored a touchdown. Any momentum a strong finish might have created has been blunted to some extent with the four game suspension Marshall received to start the 2017 season.

2017 will be a success if: Marshall grows into the quality returner this team has been lacking. In some ways I feel bad for Marshall. He didn’t show a whole lot in 2016, but the coaching staff clearly put him into a role he was not ready to handle. This was a player who should have been developing his game on the practice squad. It’s the easiest thing in the world to get on an undrafted rookie who struggles, but players like Marshall generally should not have been put in that position to begin with.

Marshall does face an uphill battle with his suspension, though. How much the Jets will factor the suspension into their decision about whether to keep Marshall is unknown, but it at the very least gives another player the first four games to succeed in the return role and make Marshall obsolete.

Odds of making the roster: Unlikely (25-50%)