As the Jets kick their preseason off tonight against the Tennessee Titans, here are five players who have an opportunity to improve their stock.
Hackenberg’s early work in training camp has been uneven, but head coach Todd Bowles stated this week he places more value on preseason games than practice when evaluating the quarterback competition. Any designs the Jets have of beating their low preseason expectations likely rest on Hackenberg looking the part of a franchise quarterback. That doesn’t mean beating out Josh McCown. It means looking substantially better than Josh McCown. Tonight could be an important step to that end.
We haven’t heard a lot about the competition at right tackle aside from the general struggles of the offensive line in training camp. When last we saw Shell, he was putting together a solid end to his rookie year, starting in the last three games. This will be our first look at him after a full offseason of work. He has a chance to make a strong claim for a starting job.
Normally rookie fifth round picks do not get a legitimate chance to earn playing time. The Jets are so bare at the tight end position that Leggett could conceivably be a Week 1 starter, however, with Austin Seferian-Jenkins’ suspension. It is usually a good idea to bet the under with rookie tight ends, but there is an opportunity for him to impress.
Harper’s name wasn’t on the radar at the start of training camp, which is saying something when you consider the way the wide receiver depth chart looks for this team. He has been one of the early surprises for the Jets, however. Now he gets a chance to prove himself in a game situation.
A year ago Martin was neck and neck with Nick Folk in the kicking competition. The bottom fell out once preseason started. Whether he just had a case of rookie jitters we can’t say. The early returns out of camp have Martin leading the battle with Chandler Catanzaro. This is a chance to put some distance. If his game struggles continue, the Jets might need to look at bringing a new kicker into the competition.