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Jets Defensive Position Battles Heading Into the Preseason Opener

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NFL: New York Jets-Rookie Minicamp Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

We looked at the offense. Now let’s look at the position battles for the Jets on the defensive side of the ball as we approach the preseason opener.

Once again, we will use our color coded system.

Red: Playing time at the position is wide open

Yellow: Some playing time is open; slight favorites might exist

Green: Little to no playing time is open

Defensive Line: Green

One of the biggest questions for the Jets in this preseason is whether Sheldon Richardson will be traded. Even if he is, there will not be much playing time available with guys like Muhammad Wilkerson, Leonard Williams, and Steve McLendon around. If Richardson stays, the Jets have even less playing time for guys to earn. The competition here is strictly among a few backup spots.

Edge Rusher: Red

This is where things stood a year ago. Unfortunately the unproven players from the 2016 team didn’t prove themselves. Some of those players like Lorenzo Mauldin will get another bite at the apple against newcomers like Dylan Donahue. Jordan Jenkins, who had a strong finish to 2016 might be a half step above the others.

Inside Linebacker: Green

I could be wrong here, but I think Demario Davis and Darron Lee will be starting no matter what happens in preseason (aside from injuries).

Cornerback: Yellow

Morris Claiborne and Buster Skrine likely have a lock on substantial playing time, but the important third spot is open. Juston Burris, Marcus Williams, and Darryl Roberts should be among the competitors.

Safety: Green

It wouldn’t be surprising to see some growing pains, but it looks like the Jets are going to live with a pair of rookies, Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye, in the back of the defense. Rontez Miles looks like the third safety at the moment and could see his fair share of playing time.