With roster cuts in the books, there are some interesting opportunities for the Jets to possibly upgrade their roster. Of course for every player obtained off waivers another player on the roster has to be let go in a corresponding move. With expanded practice squads (up to 16 players) many of those players who are let go can be sent to the practice squad if they clear waivers.
I will show you 5 players who the Jets could bring in to enhance their roster. I will then name the player who should be let go to make room. Remember the Jets can still hopefully re-sign that waived player to the practice squad.
I will also show you 5 players who the Jets also may have an interest in but would be wise to stay away from. I will then give you a list of 8 players who the Jets could look at as possible practice squad players. The Jets could sign these players in order to get to better look at them without having to sign them to the active roster.
Five players the Jets should add
1) Rasul Douglas CB Eagles
This should be a no brainer for Joe Douglas as he scouted Rasul when he was in Philly. Joe should have a keen knowledge of his strengths and weaknesses.
Coming out of college I was skeptical of Douglas as a prospect unless he was used in a zone system. He has great size (6’ 1 5/8” 209 lbs) but is slow for a corner (4.59/40). His agility and balance are also below average for his position. He is not a hard hitter, but he does usually make the tackle if he can wrap his man up. He has very good length (32 3/8” arms) which helps him in contested situations. Here he is in a zone defense playing for the Eagles.
Douglas lacks speed, agility, and quickness, but he excels with the play in front of him. If he was a better tackler he could be considered for safety work, but I believe he can fit into Gregg Williams’ defense quite effectively. I usually don’t look for DBs from the Big 12 conference, but Douglas is from East Orange, New Jersey, so I can give him a pass.
The player I would move to the practice squad would be either Quincy Wilson or Arthur Maulet. Wilson has more experience than Maulet but is a similar player to Douglas. Either player would be able to move up to the active roster at a moment’s notice. You also would need to know if Pierre Desir whether ready to play having missed so much time with the hamstring injury.
2) Reggie Bonnafon RB Panthers
I realize that running back is a position of little need this year, but there are some concerns for the future. The Jets drafted La’mMical Perine this year, but he is an untested rookie who has not proved yet that he belongs in the NFL. Beyond him, the Jets have two veteran RBs who they could move on from after this year so new RBs are needed for the future.
Bonnafon is an athletic back with great size (6’ 1” 213 lbs) with enough speed to run away from the first two lines of the defense. Here he is in his lone game he played last year for the Vikings.
Bonnafon is a second year player who would be under contract for the next three years at UDFA pay scale levels. The Jets have time to figure out whether he is the player they want for the future or if they need to go in another direction. He has exceptional balance and quickness for a big back and good hands out of the backfield. He had 6 receptions in his limited action in 2019.
The Jets could let go Jordan Willis from the defense to make room. The defensive line is loaded, and Willis made only 7 tackles last year. Again he could be called up from the practice squad if the Jets needed him.Since the Jets picked him up off waivers last year I doubt there will be a high demand for his services.
3) Sean Davis CB/S Washington
Davis was a second round pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2016 who never quite made the expected impact. His talent level is high. He was a standout performer at Maryland but has yet to succeed in the NFL. He is another player who may be better in a zone system than in man coverage.
Davis has good size at 6’ 1” 202 lbs with good feet, but he has tight hips which make him poor in transition from his peddle to flipping his hips. He loses touch with his man when playing tight coverage. He is fast enough (4.46/40) to roam the back of a zone then come up to make a play. He is another player much better coming towards the play rather than moving away from it. Here he is against the Titans.
Davis has been in the league long enough to understand some different concepts. He might not work out, but I would love to see him work with Gregg Williams in an attacking style defense to see what he can do. He has talent. He just hasn’t shown it up to now.
The Jets only have three safeties on the roster so he could be a great addition in case of injury. Trevon Wesco could be sent to the practice squad to make room as the Jets have two TEs way ahead of Wesco. He would be an insurance policy if either Herndon or Griffin should go down.
4) Hakeem Butler WR Cardinals
Butler was a fan favorite at GGN as he is an athletic receiver with tremendous size. I studied Butler quite heavily coming out of Iowa State. When he ran a 4.48/40 at the Combine at 6’ 5” 227 lbs many thought he was going to be a star. However, he lacks the quickness to gain separation from coverage. He also has tight hips which don’t allow him to drop his weight going into breaks to come out fast enough to separate.
Butler can still work on his techniques which will allow him to get open more frequently. Fortunately the Jets have a coach who is excellent at teaching technique in Shawn Jefferson. I would love the Jets to give Jefferson a chance to work with Butler, to enhance his skill set. Here is the type of play Butler can make.
You can’t teach size and speed. They are innate abilities. The Jets are bereft of talent at receiver so upgrading the position is essential. Butler has the size to make a play on a 50/50 ball.
With Vyncint Smith out for another 3-5 weeks the Jets can place him on IR then bring him back in 3 weeks if he is healthy enough. (It’s a new rule for just this year.) Hopefully Butler can turn into a quality red zone target at least.
5) Trey Quinn WR Washington
Trey Quinn is another receiver I was hoping the Jets would originally draft back in 2018. His tenure in the NFL has been rocked by injuries to start his career, but Quinn still has a quality upside. Quinn isn’t big (5’ 11 3/8” 203 lbs), but he is quick with good speed (4.45/40). What he lacks in size he makes up for with great technical skill. He uses his body to make separation out of breaks, and he has some of the best hands in the NFL.
Quinn was Louisiana high school legend. At SMU in his senior season he caught 114 passes on 115 targets. Many of those passes were far off the mark yet he Quinn made the catch anyway. Quinn uses near perfect technique when catching a pass. Here he is getting open against the Jets to make a play.
Quinn only played 15 games because of injuries early in his career. He also played with some of the poorest QBs in the NFL so he has barely had a chance to show what he can do. Jamison Crowder is the Jets slot receiver this year, but his cap number for 2021 is $11.5 million which is ungodly for a slot receiver. Quinn could give at least equal production at a fraction of the cost.
Chris Hogan could be let go then put on the practice squad to open a space for Quinn. Hogan spent most of the year unemployed so it is not like teams will be knocking down the door to get him. Quinn has a much higher upside than Hogan who is a stop-gap player at this point in his career.
Five players the Jets should stay away from
1) Josh Rosen QB Miami
Rosen has been with two teams that desperately needed a franchise QB. Neither team wanted him as a cheap QB on the bench. That says a lot about what his coaches thought about him as a player.
2) Sidney Jones CB Philly
Jones had a first round grade after college, but the knee injury he had before the Draft has taken away what he once had. This is a passing league. Jones was benched late in the year due to ineffectiveness. Now he has been released after training camp. I guess things did not get better for him with time to heal. It is a shame. The kid had talent, but you can’t play a CB with a bad wheel.
3) J’Mon Moore WR Browns
The Jets need WRs, but Moore flamed out in Green Bay as a fourth round pick and now the Browns who have been searching for that third WR to go with Landry and Beckham. He showed flashes at Missouri, but he hasn’t made the transition well into the NFL.
4) Greg Mancz IOL Texans
Mancz was an All American as a player and student at Toledo in his college career. I had hopes the Jets would take him in the later rounds. He was a player of average talent but made up for it with spirited play and the ability to play nearly anywhere on the offensive line. Injuries have taken a toll on Mancz over the years so he doesn’t have the same ability as he once had. A great swing lineman is hard to find, but Mancz’s best days are well in his rear view mirror.
5) Mohamed Sanu WR Patriots
Sanu has had a good career after graduating from Rutgers. His years in Cincinnati and Atlanta were fruitful, but the ankle injury he suffered has zapped any appeal he would have for teams now. The Patriots thought so highly of him they invested a second round pick for his services, but if Belichick doesn’t want him when he needs receivers then Sanu is at the end of his days. He had but 15 receptions on 33 targets for 114 yards and zero TDs in 7 games in New England.
Interestingly if the Patriots had kept that draft pick they used on Sanu they could have drafted Denzel Mims instead of the Jets. Thanks Bill.
Eight players the Jets might target for their practice squad
1) William Holden OT/G Baltimore
Holden is a big, smart kid 6’ 7” 312 lbs from Vanderbilt who is 26 years old. He was drafted by Arizona in the fifth round in 2017. He has since spent time on the practice squads of the Colts, Saints, Cardinals (2nd time), Dolphins, Seahawks, 49ers and the Ravens. He is a right tackle or guard prospect only but gives the Jets a big smart body if they need him in a pinch.
2) Donovan Olumba CB Cleveland
A Division II product, Olumba shined with the Browns during camp, but Cleveland is loaded at CB. He was signed first by the Cowboys then spent the year on the Dallas practice squad. He is a big kid (6’ 2” 205 lbs) with tight hips so he has problems in man coverage. He would be a possible zone corner with the size to match up with big receivers of TEs.
3) Vosean Joseph LB Buffalo
Joseph is a lean fast linebacker from the University of Florida who was drafted in the fifth round in 2019 but spent the year on IR. He was never timed in the 40 because of injury, but he was one of the fastest LBs in the 2019 Draft. I would like Gregg Williams some time to see what he could do with Joseph. If he doesn’t work out you lose nothing, but if he sees the light the upside is huge.
4) Alex Taylor OT Cleveland
Taylor was a UDFA out of South Carolina State who chose to sign with Cleveland. He was released with an injury designation so the Jets would have to see the extent of the injury. As a player Taylor is as raw as they come. He was a basketball player the first two years in school when he switched to football. His size 6’ 8” 310 lbs is only outdone by his wingspan which is an enormous 88” or 7 1⁄3 feet. He is athletic for his size and will take some time to develop. That is what the practice squad is for.
5) Joe Jackson DE Dallas
Jackson has size (6’ 4” 275 lbs) with great length (34” arms). He is quick and fast (4.77/40 at 275 lbs). He is an athletic kid who is very raw in his technique. He needs some time to develop. The Jets need edge rushers. This player seems like good use of a practice squad spot.
6) Chris Orr LB Carolina
Orr is a player I highlighted back in January not for his exceptional abilities but because of his character. He is a smaller LB 6’ 0” (225 lbs) who had exceptional stats at Wisconsin with 188 tackles, 15 sacks, 3 FF and 2 INTs. He is a player who overcame a severe knee injury but still had the ability to make plays all over the field. He will be a special teams player in the pros, a potential difference make there. He could also be used as a 3rd down LB and a quality locker room voice.
7) Quin Blanding S Carolina
Blanding was a UDFA out of Virginia back in 2018 who signed with Washington. He has good size (6’ 2” 210 lbs) but ram a 4.63/40 which crushed his upside as a safety. He is a smart kid, but he still needs to play in the box, can cover TEs, and stop the run. He would be insurance if an injury occurred which left the Jets short in nickel situations.
8) T. J. Green S Carolina
Green is a player who I put on this list because I think he has some ability. I laugh because when he came out from Clemson in 2016 I just knew he would be way overdrafted because he ran a 4.34/40 which was the fastest 40 ever run by a safety at the Combine. His instincts at Clemson were poor, and he wasn’t a great tackler.
This does not mean Green is without talent. He has a lot of skills. Playing a position like safety takes knowledge and instincts you learn over time. Green could sit on a practice squad to see if he can gain some insight from the Gregg Williams coaching school. If activated the least Green could be is an excellent special teams maven.
So there is my preliminary list of players the Jets should look at.
I know you all have some favorites that you like as well. Who are they and why?
This is what I think.
What do you think?