Since the NFL draft, Joe Douglas has been active in scouring the free agent market for the New York Jets, addressing the team’s final few needs. With the signings of three experienced veterans, Randall Cobb, Billy Turner, and Al Woods, all within just days of the draft, the Jets added depth at positions that needed it.
This offseason for Jets fans has been one of a kind and as enjoyable as it gets to say the least, with the addition of Aaron Rodgers. The consensus expectation for this football team has instantly become Super Bowl or bust from the moment official confirmation of the deal for Rodgers was given two weeks ago.
The Jets are now in Phase 2 of their offseason program, and training camp will be here before we know it. With the recent acquisitions only bolstering the competition to round out the roster for the Jets and improving weaknesses on paper, let’s now take an early look at what the Jets’ 53-man roster could look like for the 2023 season.
2023 New York Jets early 53-man roster prediction:
Quarterback (2): Aaron Rodgers, Zach Wilson
Of course, all eyes will be on Aaron Rodgers with the expected spark he is here to bring from the jump. With a fully-guaranteed salary, Zach Wilson will be on the roster. The question is, will they trust him enough to be the backup? Or, will they add a third quarterback to the group to be the second-string?
Tim Boyle and Chris Streveler will likely need strong showings this summer to make it.
Running Back (4): Breece Hall, Michael Carter, Israel Abanikanda, Bam Knight
All four running backs here for the Jets are very young players. Michael Carter is the most experienced, now going into year three with the Jets. Breece Hall and Bam Knight enter into year two together after strong rookie seasons. The new addition is an exciting 20-year-old rookie from Brooklyn, Israel Abanikanda, who adds more speed to this group.
Should Hall not be fully cleared for Week 1, it opens up a roster spot. Fullback Nick Bawden could make a case for himself.
Wide Receiver (6): Garrett Wilson, Allen Lazard, Corey Davis, Mecole Hardman, Randall Cobb, Denzel Mims
The first five here, Garrett Wilson, Allen Lazard, Corey Davis, Mecole Hardman, and Randall Cobb are all locks. They complement one another well, each providing a unique skill set, and will give Rodgers a chance to get back in the MVP conversation.
Once again, many questions surround the status of now fourth-year Jet Denzel Mims. Here, he sticks. However, his chances are certainly more up in the air.
Tight End (3): Tyler Conklin, CJ Uzomah, Jeremy Ruckert
The Jets’ top three tight ends from a year ago remain the same. Tyler Conklin could be primed for a big year with Rodgers. CJ Uzomah will have an important role with his leadership and blocking. In his second year, Jeremy Ruckert should have a bigger role in the Jets’ offense.
Rookie seventh-round pick, Zack Kuntz, was the last cut for me here. His rare combination of size and athletic traits gives Kuntz a monumental upside.
Offensive Line (10): Duane Brown, Laken Tomlinson, Joe Tippmann, Alijah Vera-Tucker, Mekhi Becton, Connor McGovern, Billy Turner, Carter Warren, Max Mitchell, Wes Schweitzer
While there may be concerns with the starting five, Douglas has unquestionably built strong depth at his favorite position. Alijah Vera-Tucker, Mekhi Becton, and Duane Brown, all being healthy should make a difference. A bounce-back year is needed from Laken Tomlinson. The competition at center between Joe Tippmann and Connor McGovern should be fascinating throughout camp.
From a depth standpoint, the Jets added two veterans with experience and versatility, Billy Turner and Wes Schweitzer. Schweitzer can play any of the three interior positions. Turner can play tackle or guard and on either side of the line. At tackle, the Jets spent fourth-round picks the past two years on Max Mitchell and Carter Warren who will round out that position.
Two players to also keep an eye on are tackle Cedric Ogbuehi and guard/center Trystan Colon.
Defensive End (6): John Franklin-Myers, Carl Lawson, Bryce Huff, Jermaine Johnson, Will McDonald IV, Micheal Clemons
The collection of pass rushers at defensive end the Jets have is thrilling, to say the least. After much speculation leading up to the offseason, Carl Lawson will be back. On early downs, John Franklin-Myers will start opposite him.
Jermaine Johnson and Micheal Clemons should each take a step in their second years. Now, to go along with Bryce Huff, the Jets have another talented edge rush specialist in Will McDonald IV. This group should wreak havoc all year for the Jets.
Defensive Tackle (4): Quinnen Williams, Quinton Jefferson, Al Woods, Solomon Thomas
The Jets should have their 2022 MVP, Quinnen Williams, signed to a new deal soon. Two key signings were made in the last five weeks with Quinton Jefferson and Al Woods. Woods should help the Jets run defense, and Jefferson as a pass rusher on throwing downs with Williams and Franklin-Myers inside. Solomon Thomas has five years of experience with Robert Saleh and rounds this group out.
Linebacker (5): C.J. Mosley, Quincy Williams, Jamien Sherwood, Zaire Barnes, Hamsah Nasirildeen
The intriguing question at linebacker for the Jets currently is whether or not they will re-sign Kwon Alexander. If so, it likely leads to a practice squad spot for Hamsah Nasirildeen.
Bringing back Alexander to go along with C.J. Mosley and Quincy Williams gives the Jets a quality starting trio. If not, though, Jamien Sherwood may be ready for an increased role in his third year. Rookie Zaire Barnes will be a part of this group and likely have a role on special teams.
Cornerback (5): Sauce Gardner, DJ Reed, Michael Carter II, Brandin Echols, Bryce Hall
Arguably the best cornerback trio in the National Football League is set to run it back for the Jets in 2023. Sauce Gardner, DJ Reed, and Michael Carter II will yet again all be core leaders to this expected top-five unit.
After Gardner, Reed, and Carter, the Jets also have some quality depth. Brandin Echols asserted himself well as the fourth corner last year with his versatility to play both on the outside and in the slot. Bryce Hall is likely not a roster lock, but a great fifth option to have here rounding out the group and sticks on the roster for now.
Safety (4): Chuck Clark, Jordan Whitehead, Tony Adams, Jarrick Bernard-Converse
The Jets have some interesting depth at safety. To start, the two clear locks are Chuck Clark and Jordan Whitehead. Rookie sixth-round pick Jarrick Bernard-Converse also seems well-positioned to make it.
The final spot here goes to Tony Adams, who flashed promise toward the end of last year as an undrafted rookie. Adams can be the true free safety that the Jets need.
Two players worth mentioning with a chance of making it are Will Parks and Ashtyn Davis.
Special Teams (4): Greg Zuerlein, Thomas Morstead, Thomas Hennessy, Justin Hardee
With the wise decision to bring back Thomas Morstead in free agency, the Jets are looking fairly complete on special teams entering 2023. Greg Zuerlein is coming off a great first year with the Jets and was re-signed early in free agency. Long-snapper Thomas Hennessy is the Jets’ longest-tenured player, who recently signed a long-term extension through 2027. One of the Jets Pro Bowlers from last season, Justin Hardee, will remain a core contributor in punt coverage.