The New York Jets unveiled their first depth chart of the 2017 season Saturday’s preseason opener against the Tennessee Titans looming.
Per usual, there were quite a few things that stuck out at first glance. We’ll chronicle everything you need to know about the team’s first depth chart of 2017 and what it could mean for those positional battles going forward.
**Note: Coach Todd Bowles said he put no time into formulating this first depth chart, so we’ll take just a little bit more time trying to analyze it.
1. Third-string Hack?
Christian Hackenberg has been getting more first-team reps in team drills than Bryce Petty for most of camp. Yet the first depth chart listed Petty as the No. 2 quarterback behind Josh McCown.
Perhaps this indicates the Jets aren’t confident enough in Hackenberg to give him significant game reps. That’s merely speculation, but it will be interesting to see how much Hackenberg plays Saturday night against the Titans.
The likely scenario is Josh McCown and the starters get a series or two, then Petty plays the rest of the first half and Hackenberg gets the entire second half. Maybe Bowles and the offensive coaching staff has other ideas.
2. Jalin Marshall assumes the WR2 role
Marshall will begin the season with a four-game suspension, but he could have a starting job waiting for him when he comes back. Marshall was listed as the second starting receiver opposite Robby Anderson after Quincy Enunwa was lost for the season.
Marshall’s suspension and fumbling woes from last season might have made him expendable entering camp. But the Jets appear willing to remain patient and give Marshall an opportunity upon his return. The name to watch to assume Marshall’s role is 2016 seventh-round pick Charone Peake. He was listed as a second-stringer behind Anderson.
3. Ben Ijalana listed ahead of Brandon Shell at right tackle
Many fans are hopeful second-year pro Brandon Shell can become a building block along New York’s offensive line, but he might start the preseason as a backup. Veteran Ben Ijalana was listed ahead of Shell at right tackle, indicating that Shell might not be as close as some thought to starting full-time.
Shell showed plenty of potential and didn’t allow a sack in three starts at the end of the 2016 season. He could win the job as camp forges on, and that will start with a strong showing Saturday.
4. Jordan Leggett listed as the third-string tight end
Jordan Leggett flaunted some of his talent by catching a touchdown pass during Saturday’s Green and White Scrimmage, but the rookie out of Clemson was listed third on the team’s depth chart behind Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Eric Tomlinson.
The reserve tight end role will be one to watch, as someone will have to replace Seferian-Jenkins for the first two weeks of the season due to a suspension. Leggett and Tomlinson could be duking it out for the replacement role.
5. Sheldon Richardson is back in an unflattering spot
The Jets apparently aren’t giving up on Sheldon Richardson… as an outside linebacker. The 2013 Defensive Rookie of the Year was slotted in the chart as a defensive end/outside linebacker, meaning Richardson could play both positions again in 2017.
This experiment failed mightily last season and Richardson posted the lowest sack total of his career. It’s stubborn for the Jets to give this another try, even if there’s a chance they utilize more 4-3 fronts this season. The Jets don’t have an abundance of talent at outside linebacker anyways, so why not put your greatest strength (the defensive line) in the best position to succeed? Richardson is not an edge rusher at 294 pounds.
6. Youngsters seize important roles at cornerback
The cornerback depth chart featured a couple of the more subtle surprises. Marcus Williams was listed as a third-stringer and was behind youngsters Juston Burris and Darryl Roberts. Burris was listed as Buster Skrine’s backup, while Roberts was behind Morris Claiborne.
7. Chandler Catanzaro leads the kicking competition… for now
Last, but certainly not least, the kicking battle! For now, Chandler Catanzaro holds the lead over Ross Martin, but a lot could change in this competition. Martin will enter the preseason opener with more momentum after a solid showing last week in camp and during the scrimmage. The first preseason game could play an immense role in the competition going forward.
Of course, feel free to check out the team’s inaugural depth chart below courtesy of the Associated Press’ Dennis Waszak.
— Dennis Waszak Jr. (@DWAZ73) August 8, 2017