New York Jets
Robby Sabo, ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

Now that the 2018 NFL Draft is over and many youngsters were acquired, it’s time to figure out where they fit on the New York Jets depth chart.

It’s over. It’s done. It was magnificent.

Well, it can only be described as magnificent from a quarterback and defensive point of view. Not selecting one single offensive lineman is a crime, but more on that on another day.

For now, we evaluate the reality of the six rookie New York Jets newcomers.


All told, Mike Maccagnan drafted three offensive players, three defensive players and also snagged another defensive player via a Day 3 draft trade. Here’s the complete 2018 draft class:

  • Round 1, No. 3: Sam Darnold, QB-USC
  • Round 3, No. 72: Nathan Shepherd, DL-Fort Hays
  • Round 4, No. 107: Chris Herndon, TE-Miami
  • Round 6, No. 179: Parry Nickerson, CB-Tulane
  • Round 6, No. 180: Foley Fatukasi, DL-UConn
  • Round 6, No. 204: Trenton Cannon, RB-Virginia State

Other than the obvious issue of no offensive lineman (sorry, it’s extremely annoying and obvious), not a bad word can be used to describe the six above.

Current Depth Chart

Sam Darnold
Robby Sabo, ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

Quarterback:

  1. Sam Darnold*
  2. Josh McCown
  3. Christian Hackenberg
  4. Teddy Bridgewater
  5. Bryce Petty

I doubt Teddy Bridgewater makes the cut. Early news out of minicamp has the kid extremely shaky health-wise and now that Sam Darnold’s in tow, there’s absolutely no pressure to keep the former Louisville product.

If Bridgewater’s health improves, he’ll slot in at No. 3 instead of Christian Hackenberg. Bryce Petty’s fate is most likely another organization via trade.

Darnold’s listed at No. 1 due to the idea he’s by far the most talented among the bunch. I don’t doubt the Jets ability to inappropriately hold the kid back and start Josh McCown at first, but eventually, we all know who the new face is.

Running Back:

  1. Bilal Powell
  2. Isaiah Crowell
  3. Elijah McGuire
  4. Trenton Cannon*
  5. Thomas Rawls
  6. Akeem Judge

Nothing’s guaranteed for any sixth-round pick, but Trenton Cannon possesses serious abilities that fit the Jets backfield like a glove. He’s more of the third-down ilk and showcases serious return-game abilities. It’s something the Jets sorely lack up and down the depth chart.

Odds are, he’ll beat out Thomas Rawls for the safe No. 4 spot on the 53.

New York Jets

Fullback:

  1. Lawrence Thomas

No rookies here and in fact, nobody knows what the fullback position holds until training camp comes.

Wide Receiver:

  1. Robby Anderson
  2. Jermaine Kearse
  3. Quincy Enunwa
  4. Terrelle Pryor
  5. Chad Hansen
  6. ArDarius Stewart
  7. Charone Peake
  8. Andre Roberts
  9. Lucky Whitehead
  10. Tre McBride
  11. Charles Johnson

No rookie wide receivers either, which is a bit of a different avenue compared to Maccagnan’s first few drafts as an NFL GM. Quincy Enunwa’s return makes all the difference in the world.

Tight End:

  1. Chris Herndon*
  2. Jordan Leggett
  3. Clive Walford
  4. Eric Tomlinson
  5. Neal Sterling
  6. Bucky Hodges

Listen, for the tight end position to actually amount to a legit group in 2018, the rookie, Chris Herndon, will have to emerge as the guy.

He was a little overshadowed by 2017 first-rounder David Njoku at Miami for much of collegiate career, but is a solid fourth-round selection. During his senior season, he caught 40 balls for 477 yards and four scores for the Hurricanes. Better yet, he’s a more than capable blocker along the edge.

New York Jets
Robby Sabo, ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

Tackle:

  1. Kelvin Beachum (LT)
  2. Brandon Shell (RT)
  3. Ben Ijalana
  4. Brett Qvale

Guard:

  1. Brian Winters (RG)
  2. James Carpenter (LG)
  3. Dakota Dozier
  4. Jonotthan Harrison
  5. Ben Braden

Center:

  1. Spencer Long
  2. Travis Swanson

As previously mentioned … twice (out of frustration), no rookies were taken along the offensive line. How this could possibly happen, I’m still flabbergasted.

No NFL offense possesses the capabilities to flourish with an average to below average left tackle such as Kelvin Beachum locking it down. James Carpenter, while playing wonderfully two seasons ago, is now in a full decline. We understand Brian Winters was hurt all season in 2017, so his return should help. But unless Brandon Shell suddenly turns into Superman and Spencer Long crazily finds a magic pill to stay healthy, this line is one of the worst in the league.

It was a worry two Augusts ago, heading into last season and will be again all summer long.

Interior Defensive Line:

  1. Leonard Williams (DE)
  2. Steve McLendon (NT)
  3. Nathan Shepherd (DE)*
  4. Henry Anderson (DE)
  5. Deon Simon (NT)
  6. Foley Fatukasi (DE)*
  7. Xavier Cooper (DE)
  8. Mike Pennel (DE)
  9. Claude Pelon (DE)

If the offensive line was labeled as an emergency heading into the NFL Draft, the interior defensive line didn’t trail by much. At least the Jets took care of one side of the trenches by way of collegiate prospects.

Third-round selection Nathan Shepherd is a small-school lineman that, hopefully, represents a home run in the long run. If he can plug the opposite interior side of Leonard Williams, watch out.

Foley Fatuski is a sixth rounder and will have to battle his way come August.

In addition to rookies, Maccagnan executed a shrewd low-risk, high-reward move by acquiring former third-round DL Henry Anderson from the Indianapolis Colts for a seventh-round selection. Injuries—like many of Maccagnan’s acquisitions—have been Anderson’s issue at this level.

EDGE / OLB:

  1. Jordan Jenkins
  2. Lorenzo Mauldin
  3. Josh Martin
  4. Kevin Pierre-Louis
  5. Brandon Copeland
  6. Dylan Donahue
  7. Freddie Bishop
  8. Obum Gwachum

Move over offensive line. The edge spot remains empty and has been since a man named John Abraham. No incoming rookies on the edge and it’s a dire situation.

Inside Linebacker:

  1. Darron Lee
  2. Avery Williamson
  3. Kevin Minter
  4. Neville Hewitt
  5. Micah Awe

In stark contrast to the edge, inside linebacker is stout. With newcomer Avery Williamson pairing with young Darron Lee, Todd Bowles’ inside-backing situation is solid. Even Kevin Minter as that third guy who can run around on special teams’ units makes for a nice, deep chart at this spot.

NFL

Cornerback:

  1. Morris Claiborne
  2. Trumaine Johnson
  3. Buster Skrine
  4. Parry Nickerson*
  5. Juston Burris
  6. Darryl Roberts
  7. Rashard Robinson
  8. Kacy Rodgers II
  9. Derrick Jones
  10. Jeremy Clark
  11. Xavier Coleman
  12. Bryson Keeton
  13. Terrell Sinkfield

Sixth-round selection Parry Nickerson out of Tulane is an absolute wild card right now. His ceiling could be as high as the nickel back, forcing Buster Skrine and his money out of the equation completely. His floor could be as low as a training camp cut.

One thing’s for sure, he’s built as a perfect NFL slot corner.

Safety:

  1. Jamal Adams (SS)
  2. Marcus Maye (FS)
  3. Terrence Brooks
  4. Rontez Miles
  5. Doug Middleton

The safety position is a pretty set group thanks to the draft of a year ago.

Special Teams:

  • Cairo Santos (K)
  • Lachlan Edwards (P)
  • Nick Rose (K)
  • Thomas Hennessy (LS)

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