Earlier this week, the Jets signed free agent wide receiver David Nelson to their active roster. Jets fans might not know too much about Nelson, so Bent's Game Analysis is here to give you the lowdown. We've been looking at game footage in detail to investigate what he could bring to the table.

The 26-year old Nelson is a 6'5", 215 pound receiver who was an undrafted free agent in 2010 out of Florida. He has started 17 games over the course of his three year career, catching 94 passes and scoring eight touchdowns. However, he missed most of last year with a torn ACL.

After the jump, a review of Nelson's career and observations from having looked at film from the past three seasons to evaluate some of his strengths and weaknesses.

Who is David Nelson?

David Nelson was an undrafted free agent in 2010, but was still quite well known, as he was a teammate of Tim Tebow's on the 2009 BCS champion Florida Gators. He finished third on the team, behind Aaron Hernandez and Riley Cooper, with 25 catches, the most memorable of which was on a Tebow jump pass in the championship game. In 2008, he had caught just 12 passes, but five were for touchdowns, underlining his ability to be a red zone threat. In 2007 (another national championship year) and 2006, he had caught a total of just nine passes.

After going undrafted, Nelson ended up with the Bills and won a spot on their roster, playing in 15 games and starting three. He would catch 31 passes as a rookie and then started 13 games in his second season, catching 61 passes for 658 yards and five touchdowns. Last season, he suffered a season ending knee injury during the opening day loss to the Jets and the Bills decided against re-signing him.

Cleveland picked him up instead, but he missed time in preseason and was only able to suit up for the final preseason game. Although he showed some flashes - catching four passes for 54 yards - he was targeted a total of 10 times, slipping twice, juggling a pass thrown behind him that the defender was able to break up and seeing another pass intended for him picked off. He did not make it through final cuts with the Browns and was signed by the Jets after they had worked him out last week.

The Numbers

Three seasons

32 games

17 starts

94 catches, 1,042 yards, eight touchdowns

11.1 yards per catch

64% catch rate

Six drops

No fumbles

Five career tackles

One offensive penalty committed

12 20+ yard plays but no 40+ yard plays

Observations

Based on all the footage watched, here was what Nelson brings to the table, divided into categories:

Usage - In Buffalo, Nelson was used almost exclusively as a slot receiver. He was on the outside just 10.5% of the time. However, interestingly, while with Cleveland in preseason, he played 32 of his 35 snaps on the outside. Clearly he had more of a possession receiver role in Buffalo, but they did look for him downfield a few times in that one game with the Browns. In 2011, the Bills also motioned Nelson into the backfield seven times, from where he stayed in to pass protect three times.

Deep threat - It's obvious from the fact that he has no 40-yard plays in the NFL that he hasn't been the kind of player to go deep very often. He ran a 4.54 forty at Florida's pro day in 2010, so he lacks that kind of speed. However, he does have a 38-inch vertical, which can be an asset not just in the red zone, but also on throws down the middle or to the outside, so he could still help to stretch the field even if he can't get deep separation. For his career, he has caught four passes for 111 yards on 14 balls thrown more than 20 yards downfield and none of these were more than 25 yards downfield.

Blocking - The standard of Nelson's blocking is a pleasant surprise. When blocking downfield, he has a good understanding of how to size his man up in order to prevent him from getting any kind of leverage advantage and the Bills actually relied on him to make key blocks from the slot in certain situations. As noted, Nelson lined up in the backfield and stayed in as a pass blocker three times in 2011. On each occasion he executed a cut block to allow the quarterback to get the throw off, although on one his man hit the quarterback after the throw was made. One went for a 60-yard touchdown and that's an interesting personnel option to have when lining up with five receivers as the Jets occasionally do. His run blocking when he motioned into the backfield or onto the tight end or tackles's outside shoulder was also pretty good. His one penalty came on a screen pass where he was blocking too early, before the ball was caught, and got hit with an offensive pass interference flag.

Routes - Nelson started off his career by doing most of the damage over the middle. 24 of his 31 catches as a rookie were on balls thrown between the numbers. However, in 2011, almost half of his catches came on the outside, so he seems to have broadened his scope. Nelson's route running isn't too bad - on one play, he froze a linebacker with a double move to find a gap in the zone and on another he started off like he was going to block, then ran a lazy out pattern before breaking sharp back to the ball. Like most possession receivers, he runs a lot of slants and out patterns and is sometimes able to use his size to box defenders out effectively. As noted, he did slip a couple of times in preseason though and he has had 11 passes thrown to him intercepted in his career, so perhaps he could do better at not allowing his man to undercut his route or contesting bad throws.

Hands - Nelson has a high catch rate and just six drops, so his hands are pretty solid. As a rookie, he let a high pass go through his hands in the season opener for a near interception and then failed to bring in a pass thrown behind him the following week, but then he didn't drop another pass until week eight of the following season. He then went through a span of five games where he had one drop in all but one, with all of them coming with a defender either draped all over him or about to lay the lumber. He was drop free over his last six games and in the first game of 2012, though. In terms of catching the ball, he usually does a good job of catching the ball cleanly, even when facing tight coverage or absorbing a hit. He doesn't make a ton of spectacular plays, but this catch was a nice one.

Yards after the catch - Statistically, he has not made a great deal of yardage after the catch with his numbers (3.2 YAC per reception) well below average, but he did break 11 tackles over his first three seasons, so there is some ability there to get a few extra yards. Here's one example of such a play.

Special Teams - Nelson hasn't been much of a special teams contributor over the course of his career. His tall, lanky frame doesn't really lend itself to such a role. He has no special teams tackles and no kick returning experience, other than fielding one punt in college.

Demeanor - Like most receivers, Nelson will occasionally get involved in trash talking with defensive backs or be demonstrative when not given a call following some physical coverage. He also can get fired up when he makes a big play. I saw nothing to suggest that he doesn't have a good attitude though and it would appear that he is a good teammate and hard worker.

Injuries - Nelson obviously had the torn knee ligament which ended his 2012 season prematurely, but the knee injury that sidelined him this preseason was reportedly an unrelated bone bruise. Prior to that, the only game he missed in his first two seasons was the final game of his rookie year with a rib injury. Clearly he has proved to the Jets he is healthy, but didn't get a chance to show the Browns enough in preseason. He had signed a deal for $680,000 with just $25,000 guaranteed in Cleveland.

Conclusions

Based on the footage I watched, Nelson can hopefully provide the Jets with a steady presence, a solid possession option and a potential upgrade in the red zone.

One other interesting wrinkle is the fact that the Jets have not actually activated Mike Goodson yet and will need to release somebody (or put someone on injured reserve) if they do so. Everyone's been talking about what Goodson will bring to the table in his first game on Monday night, but I wonder if it's even a foregone conclusion that he'll be active. They currently have a roster exemption in place, but that will have to be lifted if they activate him for Monday's game. This might factor into the wide receiver group over the next couple of weeks.

A couple of seasons ago, the Jets signed another former Bills player called Nelson to their active roster who was expected to contribute on offense, but he had migraine issues in practice, never played and in fact hasn't been in the league since. Hopefully this move will go a little better than that.

It remains to be seen what kind of contribution Nelson can make, but I want to leave you with this. It doesn't have much to do with football, but it sure does make a guy like Nelson easy to root for:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECKTzGtxHCs

Welcome to the Jets, David.

Some stats from PFF were used in the completion of this article.

Tags: BGA, Bent Double

Daily News Live: Mike Westhoff 00:03:54
Mike Westhoff joins Daily News Live to discuss the notion of the Jets tanking and Todd Bowles' job security prior to Jets camp on Thursday.

If you Googled 'New York Jets owner' early Thursday afternoon, it wasn't Woody Johnson who came up. Instead, it was New England Patriots QB Tom Brady.

Click below to see the image

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The Jets have claimed RB/KR Marcus Murphy off waivers, reports Brian Costello of the NY Post.

The Saints waived Murphy earlier this week.

Murphy, 25, played in 16 games for the Saints between 2015 and 2016 while being used mostly on special teams.

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Bill Cowher on set for the Thursday Night Football before the game between the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field. (Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports)
Bill Cowher on set for the Thursday Night Football before the game between the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field. (Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports)

Former NFL head coach and current CBS analyst Bill Cowher believes Jets coach Todd Bowles has a tough challenge ahead this season. 

After going 5-11 this year, the Jets have lost key pieces on both sides of the ball, and Cowher says this will only make things harder for New York's third-year head coach. 

"The biggest challenge for Todd is to create a culture of winning because I think until you win the close games, until you win back-to-back, there's constantly going to be that one point in the game where you say, 'Oh boy, here we go again,'" Cowher said, according to Newsday.

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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

At this point, the entire Jets roster, season and future can be summed up with one big question mark. No one seems to know - or at least fully understand -- exactly what they're doing and whether whatever plans they have can actually work.

So I know you've got plenty of questions. I'll take my best chance at giving you some answers here in my pre-training camp reader mailbag, Part II...

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 (Ed Mulholland)
(Ed Mulholland)

Despite the uncertainty the Jets face this season at many positions, Matt Forte believes this year's team will have better environment in the locker room. 

This offseason, the Jets have seen Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker and Ryan Fitzpatrick, among others, leave for other teams. 

"It's a detriment to a team if you have guys that are selfish and only want to get their job done for a certain reason instead of the main reason, being for all of us to get our job done to win," Forte said, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini. 

Tags: Matt Forte
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Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Lucky Whitehead (13) during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Cowboys won 35-10. (Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports)
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Lucky Whitehead (13) during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Cowboys won 35-10. (Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports)

Giants safety Duke Ihenacho believes the rival Cowboys completely botched the situation with Lucky Whitehead, who was recently cut and claimed off waivers by the Jets. 

Whitehead, 25, had been involved last week in an apparent case of mistaken identity, where he was initially implicated for shoplifting. Ihenacho took to Twitter to lash out at the Cowboys for getting rid of the innocent player. 

Tags: Dallas Cowboys
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Loud Mouths: Ralph Vacchiano 00:05:05
SNY's NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano joins Loud Mouths to play a round of Boom or Bust on the upcoming NFL season.

 (Brad Rempel)
(Brad Rempel)

The Jets have claimed former Cowboys WR Lucky Whitehead off waivers and cut WR Devin Street, the team announced Wednesday.

Whitehead, 25, had been involved last week in an apparent case of mistaken identity, where he was initially implicated for shoplifting.


Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

On the surface this seems like an odd and unnecessary move for a rebuilding Jets team. Yes, Whitehead was apparently an innocent victim of mistaken identity in his recent "arrest." But the Cowboys decision to cut him anyway for an alleged pattern of bad behavior should raise plenty of red flags...

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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

At this point, the entire Jets roster, season and future can be summed up with one big question mark. No one seems to know - or at least fully understand -- exactly what they're doing and whether whatever plans they have can actually work.

So I know you've got plenty of questions. I'll take my best chance at giving you some answers here in my pre-training camp reader mailbag, Part I...

Read More

GEICO SportsNite: Davis on camp 00:01:56
Jets linebacker Demario Davis speaks with Michelle Yu about training camp opening up this weekend.

Jets linebacker Demario Davis speaks with Michelle Yu about training camp opening up this weekend.

Tags: Demario Davis
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 (Orlando Jorge Ramirez)
(Orlando Jorge Ramirez)

Former Chargers G Orlando Franklin had a visit with the Jets today, per ESPN's Adam Schefter. 

Franklin, 29, was released from the Chargers after they drafted Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney in the second and third rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft. 

He signed a five-year, $36.5 million contract with the Chargers in 2015. 

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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The word that defined the Jets during the offseason was "rebuilding" - unless, of course, you were Jets GM Mike Maccagnan. To him, it was all about "competition". And with a roster in flux, he certainly has created a lot of that.

Whether that's a good thing remains to be seen, and depends on the talent he has assembled. He will have plenty of training camp position battles to watch, though.

Here's a quick look at the Top 5..

Tags: Brandon Shell, Brent Qvale, Buster Skrine, Christian Hackenberg, Jalin Marshall, Juston Burris, Lorenzo Mauldin, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Wilfredo Lee/AP)
(Wilfredo Lee/AP)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Even though they didn't pick a wide receiver in the first six rounds, a trio of rookie wideouts made significant contributions for the Jets in 2016. Charone Peake, who was selected in the seventh round, combined with undrafted rookies Robby Anderson and Jalin Marshall to register 75 catches for 935 yards and four touchdowns.

Preseason Stats: Jalin Marshall: 9-94, Charone Peake: 10-103-TD, Robby Anderson: 13-264-3TD.

Tags: Charone Peake, Jalin Marshall
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New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) warms up before a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) warms up before a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV:

It's hard to pick out the most important players on a team that has such low expectations. In the case of the Jets, tomorrow matters more than today, and the most important players now might not be part of their long-term future.

Or to put it another way: Who is more important - Josh McCown or Christian Hackenberg? A resurgence by McCown could cause the Jets to surprise some people. But is that more important than Hackenberg proving whether he can be the Jets' quarterback of the future?

Tags: Christian Hackenberg, Ralph Vacchiano
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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The evidence is hard to refute. They jettisoned almost every recognizable veteran they had. They didn't add any significant free agents. The veteran quarterback they added is a 38-year-old journeyman. The Jets were 5-11 last season, and it's hard to argue this year won't be worse.

So yes, it sure does look like the Jets are "tanking" this season, with their eyes on the top of next year's quarterback-rich draft. They're not, of course. Tanking is almost impossible to do effectively, especially in the NFL. But they are doing a bit of scorched-Earth rebuilding and know they are in for a long, losing season.

There'll be a lot of short-term pain. And intentional or not, for the long run that's not so bad...

Tags: Charone Peake, Christian Hackenberg, Quincy Enunwa, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye run a drill during Jets rookie minicamp, (AP)
Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye run a drill during Jets rookie minicamp, (AP)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Jamal Adams, the Jets' top draft pick and one of the cornerstones of their rebuilding project, agreed to terms on his rookie contract on Thursday night and is expected to be at training camp on time when it opens in eight days.

The agreement, announced by agents on Twitter and confirmed by the Jets on Friday, is projected to be worth about $22.2 million over four years with a signing bonus of approximately $14.3 million. The money is fully guaranteed for the No. 6 overall pick out of LSU. As with all first-round picks, Adams' deal also includes a team option for the fifth year.

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New York Jets wide receiver Chad Hansen runs a drill during their organized team activities at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets wide receiver Chad Hansen runs a drill during their organized team activities at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

When safety Jamal Adams agreed to his rookie contract Thursday, the Jets finally locked up all nine of their draft picks. And that's good; given the state of their roster, they're probably going to need all of them.

There certainly will be plenty of opportunities for all the draftees on this young and rebuilding team, and maybe even a few undrafted free agents too. The Jets will enter camp next Friday with an open mind at almost every position, both for this year and in the future. Almost all jobs will be somewhat up for grabs.

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JRSportBrief: McCown & the Jets 00:01:36
In the latest installment of JRSportBrief on SNY.tv, JR explains why Josh McCown just needs to hold down the fort for the Jets.

Jets quarterback Josh McCown gave his new team a vote of confidence in an interview with ESPN's First Take on Thursday, highlighting the positives he has seen from both veterans and newcomers alike.

"There's still some guys there that are pros," McCown said. "When you watch how a guy like Matt Forte comes in and does his job every day, Mo Wilkerson had a great spring, came in and worked hard, and our rookies coming along, Jamal Adams so impressive coming in as a rookie out of LSU, a high draft pick."

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 (Mark J. Rebilas)
(Mark J. Rebilas)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Darron Lee had his ups and downs after being the Jets' first round pick last season, but the team seems compelled to proceed with the plan to build around him as one of the cornerstones of the defense. Entering his first season, everyone knew that Lee was a terrific athlete, but he still had to prove he had the instincts to play inside linebacker in a pro-style defense.

Preseason Stats: Four games, no starts, seven tackles, one sack

Tags: Darron Lee
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New York Jets outside linebacker Darron Lee makes a tackle on Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. (Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets outside linebacker Darron Lee makes a tackle on Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. (Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)

According to NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy, the NFL is still reviewing an incident invovling Jets' LB Darron Lee and DE Leonard Williams from early June, reports ESPN's Rich Cimini. 

The incident occured at Governors Ball Music Festival on Randalls Island in June where Lee had to be restrained by Williams after getting into an argument with a woman. An eye witness video showed Williams getting in between his teammate, and eventually, carrying him away from the argument.

Jets' head coach Todd Bowles later indentified the woman as Lee's girlfriend, and noted that the team will not be disciplining the linebacker. However, he thinks he needs to take caution in the future. 

"You don't want that stuff to happen, obviously," Bowles said earlier on the situation. "With social media going on these days, they've got to take better care of themselves. Darron understands that. I just know, from the past, any time you go to a concert, there's going to be trouble around, just as an ex-player and as a coach. When you go to a concert, a lot of things can happen. You have to be very mindful and very aware of where you are, and your surroundings -- and handle yourself better and keep yourself out of trouble."

Tags: Darron Lee, Leonard Williams
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New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles (right) and wide receivers coach Karl Dorrell against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles (right) and wide receivers coach Karl Dorrell against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected starters: Demario Davis, Darron Lee

Projected backups: Bruce Carter, Connor Harris

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Jordan Jenkins, Lorenzo Mauldin
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New York Jets punter Lachlan Edwards (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets punter Lachlan Edwards (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected specialists: Chandler Catanzaro (K), Lachlan Edwards (P), Tanner Purdum (LS), Jalin Marshall (KR/PR)

Key contributors: Rontez Miles, Josh Martin, Dylan Donahue, Juston Burris, Charone Peake

Tags: Antonio Allen, BGA, Calvin Pryor, Charone Peake, Darrelle Revis, David Harris, Dexter McDougle, Jalin Marshall, Juston Burris, Loc Edwards, Nick Folk, Quincy Enunwa, Ronald Martin, Rontez Miles, Tanner Purdum
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New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (81) runs for a touchdown (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (81) runs for a touchdown (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)

Speaking with the New York Post, Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa said he would not be surprised if the Jets have another struggling, losing season in 2017. 

"It's hard to argue [with] that," Enunwa said, "when everybody else sees all the stuff that's going on."

This offseason, the Jets have cut ties with many players, including receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. Despite the possibility of another tough year ahead, Enunwa believes the players will still play hard when the season begins. 

Tags: Quincy Enunwa
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Former Jets QB Chad Pennington believes head coach Todd Bowles deserves the chance to turn the team around, per Brett Bonder of NY Daily News. 

If the Jets are to tank this sesaon, Pennington doesn't think it will be fair to put the blame on Bowles as he thinks he is the right guy for the job.

"My one hope for the Jets is that they give coach Bowles a chance to right the ship, don't pull everything away from him and then make him the reason why they're getting rid of him because of the lack of success," Pennington said. "He is the right guy, I think he showed that in his first year, last year wan an anomaly and this year you can see, wow, what a task he has."

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 (David Butler II)
(David Butler II)

Former Jets WR Brandon Marshall said he requested his release because he couldn't deal with the Jets not having a chance this season, per ESPN's Eric Cimini. 

Marshall was on WFAN's Boomer and Carton Show Thursday where he admitted his former team wasn't going to have a good 2017 season, and he didn't want to be a part of it.

"I wouldn't have made it through an entire season, knowing we didn't have a chance," Marshall said. 

Tags: Brandon Marshall
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 (Jayne Kamin-Oncea)
(Jayne Kamin-Oncea)

USC QB Sam Darnold said last week's report that he might remain in school instead of entering the 2018 NFL Draft did not come from him, but remained vague about his future.

"I don't really have many thoughts about that," the potential No. 1 pick said during an appearance on ESPN's "The Fix". "I don't think any team should tank their season because of me. I'm just taking this every day, one day at a time. That's all I can do."

"I'm looking forward to whatever lies ahead of my future," he said. "But I'm really just taking it one day at a time."

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 (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
(Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

After a solid rookie season, Jordan Jenkins is hoping to thrive in a full-time role in 2017. The 23-year old has spent part of his offseason back in Georgia, working on his pass rush techniques with pass rush guru Chuck Smith.

Preseason Stats: Two games, two starts, four tackles, no sacks, two quarterback hits.

Tags: Jordan Jenkins
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 (Kirby Lee)
(Kirby Lee)

Projected Starters: Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye

Projected Back-ups: Rontez Miles

On the bubble: Shamarko Thomas, Ronald Martin, Doug Middleton, Corey White

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Giants offensive lineman Justin Pugh took to Twitter to take some playful jabs at the Jets and their fans, but not before Jets defensive Muhammad Wilkerson chimed in.

Tags: Justin Pugh, Muhammad Wilkerson
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