Joe Douglas' first full offseason with the Jets has been an eventful one.
After vowing to prioritize building around quarterback Sam Darnold, Douglas has delivered, though perhaps more so on the line than in terms of playmakers. Still, the Jets have seemingly addressed some previous weaknesses and have also added depth throughout the roster.
Unquestionably, there is still work to be done, but the Jets' 90-man roster certainly seems to be improved from the group that disappointed in 2019 with a 7-9 record, good for third in the AFC East.
While there are many uncertainties regarding when and how the NFL's preseason and regular season will take place, we do know that eventually the roster will need to be trimmed down to 55 players (a permanent 53-man roster with the ability to elevate two practice squad players each week, per the new CBA).
So with all the additions (and subtractions) that the Jets have made this offseason, here's a way-too-early prediction at the 55-man roster for the 2020 season:
QUARTERBACKS (3): Sam Darnold, unsigned veteran backup, James Morgan
Darnold, of course, is a lock to be the Jets' starting quarterback in 2020, barring injury. And while the team drafted Morgan in the fourth round, he's likely viewed as more of a developmental project than a true backup. I expect the Jets will bring in a veteran prior to training camp beginning, and there are names out there like Joe Flacco, Blake Bortles, and Mike Glennon who could make sense. And don't forget Trevor Siemian, who was with the Jets last season and is still unsigned after last year's ankle injury.
RUNNING BACKS (4): Le'Veon Bell, Frank Gore, La'Michal Perine, Josh Adams
It's no secret that Adam Gase and the Jets want to have more of a running back rotation than they did last season. Bell handled a bit too much of the load, even though his numbers didn't match up to previous seasons. Expect a different look for the Jets in terms of running back usage this season, with the ultra-reliable Gore being brought in as a free agent and Perine drafted as a potential change-of-pace option. The Jets appear to have better depth at running back this season than they did with Bilal Powell and Ty Montgomery in 2019.
TIGHT ENDS (4): Ryan Griffin, Chris Herndon, Trevon Wesco, Ross Travis
Griffin had a breakout second half for Gang Green last season, and the Jets rewarded him with a new contract. He seemed to develop some solid chemistry with Darnold, and even with Herndon returning from a 2019 season lost to suspension and injury, Griffin could become Darnold's security blanket. Wesco is more of a blocking option who could also be used as a fullback, and though Travis is probably a fringe roster player, his 6-foot-6 frame could make for an interesting option for Gase.
WIDE RECEIVERS (6): Breshad Perriman, Jamison Crowder, Denzel Mims, Vyncint Smith, Josh Doctson, Braxton Berrios
With Quincy Enunwa officially put on the PUP list and his season over before it began, the Jets' depth at wide receiver is certainly an issue. The notion of what a true "No. 1 receiver" means in the NFL anymore is up for debate, but the Jets don't seem to have that one receiver who can demand double-teams or take over a game. Perriman adds some speed that the team lost in Robby Anderson, Crowder should have a big impact from the slot, and Mims could be a fascinating rookie to watch, but there's not much depth after that. Doctson is a former first-round pick, but his NFL career has never lived up to that draft status.
OFFENSIVE LINE (9): George Fant, Chuma Edoga, Mekhi Becton, Cameron Clark, Jonotthan Harrison, Greg Van Roten, Alex Lewis, Connor McGovern, Josh Andrews
The offensive line is where Douglas and the Jets did most of their heavy lifting in free agency and the draft, and on paper at least, the line should be much, much better in 2020 than last season. The interior of the line looks very solid with McGovern in the middle flanked by Lewis and Van Roten, but the tackle spots could still be a question. Fant must prove that he can be a reliable starter after coming over from Seattle, and Becton will likely need to adapt to the NFL game quickly as he projects as the team's starting right tackle as a rookie. But there does seem to be depth here with players like Harrison, Edoga, and Andrews, who all have some experience.
DEFENSIVE LINE (6): Quinnen Williams, Steve McLendon, Henry Anderson, Kyle Philips, Jordan Willis, Folorunso Fatukasi
Williams' rookie season was fairly inconsistent, though he did miss some time due to injury. The hope is that the former third overall pick can take a big leap forward in Year 2 and be a disruptive force on the interior of the line. McLendon has been solid as a nose tackle, but it's unclear how much he has left in the tank. There are certainly still plenty of questions about this group up front. Don't discount Anderson, though, despite his sack total dropping from 7.0 in 2018 to 1.0 in 2019. If the Jets can play with more of a rotation up front, fresh legs could do wonders for Anderson and the rest of the group.
OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS (5): Tarell Basham, Jordan Jenkins, Harvey Langi, Jabari Zuniga, unsigned veteran free agent
Outside linebacker is the one spot the Jets seemingly needed to address but have not, at least to this point. Bringing Jenkins back on a one-year deal was a much-needed move in the short term, but after Jenkins, do the Jets have any reliable pass-rushing threats at outside linebacker? Can Zuniga, the team's third-round pick, step up and be productive as rookie? Sure, Jadeveon Clowney is still out there, but at what price? This could be a spot the Jets address again before camp starts. Perhaps Vinny Curry, who was with Douglas in Philadelphia, could be an option closer to the season, though Curry has traditionally played with his hand in the dirt in a 4-3 scheme.
INSIDE LINEBACKERS (5): C.J. Mosley, Blake Cashman, Neville Hewitt, Avery Williamson, Patrick Onwuasor
Gang Green's inside linebackers group was ravaged by injuries last season, from Williamson's ACL tear late in a preseason game, to Mosley's Week 1 groin injury that kept him out for virtually all of his first season in New York. Cashman, a fifth-round pick out of Minnesota, started five games before he was also sidelined for the rest of the season due to injury. If this group can stay healthy, it should be one of the better pieces of Gregg Williams' defense.
CORNERBACKS (6): Pierre Desir, Brian Poole, Blessuan Austin, Bryce Hall, Nate Hairston, Quincy WIlson
There are a lot of question marks at cornerback, especially since Trumaine Johnson and Darryl Roberts have both been let go. But the way things are right now, Desir looks to be an upgrade on the outside and Poole should be solid once again in the slot. But who else starts outside? Austin had a fine rookie season, while Hairston struggled to make many big plays. Keep an eye out for Hall, who slid to the fifth round in this year's draft despite a tremendous skill set. He could be a dark horse to start, as could Wilson, who was acquired in a trade from Indy during the draft.
SAFETIES (4): Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye, Ashtyn Davis, unsigned veteran free agent
Adams, despite his desire for a new contract that could be viewed as a distraction, will continue to lead the safety group for the Jets. There have been conflicting reports about whether or not the team is shopping Maye, though it's possible Davis, a third-round pick, could see the field a lot as a rookie. I still think there's a decent chance the Jets bring in a veteran on a one-year deal to add more depth, with players like Morgan Burnett or Reshad Jones, or perhaps even Eric Berry, as options.
SPECIALISTS (3): Braden Mann, Brett Maher, Thomas Hennessy
The Jets didn't draft a punter like Mann in the sixth round to not have him on the roster. Kicker will be an interesting battle for the Jets, who have both Maher and Sam Ficken on the roster, and even though Maher had his struggles with Dallas in 2019, he still figures to be a stronger option than Ficken, who missed eight attempts with the Jets last season.