Over the course of the offseason, the Jets made six draft picks and have brought in 10 undrafted free agents. Let's attempt to rank each of those additions in terms of their importance for the upcoming season.
Only official rookies qualify for this list. While you would need a certain level of playing time to lose your rookie status in baseball, the NFL determines rookie status solely by when you were drafted. Therefore, cornerbacks Derrick Jones, Jeremy Clark and Xavier Coleman, who all saw brief action even though they only played three defensive snaps between them, are no longer rookies.
Even a Ben Simmons-style rookie who didn't see any action in his rookie season doesn't count as a rookie under NFL rules, so that rules out offensive lineman Ben Braden - who spent the year on the Jets' practice squad - and kicker Taylor Bertolet, who the Jets' site erroneously lists as a rookie even though he played for the Rams in preseason last year.
16. CB Reggie Hall - Hall, a small school cornerback, was released after rookie camp.
15. OL Lord Hyeamang - Hyeamang was also released at the conclusion of rookie camp.
14. WR Jonah Trinnaman - The most recent addition doesn't have much chance of earning a roster spot with the logjam at the wide receiver position, but his elite-level athleticism could make him an interesting project at receiver or cornerback.
13. OL Darius James - James has some good potential as a run blocker but may lack the athleticism to play in the NFL at right tackle, his college position at Auburn.
12. OL Austin Golson - Golson ranks ahead of his college teammate James in this list due to his superior versatility. He's also a better athlete.
11. LB Frankie Luvu - Luvu, who earned a contract having attended rookie camp on a tryout basis, played both as an inside linebacker and on the edge in college.
10. DT Mych Thomas - Thomas is a good run-stuffer with two-gapping potential. The Jets could see him as a player they can groom to be part of their pipeline at nose tackle over the next year or so.
9. OL Dakoda Shepley - The affable Canadian Shepley seems to have the most potential of the three offensive linemen the Jets brought in.
8. LB Anthony Wint - Wint is another player who earned a contract at rookie camp. He also reportedly turned heads at OTAs. What he lacks in athleticism, Wint makes up for with outstanding intangibles.
7. CB Parry Nickerson - The sixth-round pick has a chance to be the Jets' nickel back, but that probably won't be until next year. He has all the tools to be an excellent slot corner but will need to develop there having played on the boundary in college.
6. RB Trenton Cannon - Cannon faces competition in camp but has a chance to have a key role as the team's primary return man. Reports indicate that Cannon, who was just a kickoff returner in college, was shaky fielding punts at times over the spring. However, the Jets seem to have prioritized speed and elusiveness over ball security in the past, so expect them to show patience.
5. DL Folorunso Fatukasi - Fatukasi was a consistently impressive run-stuffer in college but also generated some production as a pass rusher. He may need to improve on his play recognition, but Todd Bowles has said he'll contribute as part of the rotation at defensive end.
4. TE Chris Herndon - Herndon has a good opportunity to establish himself as a starter due to the Jets' lack of proven talent at the tight end position. However, an offseason arrest hurts his chances.
3. FB Dimitri Flowers - Although he was only an undrafted free agent, Flowers might have the best chance out of all the rookies to earn a starting role. His versatility and experience give him an edge over the incumbent starter Lawrence Thomas. If he makes the team, Flowers should have a significant role and could add an extra dimension to the offense.
2. DL Nathan Shepherd - Some draft reports indicated that Shepherd might take some time to be ready to contribute, based on the fact that he played at a lower level in college. However, his technical ability is better than advertised and he's considered extremely coachable. With the Jets planning to operate a deep rotation on the defensive line this year, Shepherd should get plenty of chances to showcase his physicality.
1. QB Sam Darnold - Even though it's entirely possible he'll spend most of the year on the bench, Darnold is virtually certain to see action this year and that's sure to be a huge story, even if it's only for mop-up duty. Longer-term, there arguably hasn't been a more important player on the roster for several years.