Writing and researching these tributes is probably one of the most enjoyable processes connected with writing for this site. However, when faced with the opportunity to honor some of the men responsible for the Jets' Superbowl win over 40 years ago, I do so with an added sense of pride and humility.

Two of the men largely responsible for the success of that team were defensive linemen John Elliott and Gerry Philbin. As with Matt Snell and Emerson Boozer, it seems fitting to induct these two together because of the way they played alongside one another for six years and remained close friends until Elliott sadly passed away last November.

While it was Joe Namath who garned most of the publicity of the time, their defense - anchored by its defensive line - was underrated. Elliott and Philbin, along with Verlon Biggs were referred to as "Great ones" by former defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan. Biggs - who was enough of a force that he too might one day be considered for the TJB Hall of Fame - played with Elliott and Philbin for four seasons and had played across from Philbin for two years prior to that.

Between them, Elliott and Philbin played 195 games for the Jets. Other than a year at the end of Philbin's career where he started six games for the Philadelphia Eagles, that comprised their entire AFL/NFL careers.

Let's begin with Philbin, who was a third round draft choice in both the NFL and AFL drafts, but - having attended college in Buffalo, where he was a four year starter - decided to remain closer to home and join the Jets. Winless in the first six games of the Joe Namath era, the Jets rebounded to win five of their last eight and then built on that with a .500 season which ended with a win over the Patriots to deny them a place in the AFL Championship Game.

Over those first few seasons, it was Biggs who had the stronger reputation, being named an AFL All-Star in 1966 and 1967. Although he was named a first-team All-Pro by the NY Daily News and a second teamer by the UPI in 1967, Philbin didn't earn his first All-Star selection until 1968, as his 19 sacks led the AFL and propelled the Jets into the postseason, where they would ultimately win the Superbowl. He was an All-Star again in 1969, as well as being a first team All-Pro for the second straight year.

Philbin was regarded as a fearsome pass rusher, who over the course of his nine-year Jets career, recorded 64.5 sacks. To put that into perspective, Shaun Ellis didn't overtake that number until his tenth season, despite playing in an era where they play two more games per season. Philbin would eventually be named to the AFL All-Time Team.

Despite his reputation as a pass rusher, the role he played in the Jets' Superbowl win was more of a run stopper. Although only credited with two tackles, Philbin held his ground well, even though the Colts kept running right at him. He did make one big play as a pass rusher, pressuring Earl Morrall into a third-down incompletion in the red zone after the Colts' first drive, which ended with a missed field goal.

Although Philbin was no longer considered a Pro Bowler in the seventies, he still possessed playmaking ability, as evidenced by his performance against the Colts in 1972. Philbin had 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble, a huge tackle for a loss and multiple pressures as he displayed spin moves, relentlessness and great instincts.

Former Jets defensive co-ordinator Buddy Ryan was full of praise for Philbin:

"Gerry was a great one," Buddy said. "He and the Chiefs' Jerry Mays were the two defensive ends on the 10-year American Football League all-time team. The only other Jets on it were Joe Namath and Don Maynard. Gerry should be in the Hall of Fame, but I guess everybody can't be in it."


In fact, if it wasn't for Philbin, Buddy Ryan might never have been hired by the Jets.

"I like to think I had a part in getting Buddy into pro football," Philbin recalled. "We hired him when I was going into my fifth year with the Jets. Weeb Ewbank brought me in and asked me about bringing in this guy from College of the Pacific. He was my old coach from Buffalo. I had nothing but the best to say about Buddy. I said he'd be a great coach in pro football."


Though Buddy's hiring paid immediate dividends for the Jets, it has a wider-reaching impact, which is felt today. Rex and Rob Ryan, Buddy's six-year old sons, who Philbin first saw in their crib when he had dinner at Buddy's house while at Buffalo, would show up to practice and practice tackling each other, much to Weeb Ewbank's amusement. Rex would spend a lot of time hanging around the linemen, with Philbin and Winston Hill apparently being his "favorite" players. Although he didn't know it at the time, these memories had a profound effect upon where he most wanted to coach in the NFL, so perhaps without Philbin, there would have been no Rex Ryan in the Jets' future.

After his career ended, Philbin went through some tough times, almost drowning in 1983 and then, later that year, appearing in court as one of two principal partners of a Sand and Gravel firm in a manslaughter case. However, he rebounded and by 1990 was president of a recycling firm in Long Island. He is often seen at Jets nostalgia events, ceremonies and reunions.

It's no coincidence that Philbin's most productive years coincided with when Elliott was on the team. A gentle man, known to family and friends as "Big John", Elliott displayed outstanding quickness and determination and needed to be accounted for on every play otherwise he was a threat to blow it up.

Elliott was drafted in the seventh round out of Texas and it didn't take long for him to make an impact. He went to the AFL All-Star Game in his second season, as the Jets won the Superbowl, then returned there in the following season. After the Jets joined the NFL in 1970, he was an All-Pro for the third straight year and became the first Jet to play in the Pro Bowl, along with Tackle Winston Hill.

Elliott had 48 sacks in seven seasons as a Jet, including 15 in 1970 as he led the team and was named as the team's MVP. To emphasize how long ago that was, Elliott was rewarded with a $24,000 salary. In 2011, Darrelle Revis will effectively earn $26,042 per MINUTE.

Despite his pass rushing prowess, in the Superbowl win, he too pitched in more in terms of stopping the run, recording four tackles, underscoring the fact that although Philbin and Elliott were playmakers, they were prepared to do things like set the edge or engage blockers if that's what was required of them to win.

He later revealed that the Jets hadn't planned to win the game and, since no parties had been organized, he was back in bed by midnight. The next morning, as the last to leave the hotel, a staff member gave him the trophy, which had almost been left behind. He took it back and presented it to the team, admitting that this was the only time he got his hands on the trophy.

In watching old footage of Elliott, it is clear that - despite his "Big John" moniker - he was undersized as a tackle. However, he overcame this and made himself a force by having an inate ability to read the play and using his terrific quickness to get off blocks and shoot gaps. In a 1970 game against Cleveland, Philbin was out, which meant Elliott had to deal with constant double teams. However, he still was able to get penetration and made it through to the quarterback several times due to his quickness, which was also on display when he pursued a runner out to the sideline or dropped into coverage in the flat.

Elliott is yet another example of a Jets player that is underappreciated by the mass media, but his teammates appreciated his abilities:

"He doesn't get the notoriety he deserves," said Pete Lammons, a teammate to Elliott at UT and with the Jets who lives in Houston. "For a period of time he was as good a defensive tackle as there was in the game, either in the AFL or NFL. We all thought very highly of him."


Sadly, Elliott died of cancer in Houston last November. This article from the official Jets website contains some personal tributes from friends, teammates and family members in the comments section, which underscore what a great person he was.

However, it's together that we choose to recognize these two outstanding players as TJB Hall of Famers. Congratulations to both men.
Tags: Main Page, Bent Double

 (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...

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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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 (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)
(Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)

The New York Jets' plan to build a helicopter landing pad at their New Jersey training facility has drawn objections from some who question the need since an airport is just a couple of miles away.

The borough of Madison has lodged objections to the Jets' application, NJ.com reported. The borough says that there's "no demand" for a helipad so close to the Morristown Airport.

"Any purported public benefit from the availability of a helistop for emergency uses is illusive," officials wrote. The borough also argued that the pad could introduce a safety risk.

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 (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

Projected Starters: Wesley Johnson, Brian Winters, James Carpenter, Ben Ijalana, Kelvin Beachum

Projected Back-ups: Brandon Shell, Dakota Dozier, Brent Qvale

On the bubble: Jeff Adams, Ben Braden, Chris Bordelon, Javarius Leamon, Craig Watts, Alex Balducci, Jonotthan Harrison

Departures: Nick Mangold, Breno Giacomini, Ryan Clady

Tags: BGA
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 (Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)
(Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter

Coming out of South Carolina, Brandon Shell's size and athleticism stood out, but he also impressed with his technique in pass-protection and his discipline. He posted outstanding pass-protection numbers against some good teams and when matched up with pro prospects. That bodes well for his ability to be successful at the NFL level, although he's not the type of tackle you'd typically leave out on an island.

Preseason Stats: Four games, one start, one sack surrendered.

Tags: Brandon Shell
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New York Jets cornerback Buster Skrine (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets cornerback Buster Skrine (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected starters: Morris Claiborne, Buster Skrine

Projected backups: Juston Burris, Marcus Williams, Darryl Roberts, Jeremy Clark,

Tags: Buster Skrine, Darrelle Revis, Marcus Williams
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New York Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports)

Bent, theJetsBlog.com

Projected starters: Austin Seferian-Jenkins

Projected backups: Eric Tomlinson, Jordan Leggett

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Julian Howsare, Sheldon Richardson
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