The Jets kick off their preseason tonight when they play the Atlanta Falcons at MetLife Stadium this evening. There have been a handful of players turning heads in camp, from our incoming rookie class to vets who have been here a few years now. For me when it comes to the preseason it’s all about staying healthy (most importantly) and player develop. I am perfectly fine with seeing a guy make a few mistakes early in the preseason, as long as he continues to show improvement in the next three games leading up to opening day. Below is a list of guys I will be keeping a close eye on tonight, these guys will be essential in contributing for this team in the 2018 season.
1) Chris Herndon
2) Trenton Cannon
3) Sam Darnold
4) Darron Lee
5) Nathan Shepard
6) Jamal Adams
The rookies that are listed here are guys who have stood out over the first few weeks of training camp so far. If Maccagnan found our franchise quarterback in Sam Darnold we’d obviously all be ecstatic, but the real difference makers would be Chris Herndon and Trenton Cannon when it comes to this draft class. Herndon, a fourth round pick out of Miami has been turning heads in camp and has the potential to fill the gaping hole the Jets have been trying to fill at the tight end position. As for Trenton Cannon our last pick in the draft in the sixth round, apparently has lightning speed and has been ripping off 10 to 15 yard runs during team drills fairly consistently. If the Jets hit on this draft class while also obtaining their franchise quarterback that will go a long way in how this roster develops over the next two to three years.
Our last two first round picks, Jamal Adams and Darron Lee, are primed to take the next steps forward in their respective careers. Lee coming into year three has to assert himself in the middle of the defense as a leader and a play maker. Todd Bowles has given Lee the responsibility of calling the defense and making sure everyone is aligned – I’d like to think Bowles wouldn’t give that role to somebody he didn’t think could handle the pressure. If Lee can become the game changing linebacker we’re all hoping he can be for this defense that will lift this unit to another level we’d all love to see. Jamal Adams has been non stop talking and non stop flying around the field this summer so far in camp – I dont see that stopping come week one in Detroit on “Monday Night Football”. Adams is an absolute missile in the back end of this defense – I gushed over him all of last draft season. There is no doubt in my mind that Adams can take the necessary steps forward in becoming an All Pro caliber safety.
The New York Jets a few years ago lacked an identity and continued to try and patch up their roster with diminished veterans who were overpaid. Finally we are beginning to see a team take on a young and hungry identity thanks in large to Mike Maccagnan and his staff. If we can continue to add our own homegrown pieces to round out this roster while filling certain holes with worthy free agents – this Jets team will indeed make noise on a year to year basis.