The New York Jets close the offseason with a mandatory, three-day minicamp, starting Tuesday. Five players I'll be watching:
QB Christian Hackenberg: Technically, he's competing with veteran Josh McCown and Bryce Petty for the starting job, but people have lost sight of the true purpose of these offseason practices. For Hackenberg, it's all about learning and building a base of knowledge. This is his first exposure to a West Coast-style offense -- and his first extensive exposure to an NFL defense, for that matter -- meaning no sound football person should expect him to overtake McCown anytime soon. It's really Hackenberg versus Hackenberg. It's his job to absorb as much as the offense as possible, then put it to good use in training camp. By then, he can make a run at the No. 1 job (maybe). For now, he's taking baby steps, learning the nuances of his craft. A strong minicamp would be a confidence booster.
LB Demario Davis: He returned two weeks ago as an apparent backup, but the abrupt decision to release middle linebacker David Harris has changed that. Davis is now the leading candidate to take over the Mike position manned by Harris since 2008. Davis said he learned a lot about himself during his one-year sabbatical from the Jets, which he spent in Cleveland. He said, "I grew as a player. I realized there were areas of my game that were deficient. I've done decent in the run game, but I haven't done so well in the pass game. I haven't done so well in blitzing. I spent an incredible amount of time in the offseason preparing myself. I really humbled myself and checked myself to see where I'm at, areas I want to improve."
WR ArDarius Stewart: With the imminent departure of Eric Decker, who will be traded or released, the spotlight on Stewart becomes a bit brighter. The Jets need a No. 3 receiver to play with Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson, and they want Stewart -- a third-round pick from Alabama -- to be that guy. The Jets think they got an absolute steal, but they haven't seen much of him yet on the field. Stewart has been slowed by a thumb injury.
LT Kelvin Beachum: He was the biggest splurge in a relatively modest free-agent class ($12 million guaranteed), so the Jets have fairly high expectations. Beachum was limited in OTA practices because of residual soreness in his surgically repaired knee, managing a few team reps last week. The Jets aren't going to rush him, but you'd certainly like a longer look. After all, we're talking about the starting left tackle.
CB Juston Burris: He did a decent job in the OTA practices, working as the No. 3 cornerback, but he needs to get on the accelerated program if he wants to be a big contributor. Burris, a fourth-round pick last year, has the ideal body size and arm length to be a press-corner, but he has to put it together. If he proves he can hold up on the outside, it would allow them to move Buster Skrine into the No. 3 role as the slot corner. Right now, Morris Claiborne appears to be the No. 1 corner.