Jets' 53-man roster projection: Older players put on notice

The New York Jets open training camp on July 29 at the Atlantic Health training facility in Florham Park, New Jersey. Here's our 53-man roster projection:

QUARTERBACKS (3): Josh McCown, Christian Hackenberg, Bryce Petty

Remember last year's unwieldy, four-man depth chart? That's ancient history. The Jets probably will carry "only" three QBs into the season, although Petty could be in some trouble if he's outplayed by Hackenberg in the preseason. McCown is a $6 million insurance policy (fully guaranteed), so he's not going anywhere. He probably will start.

RUNNING BACKS (3): Matt Forte, Bilal Powell, Elijah McGuire

Forte and Powell are the two most accomplished players on offense. McGuire is a sixth-round pick with a versatile skill set. In other words, they're locks to make the team. Journeyman Jordan Todman could make some noise because of his kick-returning ability -- a crying need. It wouldn't be a surprise if the Jets keep four.

FULLBACK (1): Julian Howsare

Yes, they will carry a fullback this season; it's a necessity in their new West Coast-style offense. Howsare, a former practice-squad player, will battle undrafted rookie Anthony Firkser. The Jets will scour the league to see if a veteran shakes free before Week 1.

WIDE RECEIVERS (5): Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, ArDarius Stewart, Charone Peake, Chad Hansen

Jalin Marshall isn't listed because he will serve a four-game PED suspension to start the season. There's no guarantee he will have a spot when he returns; it depends on how the other backups develop. This is the most nondescript receiving corps in the league, consisting of former mid- and late-round picks, former undrafted free agents and street free agents. The position screams for a veteran presence.

TIGHT ENDS (3): Eric Tomlinson, Jordan Leggett, Brian Parker

Austin Seferian-Jenkins is the best of the bunch, but he faces a two-game suspension for a personal-conduct violation. The Jets hope Leggett, an athletic fifth-round pick, can develop into a pass-catching threat, but he has a lot to learn. This, too, is a position that could see upheaval in the preseason.

OFFENSIVE LINE (9): Kelvin Beachum, James Carpenter, Wesley Johnson, Brian Winters, Brandon Shell, Ben Ijalana, Brent Qvale, Dakota Dozier, Jonotthan Harrison

You won't find any household names among this group; welcome to the post-Nick Mangold era. The biggest question involves right tackle, where Ijalana, Shell and Qvale will be considered for the starting job. It's Shell's job for the taking, but there's some question as to whether he's ready. Harrison, an Indianapolis Colts castoff, is on the bubble.

DEFENSIVE LINE (6): Leonard Williams, Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, Deon Simon, Lawrence Thomas, Mike Pennel

My surprise cut is nose tackle Steve McLendon, who is on the wrong side of 30 and is due to make a non-guaranteed $2.75 million. He will be expendable if Simon continues to progress. This is easily the best position on the team, a unit that boasts three quality players -- Williams, Wilkerson and Richardson, who could be trade bait.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKER (4): Jordan Jenkins, Lorenzo Mauldin, Josh Martin, Dylan Donahue

Jenkins has the most upside of the group, but he's still trying to establish himself. Truth be told, they all are. The organization is hoping new position coach Kevin Greene, the Hall of Famer, can bring out the best in his young pups. Donahue, a fifth-round pick, could surprise as a situational pass-rusher.

INSIDE LINEBACKER (5): Darron Lee, Demario Davis, Bruce Carter, Julian Stanford, Connor Harris

It's hard to believe, but there's only one absolute lock -- Lee, the Jets' 2016 first-round pick. Davis probably will replace David Harris as the Mike linebacker, but Davis is viewed as a stopgap player. Carter, 29, is firmly on the bubble.

CORNERBACK (7): Morris Claiborne, Juston Burris, Buster Skrine, Darryl Roberts, Marcus Williams, Xavier Coleman, Derrick Jones

The Jets have decent numbers at corner, but they don't have any high-end talent. Look for Burris to overtake Skrine as the No. 2, sending him back to his nickel role. Skrine, due to make a non-guaranteed $6 million, could be a surprise cut if things go off the rails for him. Williams could be in trouble if one of the young players jumps up. Our sleeper is Coleman, an undrafted rookie from Portland State. He impressed the coaches in the offseason. Dexter McDougle, one of only three players remaining from the 12-man draft class in 2014, could be the next from that group to go.

SAFETY (4): Jamal Adams, Marcus Maye, Rontez Miles, Doug Middleton

It's all about Adams and Maye, the Jets' first- and second-round picks. They're a big part of the future; everybody else is just battling for backup spots. Veterans such as Corey White and Shamarko Thomas could lose out to younger players.

SPECIALISTS (3): K Chandler Catanzaro, P Lachlan Edwards, LS Tanner Purdum

Catanzaro is coming off a down year with the Arizona Cardinals and received only a $250,000 guarantee, so his roster spot isn't etched in stone. He will be challenged by Ross Martin. The honeymoon is over for Edwards, who had an underwhelming rookie year. Purdum is the longest-tenured player on the team; give the man a medal.