The Jets begin on-field instruction this week as they enter Phase Two of their offseason program. And with the on-field coaching begins the real evaluation for the new coaching staff, and there are plenty of young players with something to prove to their new coaches.
The coaches can begin drills this week with the team. Organized team activity practices begin next week, when more traditional work begins. Jets general manager Joe Douglas added a lot of new pieces to the roster this offseason, but there are some returning players who have something to prove this spring and then in training camp.
Players such as Mekhi Becton and Denzel Mims are penciled in as starters right now, but these young players will be fighting for playing time:
La’Mical Perine, RB
The 2020 fourth-round pick had a hard time staying on the field last year. Hamstring injuries slowed him down, and then a bout with COVID-19 cost him the final game of the season. He had 64 rushes for 232 yards and two touchdowns in 10 games as a rookie. The Jets drafted Michael Carter in the fourth round this year and signed Tevin Coleman as a free agent. Perine is going to have to fight for a role in the backfield.
Ashtyn Davis, S
Davis made six starts as a rookie, but did not make much of an impact. He had a tough time in coverage and looked slow getting off blocks at times. The Jets signed Lamarcus Joyner in free agency, and the plan is to play Joyner as the deep safety and Marcus Maye in the box. Davis has value as a special teams player, but a third-round pick should have a bigger role on defense in his second season. Davis needs to have a good offseason.
Cameron Clark, OL
The Jets likely will be looking for someone to emerge as the team’s right guard. Clark has a chance there if he can win over his new coaches. Injuries slowed his progress as a rookie, and he did not play in a game last year. The Jets drafted Alijah Vera-Tucker to play left guard, but right guard feels like a competition between Clark, Greg Van Roten, Alex Lewis and Dan Feeney.
Blake Cashman, LB
A fifth-round pick in 2019, Cashman has played just 11 games in two seasons and has been unable to stay on the field. He needs to prove he can stay healthy, which would give him a chance to be the weakside linebacker. As the Jets move to a 4-3 alignment, they have a hole at the position. Cashman will have to fight off rookies Jamien Sherwood and Hamsah Nasirildeen to win the job.
Jabari Zuniga, DE
Zuniga played in eight games as a rookie, but made very little impact. The third-round pick will have a chance, as the Jets search for a someone to play opposite Carl Lawson.
Javelin Guidry, CB
An undrafted free agent, Guidry made two starts and played in 11 games. Guidry made some plays from the slot corner position, forcing four fumbles. The Jets drafted Michael Carter II with the idea he could play slot corner or safety, but Guidry could lock down the nickel corner role with a solid spring and summer.
Bryce Hall, CB
The Jets seem sold on Hall and have not signed any veteran cornerbacks yet. If the roster remains as is, Hall will start along with Bless Austin. Still, Hall played only eight games last year. He had some good moments (a pick against the Rams) and some bad ones in which he looked like a rookie who was still learning. Hall appears to be on his way to being the starter, but if he stumbles in the spring, the Jets may decide to sign a veteran before training camp.