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2015 NFL depth chart: Jets have quarterback, defensive line battles to sort out

Draft picks like Bryce Petty, Leonard Williams and Devin Smith will make for some interesting camp battles for the Jets.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

After a 4-12 season in 2014 that resulted in the firings of Rex Ryan and John Idzik, the New York Jets looked to fill the roster with some fresh talent in the 2015 NFL Draft. Yet, despite the team's struggles in 2014, most of the new additions to the roster will have to earn their playing time and unseat established starters.

Even the team's first-round selection, defensive lineman Leonard Williams, joins a defensive line that has three first-round picks in rotation and primarily plays in a 3-4 scheme.

Still, it's difficult to imagine Williams not having a significant role with the Jets as a rookie. For other players, the path to play time isn't as clear cut.


Geno Smith is certainly the favorite to remain the starter for the Jets after two seasons at the helm, but there's much more competition now. The team began the third day of the draft by selecting Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty early in the fourth round and invested another draft pick at the position by trading for Ryan Fitzpatrick in March.

Fitzpatrick has 89 career starts in the NFL and is clearly the most experienced quarterback on the team, but will enter camp as the second-team passer, according to Jets head coach Todd Bowles. That makes it Smith's job to lose.

The darkhorse, though, is Petty. The team expects it will take some time for the 6'3, 230-pound quarterback to become NFL-ready, but crazier things have happened than a fourth-round pick being thrown into action.

Defensive line

Williams is going to get significant play time for the Jets after going with the sixth overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Many, including SB Nation's Dan Kadar, ranked Williams as the top player in the draft class, and he should be ready to immediately contribute.

How the defensive line shakes out with the addition of Williams is up in the air, though. Bowles is committed to staying in a 3-4, although 4-3 looks could be peppered in, and that means that someone is the odd man out. Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and Damon Harrison made up one of the top defensive lines in the NFL in 2014 and Quinton Coples put his hand on the ground at times.

For now, most are pointing at Wilkerson as the guy who will eventually be replaced in New York, but camp will go a long way toward deciding who gets the most snaps in the fall.

Wide receiver

The only receiver added in the draft by the Jets was Ohio State's Devin Smith, but the team also made a couple of trades to acquire Brandon Marshall and DeVier Posey. That makes for a crowded group of players fighting for snaps.

Marshall joins Eric Decker as the probable starting pair for the Jets, but the battle for snaps and roster spots behind that will be among the most interesting position groups to watch in training camp.

Not only does Smith have Posey to battle, but also Jeremy Kerley, who has manned the slot receiver role for the Jets for the last four years. Add in players like Chris Owusu and T.J. Graham, who have the potential to surprise and challenge for a spot, and there's a lot of depth chart battling to be done.