Will Aaron Rodgers throw his first pass with the New York Jets this Thursday night? Are the Jets also going to play Garrett Wilson and get a start on building that connection? Those questions have surfaced on the eve of the NFL Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, versus the Cleveland Browns.
Here’s what we’ve learned regarding who will play and what to watch for.
New York Jets HOF Depth Chart: Who Will Start at QB?
Jet fans will have to wait for Rodgers’ Jets debut. Head coach Robert Saleh told reporters on July 30 that none of the Jets’ starters will be on the field versus the Browns — including Rodgers.
Zach Wilson will play Thursday night vs Browns, per Saleh. Starters not playing. Lots of young players. #jets
— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) July 30, 2023
That officially means Zach Wilson will resume QB1 reins for now. Wilson got demoted from his starting role late into the 2022 season, and ultimately, the Jets made the swift move to trade for the Super Bowl-winning quarterback and longtime Green Bay Packers star.
But who will take the field alongside Wilson?
2023 Class To Likely Receive Plenty of Playing Time
While the starters won’t suit up, this doesn’t rule out the 2023 Jets’ draft class. Here are the offensive options who are likely to see some snaps on Thursday.
The first offensive selection for the Jets in the second round out of Wisconsin, Joe Tippmann is likely to start with Connor McGovern sitting out. Tippmann, however, ruffled some feathers of the Jets’ brass by admitting to reporters on July 31 that he’s felt overwhelmed mentally by the jump from college to pros.
#Jets rookie center Joe Tippmann admitted that there have been times this offseason that he has been overwhelmed from a mental perspective jumping from college to the #NFL level + he has been diving deeper here in #JetsCamp as he looks to take next step 🎥 @nyjets #TakeFlight pic.twitter.com/9qm8snhbFo
— Paul Andrew Esden Jr (@BoyGreen25) July 31, 2023
Carter Warren is currently listed third on the RT depth chart. But he’s anticipated to play with former New England Patriots OT Yodny Cajuste, the only RT options for Thursday.
“Izzy” may be the one Jets offensive rookie fans will be glued to at Canton. The Pittsburgh Panthers star brings a 40-yard dash time of 4.3 on the field. With Breece Hall injured and Michael Carter not anticipated to suit up, there could be a heavy dose of Israel Abanikanda.
The final pick for the Jets is expected to share reps with Jeremy Ruckert at tight end against the Browns. Tyler Conklin isn’t projected to play.
Defensive Rookies Anticipated To See Action
While likely to get a limited amount of plays, this is the game where Jets fans get an early glimpse of surprise first-round selection Will McDonald IV…and if he really was worth luring in at No. 15 overall.
Some draft experts believed that McDonald was a Day 2 pick and a reach at that spot. However, Saleh told the N.Y. media Tuesday that the Iowa State Cyclone “has all the freakish ability.”
Here’s who else will be expected to see some early action on the defensive side.
The sixth-round linebacker will likely fill for Jamien Sherwood versus the AFC North opponent. Zaire Barnes has already begun to impress the Jets as a coverage defender in practice — including getting this interception.
Can the LSU defender and fellow sixth-rounder impress? Especially with Hall of Famer and franchise legend Darrelle Revis watching? With Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed out, the snaps are bound to increase for Jarrick Bernard-Converse.
Who Else To Watch on the Jets’ Side for the Hall of Fame Game
Undrafted rookie Travis Dye could see handoffs and receiving routes. Dye not long ago combined for 18 touchdowns in 2021 and rushed for 1,271 yards at Oregon. His lone season with USC saw nine touchdowns and 1,088 all-purpose yards.
Garrett Wilson is already sitting. New addition Mecole Hardman from the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs is another who could be a sideline standby.
Zach Wilson needs a receiver to throw to. Tall 6’4″ target Irvin Charles is one who’s capable of being a go-to on Thursday. Xavier Gipson is another fighting for a roster spot — and Thursday presents a great opportunity for him to show his stuff.
Meanwhile, on defense, 2020 third-round selection Ashtyn Davis was listed as second on the safety depth chart behind Jordan Whitehead. Perhaps Davis can get snaps and aim to show the Jets he’s worth keeping…especially in a contract year.