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    Jets Position Battles: Xavier Gipson, Tarik Cohen Making Strong Impressions

    The New York Jets have plenty of roster decisions to make regarding some of the more important positions on the field.

    Every NFL team has a few positions on the roster that will have several players competing for playing time. The New York Jets are no different.

    Despite coming off a 7-10 season, New York enters the 2024 season as one of the more talented rosters across the league. With so much talent at almost every position, it’s not hard to think that some of the more prevalent roles on the team will be up in the air for plenty of older veterans and budding superstars.

    New York Jets Position Battles

    The good news for the Jets is that while they have their share of position battles, most of them concern filling out the team’s overall depth rather than the true starting lineup.

    That’s what happens when you spend over $50 million in free agency, have a deep draft class of young talent, and still manage to hold a four-time NFL MVP as your quarterback.

    As the Jets turn their sights to training camp, let’s look at the latest updates to their position battles for 2024.

    Kick Returner

    The new kickoff rules mean every team is exploring ways to utilize the play to their advantage. The Jets have left no stone unturned in that regard, signing both veteran running back Tarik Cohen and All-Pro wide receiver Jakeem Grant over the last few weeks.

    Special teams coordinator Brant Boyer has refused to name a single player who appears to be leading the charge as the Jets’ projected kick returner. However, both Cohen and Grant have left marks on other teams before. It could very well come down to the two of them for the final spot on the 53-man roster.

    Safety

    The safety position is an interesting group because each of the Jets’ players in contention for a starting role makes relatively the same amount of money, have the same kind of pressures, and have produced somewhat in their NFL careers.

    Despite the similarities, Chuck Clark and Tony Adams have led the charge through early workouts, something that is unlikely to change at this point.

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    While Ashtyn Davis is expected to get plenty of playing time in 2024, it will most likely be behind the two projected starters to begin the year.

    Left Guard

    Much like safety, the left guard battle has been more of a ramp-up period for the projected starters than an actual competition. Through the early stages, it appears recently signed free agent John Simpson is the starter above all others.

    Simpson’s status was helped when Jets head coach Robert Saleh stated that first-round rookie Olu Fashanu would train as a left tackle during camp and not cross-train at guard as many people were hypothesizing before offseason workouts.

    To his credit, Simpson has been very strong in the run game and looks worthy of a starting role.

    Wide Receiver No. 3

    The Jets are not simply going to give Allen Lazard or Malachi Corley a spot on the field because of their contract or draft position. In fact, as of right now, the most impressive receiver during offseason workouts (outside of top receiver Garrett Wilson) has been former undrafted free agent Xavier Gipson.

    If the Stephen F. Austin product continues to produce early in camp, there’s a strong likelihood that Gipson will be running out on the field to start the season in the slot as New York’s third receiving option.

    There’s still a long way to go for a rookie like Corley to get his feet under him, though.

    Running Back No. 2

    Before the draft, it appeared that the Jets were going to try and allow Israel Abanikanda to to show he could produce as the RB2 behind Breece Hall in 2024.

    Then Detroit happened.

    The selections of Braelon Allen and Isaiah Davis left Abanikanda’s role on the roster in doubt, let alone his chances at seeing playing time for the upcoming season.

    KEEP READING: 5 Breakout Candidates on the 2024 New York Jets

    Throughout offseason workouts, it’s clear that “Izzy” is running out of time to make an impression while that is all the rookie runners are doing.

    As of now, it appears Allen is Hall’s immediate backup, with Davis peppered in and Abanikanda on the sidelines.

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