If you caught the game this weekend on September 12, you’re probably aware that the New York Jets lost several players to injury.
Left tackle Mekhi Becton was the big name on the list, both literally and figuratively. The 2020 first-round pick is set to miss four to six weeks with a dislocated knee cap and an MCL sprain. Considering the alternative, this was relatively positive news for the franchise.
Safety Lamarcus Joyner did not receive such a favorable diagnosis as he’s been deemed out for the season with a torn tricep.
The remainder of the walking wounded included punter Braden Mann (out four to six weeks) and linebackers Jamien Sherwood (out a couple of weeks) and Blake Cashman (out a minimum of three games). Four out of the five ended up reverting to the injured reserve, which means they’ll miss a minimum of three games. Sherwood remained on the active roster.
We’ve already written features about a couple of the replacements, veteran punter Thomas Morstead and starting-caliber middle linebacker B.J. Goodson. Those weren’t the only roster moves on September 14, however.
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2 Practice Squad Players Join Active Roster
Jets general manager Joe Douglas elected to promote from within at these spots, at least for the time being, with a need at offensive line and safety.
The Becton replacement became a player that performed well during the final preseason game, so much so that I actually predicted him as one of my surprises to make the Week 1 roster. That reinforcement is O-lineman Isaiah Williams.
The versatile journeyman can play both guard and tackle, which makes him valuable for head coach Robert Saleh and offensive line coach John Benton. He’s played for seven different NFL franchises as well as one AAF and one XFL organization so he’s well-traveled, to say the least.
The 6-foot-3 bruiser earned a ridiculous 94.2 run-blocking grade from Pro Football Focus against the Philadelphia Eagles and helped Ty Johnson and Josh Adams spring some big gainers late in the third preseason outing.
The 2016 undrafted free agent out of Michigan actually made himself a decent NFL career so far, starting 30 games for the Jags secondary from 2018-20. He was the full-time starter the past two seasons but his most productive campaign was in 2019.
Wilson accumulated 79 total tackles (six for a loss), four passes defended and three turnovers forces (two interceptions). He’ll likely compete with recent pickups Sheldrick Redwine and Adrian Colbert for the safety job opposite Marcus Maye in Week 2.
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Practice Squad Replacements & Protections
You might remember ‘Dawk’ from the summer, as he received first-team reps over rookie Hamsah Nasirildeen and Cashman at weakside linebacker briefly. It wasn’t all that surprising that Dawkins missed the Week 1 roster but I did expect him to make the practice squad in the first place.
Now he’s back with the franchise after a short period of unemployment.
The second addition is a fresh face from Tennesee Titans camp who began as a UDFA out of Toledo. Nkansah was only active for one NFL game with the Seattle Seahawks in 2018, bouncing around practice squads since then.
The 6-foot-6 prospect was originally described as a “good combination of length (34-inch arms) and broadness” by NFL draft analyst Lance Zierlein. The Jets will attempt to harness some untapped potential out of the massive lineman that is known for his strength.
Finally, the Jets chose to protect three practice squad players in Week 2 after electing to protect none in Week 1. For those who don’t know, you’re allowed to protect up to four practice squad players each week and there is no limit to the number of times you can protect someone. It’s unclear why certain NFL GMs are not electing to use this feature every week.
Either way, Douglas is using three out of four protections this week and the choices aren’t all that surprising. The three selections were veteran QB Josh Johnson, linebacker/special teamer Del’Shawn Phillips and the aforementioned Colbert.
Phillips and Colbert got a ton of burn on special teams in Week 1 and the linebacker even started on defense after the Sherwood injury logging 12 total tackles. Both are expected to be “elevated” from the practice squad again ahead of Week 2 (each team is allowed two elevations per week).
The Johnson protection is more of a precaution. With various quarterback injuries sprouting up around the league, Douglas does not was to lose the one experienced signal-caller that he has behind rookie Zach Wilson.