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Saturday, August 24, 2013
Updated 53-man roster projection

By Rich Cimini

Several roster spots, even a few starting jobs, remain up in the air as the Jets head into Saturday night's preseason game against the Giants. Here's our latest projection for the opening-day roster:

QUARTERBACK (3) -- Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith, Greg McElroy.

Analysis: If McElroy had Matt Simms' arm strength, he'd be in the running for the starting job. McElroy rates a slight edge over Simms simply because he's had some game experience and could play in an emergency.

RUNNING BACK (4) -- Chris Ivory, Bilal Powell, Tommy Bohanon, Joe McKnight.

Analysis: Despite his various issues, McKnight will make the team for two reasons: Lack of depth and his kick-returning ability. Mike Goodson has missed too much time to be a factor for Week 1. He'll be activated at some point, assuming he returns.

WIDE RECEIVER (5) -- Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley, Clyde Gates, Ryan Spadola.

Analysis: They could carry a sixth receiver if Holmes (foot) is out of the picture for Week 1. Braylon Edwards deserves a spot -- they need his veteran presence -- but he's very much on the bubble. Remember, they could re-sign him after Week 1, thereby avoiding a fully guaranteed salary.

TIGHT END (3) -- Jeff Cumberland, Kellen Winslow, Konrad Reuland.

Analysis: Winslow is a risk because of his knee issues, but he's still capable of making plays. Hayden Smith will be victimized by the numbers game, but he still has practice-squad eligibility. Bohanon, the surprising seventh-round pick, is capable of playing an H-Back role.

OFFENSIVE LINE (9) -- D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Stephen Peterman, Nick Mangold, Willie Colon, Austin Howard, Vladimir Ducasse, Brian Winters, Jason Smith, Caleb Schlauderaff.

Analysis: Smith's late arrival has a direct impact on Oday Aboushi (fifth-round pick) and J.B. Shugarts, battling each other for the swing-tackle position. If Peterman performs well at center against the Giants, it could make Schlauderaff expendable. Will Campbell (sixth round) is a practice-squad candidate.

DEFENSIVE LINE (6) -- Muhammad Wilkerson, Kenrick Ellis, Sheldon Richardson, Antonio Garay, Damon Harrison, Leger Douzable.

Analysis: Douzable is making a case for himself. If they keep six linemen, he has a shot. Harrison's value increases because of Ellis' back injury.

LINEBACKER (10) -- David Harris, Demario Davis, Calvin Pace, Quinton Coples, Garrett McIntyre, Antwan Barnes, Nick Bellore, Ricky Sapp, Danny Lansanah, Josh Mauga.

Analysis: This is a lot of linebackers, but, remember, Coples (ankle) is likely to miss at least a couple of games. Even when Coples is healthy, they're likely to use six or seven linebackers in the rotation. If Lansanah and Mauga (back) are battling for one spot, the edge goes to Lansanah.

SECONDARY (10) -- Antonio Cromartie, Dee Milliner, Dawan Landry, Antonio Allen, Kyle Wilson, Darrin Walls, Isaiah Trufant, Jaiquawn Jarrett, Josh Bush, Ellis Lankster.

Analysis: Rex Ryan likes to have a lot of bodies in the secondary. The cornerback depth is solid, but they may have only one NFL-caliber safety (Landry).

SPECIALISTS (3) -- Nick Folk (PK), Ryan Quigley (P), Tanner Purdum (LS).

Analysis: Once again, Folk has answered the challenge, showing enough to hold off Billy Cundiff. Quigley has done enough to unseat Robert Malone. Purdum lives on.