Jets minicamp: Who looked good … and who didn’t?
The Jets concluded minicamp on Thursday afternoon and the identity of the team is taking shape. A look at what was learned about the Jets six weeks before they head to training camp in Cortland, N.Y.
Chaz Schilens — Plagued by injuries throughout his career, the wide receiver only has one season where he played all 16 games (and that was his rookie year in 2008). There’s no denying his talent when he was on the field and healthy for the Raiders. With the departure of Plaxico Burress after one season, Schilens adds another badly needed big body to the receiving corps. During the three days of minicamp, he used his frame well and even rose above cornerback Darrelle Revis for a nice touchdown in the back of the end zone one day. With fellow receivers Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill and Patrick Turner all out injured, Schilens stood out as a go-to player.
Kyle Wilson — It was a tough go for Wilson, who seemed to be picked on a bit by the quarterbacks. The former first-round pick needs to take a significant step forward this year in his development and his play showed spurts of potential — but still only spurts. Training camp might be a better gauge for Wilson to showcase his talent as he can be more physical at the line. But right now, his development looks like the status quo.
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Isaiah Trufant — With Marquice Cole signing with the Patriots this offseason, the Jets need a special teams playmaker to emerge from training camp and that talent might be Trufant. As a gunner on punt returns, Trufant’s responsibility is to race down the sideline and limit returns and, in certain situations, try and down the ball before it rolls into the end zone. Trufant has shown a knack for the ball and is developing a good chemistry with punter T.J. Conley on punts inside the 20-yard line. An added bonus: He appears to be a decent cover cornerback as well, even when the diminutive Trufant (5-foot-8) is overmatched in terms of his size.
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Jeff Cumberland — It hasn’t been an easy start to a career for Cumberland, who spent his first year in the league working on his transition from wide receiver in college to tight end. And then, on top of that, he was injured for most of last year. So it is easy to see that 2012 is a big year for Cumberland. He was always a good route runner and had good hands, but this year his blocking has improved. The need for an all-around tight end behind Dustin Keller is imperative with the loss of Matt Mulligan and Ben Hartsock to free agency. Cumberland has the chance to earn snaps with a strong training camp, but he didn’t hurt his chances during minicamp at all.
John Griffin — The running back signed with the Bengals as an undrafted free agent last year and so far, he’s looked the part of an NFL player. Griffin, a UMass product who was an early-September cut last year in Cincinnati, has good speed and feet and has shown some nice cutback ability. With the Jets looking for a change of pace back after Shonn Greene, Griffin’s ability to change directions and catch balls out of the backfield has created a bit of a buzz around Florham Park.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer for all your offseason news on Gang Green.