6 Jets who need to impress at OTAs

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With OTAs underway at One Jets Drive, now is the time for a handful of players on New York’s roster to step up and prove their worth to Gang Green’s new regime.

The Jets will host nine more practices over the next three weeks before the offseason concludes with a mandatory minicamp from June 15-17. That gives New York’s fringe players — young ones and veterans alike — ample opportunities to earn a prominent position on the depth chart and prove they deserve a roster spot.

Robert Saleh and his coaching staff will have plenty to take in over the next couple of weeks as they work to shape the Jets’ 2021 roster. Here are six players who need to impress at OTAs to improve their standing entering training camp.

La'Mical Perine

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The Jets spent a fourth-round pick on Perine just last year, so it's safe to assume his roster spot is in jeopardy entering OTAs. However, his spot in New York's running back pecking order is most definitely up for grabs. With Ty Johnson emerging as a quality option at the end of last season, Josh Adams showing some potential in 2020 and the additions of Tevin Coleman and Michael Carter this offseason, Perine has work to do to prove he is worthy of a healthy amount of touches in Mike LaFleur's offense next season. This is Perine's first chance to impress LaFleur. It could also be his most important one of the offseason. If the Florida product does not open eyes during OTAs, he'll be behind the eight ball entering training camp.

Ryan Griffin

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OTAs are optional, so it remains to be seen if Griffin will be among the players in attendance given his status as a veteran. It would behoove Griffin to show at One Jets Drive before the beginning of training camp, though, as he is no longer a lock to break camp with the team. New York signed Tyler Kroft to a one-year deal in free agency and gave big undrafted free agent money to Kenny Yeboah for a reason. Joe Douglas and company were clearly not satisfied with the production of the tight end room and Griffin was part of the problem -- although Adam Gase did a terrible job of using tight ends in his offense. The Jets had high hopes for Griffin when they inked him to a two-year contract extension, but he has yet to hold up his end of the bargain. If that continues throughout OTAs, he'll be a cut candidate come training camp.

Cameron Clark

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The right guard spot on the Jets' offensive line is open for the taking. That makes now the ideal time for Clark to step up and prove he can be part of the starting unit that protects Zach Wilson in 2021. Clark's rookie season was hampered by injuries, but that is in the past with a new coaching staff in place. New York drafted Alijah Vera-Tucker to play left guard next to Mekhi Becton, but the battle for right guard figures to come down to Clark, Alex Lewis, Greg Van Roten and free agent acquisition Dan Feeney. If Clark impresses in OTAs, there is no reason why he can't have a shot at winning the starting gig in training camp.

Jabari Zuniga

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Much like Clark, Zuniga's rookie season was hindered by injuries and he failed to make much of an impact. However, OTAs will provide the Florida product the opportunity to get in the good graces of the Jets' new coaching staff. New York still has an opening at left end opposite Carl Lawson. If Zuniga can translate his raw talent into production during OTAs, he'll have a realistic shot at winning the starting spot in training camp. If not, there is a chance Zuniga falls down the depth chart close to the point of no return only two years into his NFL career.

Blake Cashman

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With the Jets switching from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 scheme under Robert Saleh and Jeff Ulbrich, Cashman finds himself in a precarious position entering OTAs. Cashman has a chance to win the starting weakside linebacker job in training camp, but he will have to fend off rookies Hamsah Nasirildeen and Jamien Sherwood, who are more natural fits for the position. The Minnesota product will also have to prove he can stay healthy after dealing with an assortment of injuries the last couple of seasons.

Ashtyn Davis

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Davis isn't going anywhere anytime soon after the Jets selected him in the third round of the 2020 NFL draft, but he'll have to start earning his keep sooner rather than later if he wants to remain a part of New York's future defensive plans. Davis made six starts for the Jets as a rookie but failed to make much of an impact before landing on the shelf with an injury. New York signed Lamarcus Joyner in free agency to play next to Marcus Maye. While Davis figures to maintain a prominent role on special teams, he'll have to have a good offseason to warrant more playing time in Saleh and Ulbrich's defense.

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