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2017 NFL preview: The Jets are in prime position for the No. 1 overall pick in 2018

We’re previewing the NFL heading into training camp, moving on to the rest of the NFL. Today, we look at the New York Jets.

The San Francisco 49ers are wrapping up their offseason, with training camp set to get going on Thursday, July 27. With the help of SB Nation’s other NFL sites, we have been previewing training camp for the 49ers 13 regular season opponents, and four preseason opponents. You can view all of them here.

Since we still have some time before the preseason gets going, I thought it would be fun to keep going and look at the 15 NFL teams that are not on the 49ers regular season or preseason schedule. The 49ers will play four of them in the preseason, while the remaining 15 will not appear on their schedule outside of a potential playoff appearance. But, it is helpful to continue getting a better handle on the NFL this season.

Today, we take a look at arguably the favorite to claim the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the New York Jets. Our friends at Gang Green Nation put together a look at the various roster changes and storylines to track heading into camp.

The Jets unloaded a whole lot of veteran talent this offseason, released Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, Darrelle Revis, Nick Mangold, David Harris, and Breno Giacomini. I don’t think any NFL front office wants their team to try and lose games, but the Jets front office is putting on a clinic when it comes to giving its team the best shot at claiming the top pick. With the QB class people see next year, that No. 1 pick will likely be plenty valuable.

The Jets, Browns, and 49ers are viewed by many as the top three candidates to claim the first pick of the draft. The 49ers and Browns seemed to take necessary steps to improve, while the Jets appeared to do the opposite. All three teams made some big additions in the NFL Draft, with New York adding a pair of intriguing safety options. But it likely won’t be enough to offset the release of some many productive veterans. It does not guarantee them the No. 1 pick, but it puts them in prime position for it.


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Notable free agent additions: Josh McCown, Morris Claiborne, Kelvin Beachum, Chandler Cantanzaro

Notable free agent departures: Brandon Marshall (released), Darrelle Revis (released), Nick Mangold (released), David Harris (released), Eric Decker (released), Breno Giacomini (released), Ryan Fitzpatrick, Nick Folk

Trades: First round bust Calvin Pryor was traded to the Cleveland Browns to reacquire linebacker Demario Davis

Draft picks expected to contribute as rookies:

Jamal Adams: If you draft a player in the top ten, he is expected to contribute. Many felt the Jets got a steal with the LSU safety at 6. He is expected to take a leadership role on the defense from day one.

Marcus Maye: The Jets double dipped at safety. Todd Bowles likes versatility in his safeties, and both Adams and Maye can do a little bit of everything. The departures of Pryor and Gilchrist mean Maye will receive a baptism by fire.

Ardarius Stewart and Chad Hansen: The departures of Marshall and Decker have opened up playing time for the team’s third and fourth round Draft picks, although they will need to beat out other youngsters to get a shot.

Dylan Donahue: It’s a lot to ask a fifth round rookie to contribute much of anything, but the Jets do have a hole at outside linebacker. Donahue is a favorite of the team’s position coach and has been receiving first team reps in the offseason.

Biggest offseason addition:

Morris Claiborne has the highest upside of any veteran addition the Jets made. He was viewed as the NFL’s next great cornerback when he was drafted in 2012. After years of disappointment, he finally started looking the part last year with the Cowboys before getting injured. Can he build on that for the Jets? That is one of the questions of the season.

Biggest storyline heading into training camp:

It is always the quarterback position for the Jets. Christian Hackenberg earned a one year reprieve when the team didn’t draft a quarterback in 2017. He has to both beat out Josh McCown for the starting job and show he has what it takes to be a franchise quarterback to prevent the team taking one from what could be an excellent Draft class in 2018.

Under-the-radar storyline heading into training camp:

Will Sheldon Richardson be on the team once the season starts? The 2013 Defensive Rookie of the Year doesn’t seem to have a fit in the defense the way it is currently constructed. His production has dropped the last two years. Beyond that, he has managed to turn himself into a distraction in a negative way time after time from an arrest to being late for team meetings to public criticisms of teammates. On top of this, he is in the final year of his contract and has stated multiple times he is looking for a huge payday. There isn’t much logic behind the Jets giving it to him. A trade should probably be worked out, but the Jets will be looking at quarters and dimes on the dollar for a talented player due to the other issues.

Notable injuries heading into training camp:

Right guard Brian Winters is recovering from a shoulder injury that ended his 2016 season.