3 Jets Already on the Chopping Block Before OTAs

As the New York Jets' OTAs are less than two weeks away, these three players have already found themselves on the chopping block.
WR Jason Brownlee is one of three Jets who are already on the chopping block.
WR Jason Brownlee is one of three Jets who are already on the chopping block. / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
2 of 2

2. Israel Abanikanda, RB

The Jets used the 143rd overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft to add former Pittsburgh running back Israel Abanikanda. The ex-Panther was near-unstoppable in his final collegiate campaign, recording career highs in carries (239), rushing yards (1,431), and touchdowns (20) en route to earning first-team All-American honors.

College success doesn't always translate to NFL results, though. Abanikanda was far from productive in Year 1, turning 22 carries across six games into 70 yards (3.2 yards per attempt) without a TD. He also only caught seven of his 11 targets for another 43 yards with two drops.

Abanikanda appeared to be the Jets' RB2 behind Breece Hall once the offseason began, but that quickly changed at the 2024 NFL Draft. New York left Detroit with two new RBs on its roster, adding Wisconsin's Braelon Allen (Round 4, Pick 134) and South Dakota State's Isaiah Davis (Round 5, Pick 173). I just find it hard to believe that the Jets drafted two rushers in back-to-back rounds if they had a ton of faith in Abanikanda.

There's a decent chance that this month's OTAs will be Abanikanda's last chance to impress the Jets brass. If not, he could be looking to continue his NFL career elsewhere.

3. Max Mitchell, OT/OG

The Jets had high hopes when they drafted offensive tackle Max Mitchell with the No. 111 pick in 2022. After all, the former Louisiana product was named the starting right tackle at the beginning of his rookie year. Unfortunately, he couldn't stay on the field, playing just six games (5 starts) due to a knee injury hampering his snap count.

Mitchell wound up playing 14 games (7 starts) in Year 2, but his play seemingly fell off. Suiting up across 336 passing downs, the 24-year-old blocker allowed a whopping 30 pressures (20 hurries, 6 sacks, 4 QB hits) while recording a 47.5 pass block grade — the eighth-worst mark among 81 qualified OTs.

Considering how protecting Aaron Rodgers is crucial to the Jets' potential success, one can assume that Mitchell is on thin ice. He's projected to be a backup tackle/guard on the right side, meaning he must prove that he's worked on his game and can handle the responsibility. New York can't afford to put Rodgers behind a Swiss cheese offensive line again.

Mitchell is still young enough to have room for improvement, so let's hope that he looks a lot more polished once OTAs begin. Otherwise, the Jets might want to start searching for a backup plan.

More Jets news and rumors: