HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Every team in every NFL preseason finds some jewels. The question is whether those players will sparkle once the games are for real.
New York Jets coach Herman Edwards, in his first season at the helm, has discovered a few favorites who came out of nowhere to make the team. One, seventh-round draft pick James Reed of Iowa State, even has become a starter at nose tackle.
With the final cut looming this weekend, Edwards spoke about several players who stepped up and stood out during the 2-2 preseason that concluded with Thursday's 13-12 loss at Philadelphia.
"Kevin Swayne did a nice job, a really nice job," Edwards said Friday of the Arena League and XFL graduate who has had a steady diet of football since January. "He is continuing to move up the chart. Now we will not ask him to do too many things, and we'll let him settle in one position."
That would be as the fourth wide receiver behind Wayne Chrebet, Matthew Hatchette and Laveranues Coles. Swayne also might return some punts.
While Swayne was one of the longest shots to make the squad earlier in training camp, he has followed a similar path to Chrebet, who also made the Jets as an undrafted free agent in 1995.
"He's come here the blood-and-guts way," Chrebet said of Swayne.
Hatchette was signed away from the Vikings to be the starter opposite Chrebet, but Coles has beaten out Hatchette at that spot. Coles has shown a tremendous burst downfield and is running much stronger patterns than as a rookie.
"He is a completely different player," quarterback Vinny Testaverde said of Coles. "You can just see it in the confidence he has in running his routes and doing everything at full speed."
Reed benefited from a season-ending injury to Jason Ferguson (torn rotator cuff). His strong showing this summer moved him ahead of veteran Jason Wiltz and first-year tackle Maurice Anderson, one of whom likely will be cut.
"Right now, it's Reed," Edwards said of his starter on a line that has not displayed much ability at stopping the run. "I think he has a tremendous motor and gave us a really good effort last night. He did some good things when double-teamed and didn't get bounced out of there.
"He's a rookie and will get better every week and he has kind of done that."
Reed was quite vocal after the draft about not being selected on the first day. He since has toned down those complaints, but has spoken loudly with his impressive on-field work.
"I was upset, I was talking out of anger," he said. "I wanted to go higher. It's done, there's nothing I can do to change that. Now, I am more relaxed."
He should be, having not only made the team, but earned a starting berth.
Notes: Edwards expected to announce some cuts Saturday, although the deadline is 4 p.m. Sunday. In addition to Wiltz, veterans on the bubble include several players who were with the team in 2000: wide receiver Windrell Hayes, cornerback Tony Scott and running back Jerald Sowell. ... Edwards praised the running of rookie Lamont Jordan, who had 86 yards rushing on 15 carries.
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