Jets’ Aaron Rodgers Shouts Out 2 Rookies for Catching His Attention at OTAs

Aaron Rodgers

Getty New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers at NYJ OTAs in 2023.

New York Jets Organized Team Activities (OTAs) came to a close on June 9 and quarterback Aaron Rodgers addressed the media after the final practice concluded.

One thing we’re learning about Rodgers, he’s not afraid to give reporters more of an answer than they bargained for. For example, after a member of the NYJ beat asked the future Hall of Famer how it’s been getting on the same page as the wide receivers, Rodgers purposefully shouted out a few prospects that impressed him during his response.

“There’s been some young guys that have been really impressive, I think, in the camp but you always got to temper expectations because there’s no pads on, there’s no contact,” Rodgers noted during the middle of his answer. “I would say [numbers] 16 and 82 really had nice camps as rookies.”

After hearing that quote from Rodgers, NYJ team reporter Eric Allen relayed that the signal-caller was referring to undrafted first-year WRs Jason Brownlee and Xavier Gipson. How’s that for getting noticed at OTAs?

Rodgers also mentioned second-year UDFA Irvin Charles by name, commending him for his practice on June 9 — and adding that it was “nice to see because he worked so hard.”

Jets UDFA WRs Jason Brownlee & Xavier Gipson Make a Name for Themselves at OTAs

Brownlee has received some media hype from day one as a high-priority UDFA in terms of guaranteed money.

“Brownlee, in particular, was a standout to me during camp,” The Athletic’s Zack Rosenblatt followed up on June 9. “He had the non-Garrett Wilson play of the day, making a one-armed grab in the end zone on a pass from Zach Wilson.” The Jets social media team posted this catch, in case you missed it.

NFL Network expert Lance Zierlein described Brownlee ahead of the draft, scouting: “Perimeter wideout with NFL size, an outstanding catch radius and the potential to outplay his draft slotting. Brownlee will need to prove his speed, but he can make top-flight contested catches down the field and has the spring and length to outreach opponents when the ball is in the air. His contested catch count is entirely too high, but he can be his own worst enemy in that regard thanks to unrefined route running.”


The play style is probably most similar to Denzel Mims, out of the current Jets WR corps. Rosenblatt agreed, adding: “Denzel Mims hasn’t been present for the last week — and Brownlee could push him in training camp.”

As for Gipson, Rosenblatt also recounted his up-and-down day during the same article.

“Rodgers’ first 11-on-11 participation since hurting his calf came at the very end of practice during an end-of-game, no-huddle situation,” Rosenblatt wrote. “He missed Allen Lazard down the field on his first throw, hit rookie Xavier Gipson deep on the next throw. After spiking it, he hit Garrett Wilson in the middle of the field and spiked it again to set up what would’ve been a short field goal.”

On Gipson specifically, Rosenblatt also detailed a couple of missed connections, stating: “In all, between 7-on-7 and 11-on-11, Rodgers completed 7 of 11 passes. He threw an impressive deep ball to Gipson in double coverage that Gipson couldn’t quite haul in and had another pass intended for Gipson broken up in the end zone.”

Still, the fact that Rodgers is consistently targeting Gipson speaks volumes — even if the Jets were without several wide receivers during OTAs.

The 5-foot-9 speedster achieved two 1,000-yard seasons at S.F. Austin with over 1,300 receiving yards in 2021 and 37 total touchdowns over his four-year career.

Fellow Jets UDFA WR Jerome Kapp Was ‘Everywhere’ at OTAs

One more undrafted wideout deserves an honorable mention, Kutztown star Jerome Kapp. The Jets only signed Kapp on May 24, but it didn’t take long for the Division II flyer to make an impact.

“Jerome Kapp is everywhere today,” tweeted Robby Sabo of Jets X-Factor at OTAs on June 9. “One completion against coverage saw him make a hell of a nice/decisive/instinctive first move post-catch in a tough, Wayne Chrebet-type area.”

Sabo also mentioned Kapp earlier while talking about Zach Wilson. “ZW [Wilson] finds the Kutztown kid underneath in 11v11, Jerome Kapp,” he said. “Correct read, based on the defense on that play, not perfect timing but solid.”

And another time: “Zach Wilson hits the Kutztown kid in stride (against air, installing/working through concepts).”

Kapp will surely be a longshot to make the Week 1 roster, but as a practice squad candidate, he appears to be turning some heads early on.

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