The New York Jets have made some major strides at building organizational depth the past few offseasons, but there are still a couple of positions that general manager Joe Douglas can beef up a bit.
One is wide receiver. The franchise signed Corey Davis and drafted rising stars like Garrett Wilson and Elijah Moore over the past two years. They also have a former second-round pick on the roster in Denzel Mims, as well as slot-receiver extraordinaire Braxton Berrios.
Beyond that, however, the options are limited. Once you start bringing up players like Jeff Smith and D.J. Montgomery, Jets fans think back on bad memories of the injury-ridden core of seasons past. The franchise could use some competitive depth in this area and two UDFAs might have a leg up in the early stages of the offseason.
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Saleh’s Roster Is Open for Business as JUCO WR Stands Out
After rookie minicamp on May 7, head coach Robert Saleh told reporters that there are “definitely four or five [non-roster rookies] that really really stood out and are definitely going to be a discussion here over the next day with regards to getting on this 90-man roster.”
Considering the Jets still have cuts to make if all the previously reported UDFAs sign, it’s pretty jarring that Coach Saleh is considering “four or five” rookie camp invites.
The hottest name on the list of non-roster players might be wide receiver Calvin Jackson Jr., out of Washington State. On May 6, Pro Football Network reporter Mike Kaye noted that Jackson “turned down two other tryouts” in favor of the Jets and Miami Dolphins — who plan to get a look at him next week.
After some early hype surrounding his performance this weekend, who knows if the Jets allow Jackson to board a plane to Miami. New York Daily News beat reporter DJ Bien-Aime fanned the flames on Twitter during the May 7 tryouts.
“Calvin Jackson try out receiver for the Jets has made two contested catches on 7 on 7,” he informed. “Maybe he gets signed.”
If the name sounds familiar, Jackson was a teammate of Jets’ new defensive end Jermaine Johnson II on the Netflix documentary series “Last Chance U.” The popular television series selects different junior colleges to spotlight for a season and followed Independence Community College when Johnson and Jackson were in attendance.
The 5-foot-10 wideout finally got his shot at Washington State in 2021, torching competition with 66 receptions and 987 yards through the air. He added seven touchdowns in 13 games played.
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Charles Becomes UDFA to Watch
Another wide receiver caught the attention of Bien-Aime at rookie minicamp and it was signed UDFA Irvin Charles. Now, to be clear, Charles already has a roster spot while Jackson does not.
The former Penn State and IUP wide receiver was one of the five signings announced on May 6 and like his JUCO competitor, Charles has a very unique backstory.
According to Sam Fremin of the “Onward State” newsletter, Charles last played for the Nittany Lions in 2017. After being dismissed from the team for violating team rules, the 6-foot-4 wideout transferred to IUP but didn’t play until 2021.
Charles declared for the pros this year after a 792-yard season with 12 touchdowns. The talent definitely appears to be there for the WR prospect, but some obvious off-the-field flags might have kept him from getting selected.
Based on each of their long journeys to Florham Park, it stands to reason that both Jackson and Charles are older than the average NFL rookie.
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