The New York Jets have often been characterized as the underdog of the NFL.
That legacy dates all the way back to January 12, 1969 when Gang Green pulled off the biggest upset in sports history beating the heavily favored Baltimore Colts 16-7 in Super Bowl III.
With that mentality in mind, Jets fans have always cherished the bottom guy on the roster. Rich Cimini of ESPN provided the name of a player to root for this offseason that has been turning heads inside the building.
“Everybody loves a good long-shot story, right? For the next few months, keep an eye on wide receiver Irvin Charles, who made the practice squad last season as an undrafted free agent out of Indiana University (Pa.). He impressed last season on the practice field and has carried that momentum into the offseason with his studious approach. The team is stacked at receiver, but Charles (listed as 6-foot-4, 219 pounds) is big enough to be a flex-tight end. Interesting prospect.”
A Developmental Project to Keep an Eye on in Jets Land
It is a tradition among Jets fans to scour through the 90-man roster every summer to pick our guys.
Players that may appear to be long shots to make the final 53-man roster but we will root for them throughout the process.
Charles was a player that created some of that buzz last summer.
He has very intriguing size at 6-foot-4 and checked in on the scales at 219 pounds. If you look at his profile and squint you can almost see former Jets wideout Quincy Enunwa.
Charles is two inches taller and six pounds lighter, but the match is nearly identical.
Beyond the physical profile, how the Jets could use Charles could be very similar to Enunwa during his six-year run with the team.
An extremely physical player that could be lined up all over the offensive formation.
A Difficult Path to Make the Jets Squad
If Charles thought it was tough trying to make the Jets’ 53-man roster last year, 2023 projects to be even tougher.
Here were the wideouts that made the initial 53 in 2022:
Here are the new wide receivers of note on the Jets’ roster in 2023:
On top of those guys, the Jets still have Wilson, Davis, and Mims on the roster. Something else to keep an eye on is the team’s flirtations with free agent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
The former LSU product is visiting the team and if things go well he could sign on the dotted line. If so that would be another guy that is guaranteed to make the roster at the same position.
With that level of depth and star power, Charles may be destined for the practice squad once again in 2023.
If that happens that doesn’t necessarily mean Charles’ Jets career is over. We compared him to Enunwa earlier and their stories could prove eerily similar.
The former Nebraska product was the No. 209 overall pick in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL draft. He didn’t make the final 53-man roster as a rookie, but he was able to secure a spot on the practice squad.
It took Enunwa a few years to finally break through (three years to be exact) but when he did it was spectacular. Charles has the size and a work ethic that has impressed the coaching staff and front office.
If he stays on this path he will have a chance and quite frankly that is all you can ask for in this business.