The New York Jets took a flier on linebacker Kwon Alexander at the beginning of training camp.
A long-rumored connection that all started back during a visit in April. After just signing with the team last week, Alexander has made a surprising surge up the depth chart in a matter of days.
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Where Did That Come From?
When Alexander was first signed there were very modest expectations both from the coaching staff and the fan base on what he could bring to the table.
The recently turned 28-year-old has only completed a full season once in his seven-year NFL career. With a history of injuries and a relatively cheap contract, most assumed he would be nothing more than a depth signing.
However, Alexander has offered a double-dip of surprises.
Head coach Robert Saleh admitted this week that the shape his former San Francisco 49ers linebacker showed up in caught him off guard. Typically there is a long acclimation period for new players coming in, Alexander didn’t need it because he stayed in shape all offseason with his own version of an NFL training camp at his home.
Then on Wednesday August 3, Saleh once again was caught by surprise:
“I wasn’t expecting him to be in the shape that he is, he’s in fantastic shape and he’s ready to roll. He is adding to the room and [Kwon] is definitely making it hard to keep him off of the field.”
Now in a matter of days, the veteran has not only jumped into the mix at training camp but has surged up the depth chart.
Connor Hughes of SNY noted on Twitter that Alexander was “already working” next to starter CJ Mosley on just the second play of practice.
Stunning to Consider
That is significant on a lot of levels, especially considering the Jets viewed Quincy Williams, older brother of Quinnen, as a player that had “Pro Bowl potential” earlier this offseason.
Now he is already being surpassed by a guy who just showed up last week.
Something that is helping Alexander is his prior history with Saleh. They spent a season and a half together with the 49ers. The former Pro Bowler has familiarity with the scheme but the only hurdle to overcome was the different verbiage with the Jets.
If practice reps are any indication Alexander has already cleared that in his pursuit of playing time this week.
When asked by the media what will his role be on the team, Alexander responded he will do whatever the team asks of him. Whether that is as a starter or a bench player, he will be ready.
In this 4-3 scheme with the Jets, technically three linebackers will start. However with nickel defenses being all the rage, more often than not only two linebackers will be on the field for the majority of time on defense.
Williams when asked about the trio looked at it in a positive light saying, “it’s gonna be scary, for real, for real.”
The Jets have a first-world problem at several positions and it seems like linebacker can be added to that list. Alexander not only reinforces depth but perhaps provides them the perfect player to have in 2022.
Alexander is still only 28 years of age and is on a cheap one-year deal. If he lights it up this year for the Jets, there is a strong chance he can cash in one more time in a big way next offseason.
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