Jets Newcomer Is Electric at Training Camp: ‘Dude Can Fly’

Rashard Davis

Getty Recent New York Jets signing Rashard Davis with the Kansas City Chiefs on August 29, 2019.

It happens every summer, one or two training camp darlings emerge as July and August roll along, and after week one at Florham Park, a recent New York Jets addition is making an early impression with media members and fans.

Rashard Davis — name to remember, or flash in the pan? That’s what the Jets coaching staff will set out to determine over the next month of practices.

The USFL standout is a wide receiver/returner that offers speed and versatility. At 26 years old, Davis has a wealth of experience from his four previous NFL opportunities to his independent league career in both the CFL and the aforementioned USFL.

General manager Joe Douglas signed Davis after he beat out veteran Pharoh Cooper during a tryout on July 26. Most considered him a camp body after the move but the new playmaker is doing his best to change that narrative.

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Davis Shows out for Fans

The Jets’ July 30 practice was open to fans for the first time this summer and Davis did not disappoint. With limited reps, the newcomer made two highlight-reel plays.

The Athletic’s Zack Rosenblatt detailed the first: “Joe Flacco with a nice deep ball for the second day in a row. Rashard Davis won a 50/50 for an impressive catch at the sideline.”

Pro Football Network’s Mike Kaye added that Davis made that grab “despite being held all the way down the field” by CB Rachad Wildgoose. It was a “40-yard bomb” according to Kaye.

Two plays later, he made another nice snag with Mike White at quarterback. ESPN’s Rich Cimini described both as “long receptions,” voicing bluntly: “Dude can fly.”

These two moments weren’t the first we’ve seen of Davis though — they were an encore performance.

On July 29, Associated Press reporter Dennis Waszak Jr. tweeted: “Rashard Davis takes a short pass and zips down the left sideline for a TD. Davis has LOTS of speed.” He also gave the burner wideout the trending/stock up emoji on his popular “camp scorecard” for practice four.

Davis was even used on a successful end-around run, per Brian Costello of the New York Post, which mirrors the way offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur used Braxton Berrios, Elijah Moore and Jeff Smith in 2021.

Team reporter Eric Allen summed up the hot start: “A receiver who has popped early in camp has been Rashard Davis. He’s making a number of plays [and] has impressive wheels. This is a talented @nyjets WR group.”

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Intriguing Camp Battle Takes Shape

Many viewed the wide receiver camp battle as a two-horse race toward the start of spring — Denzel Mims versus Jeff Smith. In this scenario, only five wideouts make the 53-man roster.

It’s becoming more likely that a sixth WR is present in Week 1, and there seem to be more challengers by the day. Calvin Jackson Jr. was the first, an undrafted former JUCO prospect who played with Jermaine Johnson II at Independence Community College. After turning heads at rookie camp, the Jets decided to sign the Washington State product and give him a shot.

Step for step with Jackson has been ex-Penn State prospect, Irvin Charles, another UDFA. Along with Davis, Charles has been having a quality training camp throughout the early stages.

Then there’s Keshunn Abram, the third and final undrafted rookie that finally got his name on the board today (July 30). Waszak reported the “sideline catch” from White, which followed another Abram link-up with Flacco.

Couple all this with Mims and Smith, who have both produced at different points over the past few months. The former dominated day one of practice at training camp after a solid minicamp. The latter was labeled the unanimous “star of minicamp,” but has yet to have the same impact at training camp.

If there are truly two spots up for grabs, this makes for a very intriguing camp battle that flaunts six strong options. Expect special teams and versatility to factor heavily in who wins at least one of the two jobs, if not both.

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