Jets New 6-Foot-2 WR Labeled Rookie ‘Name to Watch’

Jason Brownlee

Getty New York Jets undrafted wide receiver Jason Brownlee at the 2023 NFL Combine.

The New York Jets undrafted rookie class runs 13-deep in 2023.

Among those prospects is a 6-foot-2 wide receiver that ESPN’s Rich Cimini called a “name to watch” this summer in training camp.

“The Jets didn’t draft any receivers, but they signed an undrafted free agent and paid him like a draftee,” Cimini relayed. “Southern Mississippi’s Jason Brownlee is receiving a $246,000 guarantee — equivalent to a low fifth-round selection. Clearly, the Jets see potential. Brownlee is 6-foot-2 with a 40-inch vertical jump. He caught 55 passes for 891 yards (16.2 average) and eight touchdowns last season.”

Gang Green also paid UDFA T.J. Luther big guarantees at wide receiver.

Jets UDFA WR Jason Brownlee Called ‘Natural Playmaker’ Known for Contested Catches

It’s no surprise that Brownlee was paid like a fifth-round selection because that’s what NFL Network drafted expert Lance Zierlein projected him as ahead of the draft.

“Perimeter wideout with NFL size, an outstanding catch radius and the potential to outplay his draft slotting,” Zierlein detailed at the time. “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.”

NFL Draft Buzz also labeled him a “natural playmaker” and strong ball carrier after the catch. New offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett loves bigger wideouts, and Brownlee is the latest that should compete with Denzel Mims and Irvin Charles for a backup or developmental role behind Z-WR Corey Davis.

In his scouting report, Zierlein concluded that “Brownlee is a competitive worker and has enough flash plays on tape to believe that he might have upside to be cultivated” — and that’s exactly what the Jets coaches intend to do in camp.

The youngster “played three seasons at Southern Mississippi after starting his college career at East Mississippi Community College, where in 2019 he was first-team NJCAA All-American honors with a national-best 75 receptions for 1,055 yards,” according to team reporters Ethan Greenberg and Jack Bell. “He has good size (39.5-inch vertical jump at the NFL Combine), speed (4.59 in the 40) and jumping ability (10-11 in the broad jump). As a senior, he led the Golden Eagles 55 receptions for 891 yards (16.2) and 8 TDs. He was named to the third team All-Conference USA.”

Ex-Jets’ Jason Fabini Had ‘Tips for [Joe] Tippmann’

In the same article from Cimini, the NYJ insider reported on rookie center Joe Tippmann’s interesting relationship with former Jets offensive lineman Jason Fabini.

“Fabini coached him in junior high and at Bishop Dwenger High in Fort Wayne, Indiana, their hometown and Fabini’s alma mater,” Cimini wrote. “There’s a family connection, too. Fabini’s ex-wife is a cousin of Tippmann’s father.”

“He has a good football IQ from being around it for so long,” Fabini told Cimini over the phone. “He loves the game, he’s a hard worker and he’s tough.”

The Wisconsin product hopes to solve the Jets’ void at the center position — one that’s been evident ever since All-Pro Nick Mangold retired in 2016. As an olive branch, Mangold left Tippmann two bottles of his personal 74 BBQ Sauce at his locker upon his arrival and is expected to touch base with the rookie sometime in the future.

All Mangold asked for in return was a spot on Tippmann’s “rookie breakfast sandwich list” — the first joke of many for the first-year blocker with the big mullet and the even bigger smile.

Needless to say, having Fabini and Mangold in Tippmann’s corner should do wonders for his chances at the NFL level.

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