Jets UDFA Has ‘Great Chance’ to Make Week 1 Roster: Report

Robert Saleh

Getty New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh at training camp.

The New York Jets took a chance on a polarizing prospect after the draft: Florida safety Trey Dean III.

Scouting expert Ian Cummings of Pro Football Network called the 6-foot-3 safety’s college career “tumultuous” ahead of the draft, before adding that he does have “untapped upside” despite that. “Ask five different people about Dean as an NFL draft prospect, and you very well could get five answers,” he explained, noting that he’s “polarizing” because of his production vs. his projection.

In other words, Dean could be viewed as a player that has yet to reach his potential, and that appears to be how the Jets view him as an organization. On May 13, NFL news site uSTADIUM tweeted that they “spoke to someone at the Jets and they think DB Trey Dean III (@__TD3) has a great chance to earn a roster spot.”

They added that their source “highlights his size and ability to help cover TEs/RBs out of the backfield,” relaying that the coaching staff “want[s] to slow the game down a bit for him” this summer. This piece of inside information included an impressive workout video from Dean and Athlete Innovations.

Early Scouting on Jets UDFA Safety Trey Dean III

There are reasons why Dean projects as such a boom-or-bust prospect.

Cummings initially saw the Florida Gator as a “fringe Day 2 prospect, or an early-to-mid Day 3 value addition,” reasoning that “Dean has the potential to exceed his draft billing down the line and become a defensive standout in the proper situation.” He praised his “elite” size and athleticism, explosiveness, “excellent off-man technique in the slot,” physicality and range over the top.

Having said that, NFL Network expert Lance Zierlein was less certain, labeling him a priority UDFA with upside. “Big, long safety with good athleticism and toughness but a lack of top-end speed,” he scouted at the time. “He needs to play with better patience early in the rep and must become more aware of his assignment responsibilities… Dean can cover big tight ends and help support the run in the box but spotty angles to the tackle plague him at times. Dean will have to compete to make a team as a down safety who can shine on special teams.”

As of now, Zierlein’s prediction has been more accurate.

It’s fair to note that uSTADIUM has been high on Dean since he signed with Gang Green, but if their source is correct, the Jets organization could be high on him too. There is a long-term need at safety with Ashtyn Davis profiling as a cut candidate and both Jordan Whitehead and Chuck Clark hitting free agency in 2024.

Jets’ Tony Adams Could Act as Inspiration for Trey Dean III

If any undrafted rookie should feel confident in their ability to make the Week 1 roster, it should be Dean or fellow UDFA safety Marquis Waters. After all, undrafted DB Tony Adams shocked the NYJ community last year when he beat out Jason Pinnock for a role on the back end during the final cutdown.

Adams is still in the mix at safety in 2023 and could be competing with Dean and Waters for a job, theoretically — although it’s much more likely that Davis and veteran Will Parks are on the chopping block.

Either way, we’ve seen in the past that head coach Robert Saleh isn’t afraid to deviate from the norm with his roster cuts. If he feels Dean or Waters offers more for the franchise, he won’t hesitate when the time comes.

It will be interesting to see how both of the rookie safeties fair against NFL competition in training camp and preseason this summer.

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