For the New York Jets, the 2016 NFL Draft does not mean the end for them. It is now up to the front office to keep a keen eye on undrafted free agents in an effort to stockpile any talent that may still be available.
The Jets are looking to add depth and youth throughout their biggest areas of need: the linebacker corps, which was addressed in this year’s draft when they drafted Darron Lee and Jordan Jenkins, the offensive line, receivers and special teams.
The Jets have signed 13 undrafted free agents on top of their seven draft picks. These players will work with the club, including this past weekend’s rookie mini-camp. The mini-camp was held at the Atlantic Health Training Center.
Below is the final list of the undrafted free agent signings for 2016:
Jalin Marshall, WR, Ohio State (5’11”, 205)
Marshall was a five-star recruit with high expectations heading into Ohio State. His progress began slow due to injury, suffering a concussion and a torn meniscus which forced him to redshirt in 2013. In 2014, Marshall played in all 15 games for Ohio State, becoming the second-leading receiver collecting 38 receptions for 499 yards and six touchdowns: Freshman-year numbers second only to Hall of Famer Cris Carter. In 2015, Marshall earned All-Big Ten honors as a receiver with 36 receptions for 477 yards and five touchdowns (second on the team), and as a punt returner where he averaged 13.5 yards per return. The Jets are high on this kid, and for good reason.
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Robby Anderson, WR, Temple (6’3″, 190)
In two seasons at Temple, Anderson showed he can make plays.
In 2013, he had 44 receptions for 791 yards and nine touchdowns.
He was suspended for academic purposes in 2014, but came back with a good year in 2015, grabbing 70 receptions for 939 yards and seven touchdowns.
Anderson displayed great speed at his pro day with a 4.34 time in the 40-yard dash.
Doug Middleton, SS, Appalachian State (6’0″, 210)
In two seasons at Appalachian State, Middleton totaled 127 tackles (six for loss) and four interceptions. Middleton is able to bring versatility to the safety position as he has played at both spots in college. He needs some work on recovery quickness and lateral agility, but he sure can hit. Middleton could come in and be a solid special teams player for the Jets.
Claude Pelon, G, Southern Cal (6’4″, 300)
Pelon brings versatility and a good motor to the defensive line. He has good size and is strong. At the USC pro day, he put up 33 reps on the bench press at 225 lbs. Before joining the Trojans, he was a JUCO All-American at Mesa Community College in Arizona.
Tarow Barney, DT, Penn State (6’1″, 305)
In two seasons at Penn State, Barney played in 25 games where he totaled 16 tackles and 2.5 sacks. He was a transfer from Northwest Mississippi Community College.
Julien Obioha, DE, Texas A&M (6’4″, 280)
Obioha played four seasons for Texas A&M. In that time, he was able to tally 137 total tackles and added 4.5 sacks. At his pro day, he put up 26 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press and had a 27″ vertical.
Quenton Bundrage, WR, Iowa State (6’2″, 198)
Bundrage was with the Cyclones for three seasons, unfortunately missing the 2014 season due to a knee injury. In 2013, he added 48 receptions for X yards and nine touchdowns. In 2015, Bundrage contributed 41 receptions for 548 yards and four touchdowns, finishing second overall on the team.
Jason Vander Laan, TE, Ferris State (6’4″, 244)
Vander Laan was billed as dual-threat quarterback at Ferris State, but in an effort to play in the NFL, he attempted to learn other positions. He entered the this year’s draft as, and will play for the Jets as a tight end. Vander Laan is in the NCAA history books first, for being the first player in NCAA history to pass and run for 1,000 yards in four consecutive seasons, and for his 5,953 career rush yards which is the most for a quarterback in NCAA history.
Kyle Friend, C, Temple (6’2″, 305)
Friend is the epitome of power, and also has good athletic ability, toughness and leadership qualities. At his pro day, Friend benched 41 reps of 225 pounds, ran a 5.08 second 40-yard dash and had a 28 1/2″ vertical. At Temple, Friend started 41 games, was a three-time captain, and a four-year letterwinner.
Ross Martin, K, Duke (5’10”, 185)
Martin was a reliable kicker at Duke. He is one of three players in ACC history to exceed 400 points, and was three points short one year of reaching 100 points in each of his four seasons (106 in 2012, 97 in 2013, 107 in 2014, 120 in 2015), seemingly improving as years went by. Martin is more of a technician than a big leg and will need work on kickoffs.
Tom Hackett, P, Utah (5’11”, 195)
Hackett is a two-time Ray Guy Award winner as the nation’s top punter. He finished second all-time at Utah with a career average of 45.2 yards per punt. Hackett also holds the mark at Utah for his 68 punts over 50 yards. In his final year he averaged 48 yards per punt and led the Pac-12 in punts over 50 yards with 23. Hackett should be in a compelling battle with the Jets’ seventh round pick, Lachlan Edwards.
Helva Matungulu, DE, Western Carolina (6’5″, 290)
Matungulu is a native of Kenya who has only played organized football for five years. He has played a couple of years along the offensive line, transitioned to defense for three years, and played in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. Matungulu was also part of a rugby team in Nairobi.
Lawrence Thomas, DE, Michigan State (6’4″, 305)
Thomas joined the Spartans as a linebacker and served as a fullback before moving to the defensive line and playing nose tackle and defensive end. 2013 proved to be a tough season with a back injury, but he came back healthy in 2014, ready to work. Thomas would go on to start every game, including 12 at nose tackle. He ended the season with 30 tackles (four-and-a-half for loss). Thomas was voted an honorable mention all-conference in 2015 after tallying career highs with 38 tackles (five for loss), three sacks and six pass break-ups.