As the New York Jets preseason is coming to an end, wide receiver Tre McBride and linebacker Frankie Luvu have made their case for the final roster.
Those that know me from my prior writings here at The Jet Press, likely know that I’m a fan of the underdog. Every year I watch the summer festivities and survey the roster for those that flashed but have not necessarily stood out to the casual observer. I’m also guilty of being a sucker for a feel-good story, so please forgive me there.
This year I’ve really liked what I’ve seen from two such players, one being a rookie undrafted free agent and the other a slow starting wide receiver going into his fourth season in the NFL. Both of these young men have made a case for themselves to make the New York Jets roster when the cut is made to 53 players come September 1.
I’d like to start with the “feel-good story player of the year”. You likely know him better as Frankie Luvu, an undrafted free agent out of Washington State. Luvu has literally taken a long journey to get to this point in his journey to become an NFL player. Born in American Samoa, Luvu is thousands of miles away from home and an unlikely candidate to even get this far. He played for an undefeated high school team, appearing as both a linebacker and a kicker. Fun fact: Every one of his kickoffs went into the end zone for a touchback.
Luvu left home and traveled to the United States to play for Washington State, no small feat for a young man in and of itself. The 6’3″/236 OLB played mostly on special teams for the Cougars, before having a breakout senior year where he produced 6.5 sacks and 12 tackles for loss.
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This summer, Luvu has not only flashed in camp but has drawn the attention of the coaching staff. As the summer went on, Luvu earned himself some first-team reps in a crowded OLB position group.
He’s played with great instinct and has shown the ability to bring pressure on the QB from the outside, something the Jets certainly could benefit from. If he can continue to progress and eliminate some rookie mistakes, he could develop into a solid contributor.
Currently, the Jets unofficial depth chart has him listed as a fourth-stringer behind Josh Martin, David Bass, and Dylan Donahue. This week’s final preseason game will be of vital importance for his young career and his future with the team. Regardless of the outcome come September 1, Luvu has shown the ability to play like a Jet.
The other player that has caught my eye is wide receiver Tre McBride. McBride played his college football at William and Mary where he led the Tribe in receptions in his sophomore and senior seasons. In his time with the Tribe, he amassed 196 receptions, 2,653 yards, and 19 touchdowns.
McBride was drafted in the seventh round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans and spent time on both the Tennessee Titans and Chicago Bears practice squads, while briefly appearing on both teams active rosters as well. Last season, McBride played in seven regular season games for the Bears, catching 8 receptions for 144 yards, averaging 18 yards per catch and a long of 45 yards.
This summer with the Jets, he’s drawn the attention of both fans and the coaching staff. By many reports, he’s had an excellent camp and stood out against the Washington Redskins converting two third-down attempts with catches of 11 and 13 yards. In the first two preseason games, he was credited with 4 catches for 40 yards before being shutout against the New York Giants last week.
The 6 foot 210-pound wide receiver has shown that he can get open, has exceptional speed, a good set of hands and is quickly becoming a favorite target of rookie quarterback Sam Darnold. The Jets have a plethora of wide receivers currently on the roster and McBride will need a serious showing in the days leading up to final cuts to make the roster however. Unofficially, the Jets depth chart has him as a fifth options behind Jermaine Kearse, Quincy Enunwa, ArDarius Stewart, and Charles Johnson.
While one or neither of these players may be on the roster come September 2, they have represented themselves well this summer. They’ve shown they can play like a Jet and now will need to continue to work hard to make their case to continue to wear the Green and White into the regular season. As a Jets fan, I wish them the very best in their careers wherever they may land this season.