The Jet Press
Free Agency

Analyzing best-ever Jets UDFA crop

CHESTNUT HILL, MA - SEPTEMBER 29: Jeff Smith #6 of the Boston College Eagles celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the first half of the game between the Boston College Eagles and the Temple Owls at Alumni Stadium on September 29, 2018 in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
CHESTNUT HILL, MA - SEPTEMBER 29: Jeff Smith #6 of the Boston College Eagles celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the first half of the game between the Boston College Eagles and the Temple Owls at Alumni Stadium on September 29, 2018 in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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The Jets could not fully address their plethora of roster weaknesses in the recent draft.  But GM Mike Maccagnan filled in many weak spots with a bountiful haul of draft-grade undrafted free agents.

The process of projecting Undrafted Free Agents (UDFAs) can be difficult because many of these players come with red flags and/or substandard scouting reports.  Others simply fall through the cracks — which is where NFL GMs truly earn their keep.

After the naming of UCLA TE Caleb Wilson as “Mr. Irrelevent” at pick #254, the Jets went into action mode to bolster their draft, signing a slew of draft-grade wide receivers, cornerbacks, and linemen on both sides of the ball.  Don’t be surprised if half of these 17 UDFAs end up contributing on the next level, in Florham Park or elsewhere.

The sheer volume of D-line camp invites raise serious questions over the future of Quinnen Williams’ line-mates — and whether that future includes Leonard Williams.  It’s also a bold admission that this team won’t wait for 2018 draftees Nathan Shepherd and Foley Fatukasi.

The upcoming pages analyze this week’s positional invites — and separates which players could suit up in green-and-white on any given Sunday, from which seem like camp fodder better suited for driving jobs with FedEx or UPS.  Face it, football is a cold business, where many are called but few are chosen…

Next: Undrafted Offensive Weapons

RALEIGH, NC – OCTOBER 06: Jeff Smith #6 of the Boston College Eagles makes a catch against Jarius Morehead #31 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack during their game at Carter-Finley Stadium on October 6, 2018 in Raleigh, North Carolina. North Carolina State won 28-23. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
RALEIGH, NC – OCTOBER 06: Jeff Smith #6 of the Boston College Eagles makes a catch against Jarius Morehead #31 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack during their game at Carter-Finley Stadium on October 6, 2018 in Raleigh, North Carolina. North Carolina State won 28-23. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Undrafted Offensive Weapons

Greg Dortch, WR, Wake Forest

An ascending talent with a chance to contribute in the slot and as a punt returner.  This 5’7″ redshirt sophomore two-time All-American who caught 89 passes for 1,078 yards last year, could be what this team thought they’d found in future AAF-er Jalin Marshall.  Draftniks graded Dortch an early Day Three pick, so excellent value here.

Jeff Smith, WR, Boston College

Dortch was the Jets first priority UDFA signing.  Smith was one of the last, but may be the most consequential.  The converted QB and part-time RB — not invited to the Combine — can realize field-time as an explosive special-teamer while developing his receiving skills.  Another NFL-ready late-rounder who just missed the cut.

Jalin Moore, RB, Appalachian State

This bruising back overcame a painful 2018-ending fractured and dislocated right ankle to fully rehab and excel at the Combine.  The 2017 Dollar General Bowl MVP is a workout warrior, tough inside rusher, punishing blocker, and tough pass protector.  Moore’s that developmental RB the Jets may need in a year or so.

Next: Developmental Linemen

INGLEWOOD, CA – APRIL 27: USC football player Toa Lobendahn speaks onstage at WE Day California to celebrate young people changing the world at The Forum on April 27, 2017 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for WE)
INGLEWOOD, CA – APRIL 27: USC football player Toa Lobendahn speaks onstage at WE Day California to celebrate young people changing the world at The Forum on April 27, 2017 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for WE)

Developmental Linemen

Toa Lobendahn, C, USC

Like third-rounder Chuma Edoga, Toa was another of Darnold’s USC protectors.  Dismissed as too small (6’2″, 295-pound) to handle the behemoth Quinnen Williamses of the new NFL, this two-time All-Pac-12-er could offer depth behind Jonotthan Harrison, at least in zone-blocking schemes.  A lunch-pail baller, versatile at guard and tackle, deserved of an “A” for effort.

Wyatt Miller, OT, UCF

This mammoth (6’4″ 306-pounds), brutally nasty former baseball player started 47 games at left and right tackle for the top Golden Knights.  Consider this All-AAC bruiser another high-value, projected late-rounder who could earn a Jets practice squad gig — if not a 2019 roster spot as a future contributor.

Tyler Jones, OG, NC State

The Wolfpack’s underrated LT projected as a mid-round selection — and should find work at guard on the next level.  This proven two-time first-team All-ACC stud still needs time in the weight room and with pass protection — and rates as a solid potential understudy to Kelechi Osemele, perhaps on the practice squad.

Next: Secondary

OXFORD, OH – NOVEMBER 07: Kyron Brown #4 of the Akron Zips breaks up a pass intended for James Gardner #81 of the Miami Ohio Redhawks during the first half at Yager Stadium on November 7, 2017 in Oxford, Ohio. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
OXFORD, OH – NOVEMBER 07: Kyron Brown #4 of the Akron Zips breaks up a pass intended for James Gardner #81 of the Miami Ohio Redhawks during the first half at Yager Stadium on November 7, 2017 in Oxford, Ohio. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Secondary

Kyron Brown, CB, Akron

Played in all 50 games of his four-year Zips career.  Brown’s minimal stats (six career INTs) reflect that no opponents dared throw his way.  A bit like promising 2017 practice squadder Xavier Coleman before shredding his knee.

John Battle, S, LSU

An intelligent, versatile, battle-tested three-year starter at Baton Rouge, with a real nose for the ball.  He once paired in deep coverage with Jamal Adams but can line up anywhere on the field.  Has a legitimate chance to back-up Marcus Maye.

Santos Ramirez, S, Arkansas

The fifth-year senior and team captain — a starter of 34 straight games — fell off the draft map after a career-worst 2018 season of missed tackles and blown coverage.  In fact, of the Top 25 SEC safeties, Ramirez ranked 25th.  An impressive character with all the measurables.

Next: Front Seven

PASADENA, CA – SEPTEMBER 15: Jeff Allison #9 of the Fresno State Bulldogs makes an interception in front of Anthoula Kelly #6 during the third quarter against the UCLA Bruins at Rose Bowl on September 15, 2018 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA – SEPTEMBER 15: Jeff Allison #9 of the Fresno State Bulldogs makes an interception in front of Anthoula Kelly #6 during the third quarter against the UCLA Bruins at Rose Bowl on September 15, 2018 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Front Seven

Jamey Mosley, LB, Alabama

C.J.’s younger brother — a former walk-on at the nation’s elite program — played six games each over the past two seasons in Tuscaloosa.  The 6’5″, 240-pound overachiever with high gridiron IQ — part of four consecutive SEC titles — served as a strong locker room presence.  The signing also makes for a terrific family feel-good story.

Jeff Allison, LB, Fresno State

A throwback inside linebacker, not particularly athletic or explosive, who, like fifth-rounder Blake Cashman, offers instant special teams upside.  Allison left Fresno as 2018 Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year.  The underclasman started 28 straight games and ranked tenth in school history with 279 career tackles.

Jabril Frazier, EDGE, Boise State

A ferocious four-year playmaker, rated by nfl.com towards the top of their post-draft UDFA board.  Has all the measurables (6’4″, 240-pounds, 4.79 40-yard dash), versatility, and mental toughness to contribute as an edge rusher or as a stand-up LB — however, ankle, knee, and shoulder surgeries raise red flags.

Next: Defensive Beef

KNOXVILLE, TN – OCTOBER 20: Defensive lineman Kyle Phillips #5 of the Tennessee Volunteers reacts after an interception for a touchdown during the second half of the game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium on October 20, 2018 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Alabama won 58-21. (Photo by Donald Page/Getty Images)
KNOXVILLE, TN – OCTOBER 20: Defensive lineman Kyle Phillips #5 of the Tennessee Volunteers reacts after an interception for a touchdown during the second half of the game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium on October 20, 2018 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Alabama won 58-21. (Photo by Donald Page/Getty Images)

Defensive Beef

Kyle Phillips, DE, Tennessee

The only Volunteer graded draft-worthy overcame back-to-back season-ending injuries to crush the SEC in 2018 with an impressive arsenal of sacks, tackles for losses, pass deflections and interceptions.  Another good value pick-up that Gregg Williams could develop.

Fred Jones, DT, Florida State

The nephew of former Jets starting linebacker Marvin Jones — he of that cheap shot on Drew Bledsoe that ushered in the Tom Brady era — provided quality depth on Florida State’s tough defensive front.  Now he’ll look to do the same at MetLife Stadium.

Trevon Sanders, DT, Troy

Reminiscent of Jets veteran NT Steve McLendon, another Troy, Alabama fireplug.  Ate up the middle as a two-time All-Sun Belt Conference disruptor.  Can also play that “Refrigerator Perry role” on short yardage situations, performed last year by current Vikings signee Dakota Dozier.

MyQuon Stout, DT, Appalachian State

A two-time App State team captain and three-year starter who earned two-time first-team All-Sun Belt Conference honors.  A thick 6’1″ 290-pound NT who will give Foley Fatukasi a run for his money for that final interior D-line spot.

Justin Alexandre, DE, Incarnate Word

A local Elmont, Long Island star who played two years of JuCo then transferred to this Texas-based FCS powerhouse.  The speedy 6’5″, 260-pounder excelled last season with an impressive 8.5 sacks and 55 tackles, with 15 for loss and three forced fumbles.  Worth a shot.

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