NY Jets: 3 backups who shined in the first week of training camp

NY Jets (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) /
NY Jets (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

The NY Jets have seen a number of backup players shine throughout training camp so far.

The NY Jets have officially finished up their first week of training camp. As always, there were some ups and downs including a couple of noteworthy injuries, but for the most part, the first week has left fans feeling optimistic.

Optimistic about their rookie first-round pick who everyone insists is the biggest human on this planet. Optimistic about the progress of their third-year quarterback who seems to be making strides after a rocky first two NFL seasons.

Yes, there’s an overall sense of optimism about the organization despite what’s shaping up to be a challenging season on paper. But as per usual, training camp is just as much for the lesser-known players as it is the established starters.

In fact, it’s arguably more important for the backups.

Unknown rookies make their presence felt. Overlooked reserves remind fans that they can make an impact. And roster-bubble players do their best to earn their way on to the 53-man roster.

Despite the unorthodox nature of this year’s training camp period, that’s something that has not changed.

The Jets have seen a number of these players stand out over the first week of camp and make a name for themselves. And those are the players we’re set to look at today.

With that, let’s take a look at three backups who have shined throughout the first week of training camp.

Next: 3. Jeff Smith

NY Jets (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images) /

3. Jeff Smith, WR, NY Jets

The Jets went into the summer with depth at most of the important positions of the roster. But perhaps the one position they were incredibly thin at was wide receiver.

And as fate would have it, no position has been hit harder with injuries thus far.

Rookie second-round pick Denzel Mims remains sidelined with a hamstring injury. Vyncint Smith will likely miss the first few weeks of the season after undergoing core muscle surgery. And even Josh Doctson opted-out just prior to training camp.

But injuries breed opportunities. And one player has made the most of his opportunity.

Former Boston College quarterback Jeff Smith has been making waves in training camp as he’s been running with the first-team offense with Mims and Smith out.

An undrafted free agent last year, Smith made quite the impression in last year’s camp and spent the majority of the season on the practice squad before being promoted for a brief one-game stint in December.

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NFL Network’s Albert Breer even labeled Smith a “dark horse” at the wide receiver position for the Jets this year after he visited one of the team’s practices.

Smith still has an uphill battle ahead of him, but the speedy, converted quarterback has been making the most of his opportunities.

Don’t be shocked if he sneaks his way on to the 53-man roster.

Next: 2. Trevon Wesco

NY Jets (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

2. Trevon Wesco, TE, NY Jets

The Jets will welcome back tight end Chris Herndon this year after essentially missing all of last season. Herndon’s return will hopefully jumpstart an offense that missed him in multiple ways in 2019.

And many have been excited about the prospect of pairing him with surprise 2019 standout Ryan Griffin who filled in admirably for Herndon last year. However, Griffin hasn’t been able to step on the field this summer.

And with Griffin out, Trevon Wesco has shined.

A fourth-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Wesco had an underwhelming rookie season but really showed significant improvements as the year went on. In reality, Wesco was a liability as a blocker early in the season.

But by the end of 2019, he held a pretty important role in the offense doubling as an extra in-line blocker and a fullback. And so far in training camp, he’s making a strong case to take on an even bigger role in 2020.

Wesco has been flashing his receiving traits highlighted by a spectacular diving grab in Wednesday’s practice.


He seems to have the support of the coaching staff as well with head coach Adam Gase saying that his performance has been “night and day” from last season. “It’s been fun to watch his progression in such a short period of time.”

Wesco seems to have secured a roster spot with his stellar play and don’t be surprised to see him on the field more — perhaps in lieu of Griffin — this year.

Next: 1. Quincy Wilson

NY Jets (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images) /

1. Quincy Wilson, CB, NY Jets

General manager Joe Douglas decided to take a flier on former second-round pick Quincy Wilson when the Jets shipped a sixth-round pick to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for the physically- talented cornerback.

The 46th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, Wilson never managed to catch on in Indianapolis due in part to injuries, a poor scheme fit, and simply underwhelming play.

At 6-foot-2, 193 pounds, Wilson is a big-bodied cornerback who’s capable of physically matching up with really any opposing receiver. But his lack of deep speed ended up costing him as did his misplacement in the Colts’ zone-heavy scheme.

But under Gregg Williams, Wilson has managed to rediscover some of the talent that made him a top-50 draft pick.

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The Jets’ cornerback group has looked particularly strong throughout training camp so far — perhaps helped by a lackluster receiving corps — and Wilson has been the biggest standout.

Wilson was quick to replace Arthur Maulet in the first-team defense when the veteran defensive back was burnt on a slant route by Breshad Perriman who took it 70 yards to the house during Wednesday’s practice.

And later that same day, he recorded the Jets’ first interception of training camp picking off rookie fourth-round pick James Morgan. He followed that up with another stellar day on Thursday.

Wilson has an outside shot at earning the starting cornerback job opposite Pierre Desir and if he keeps impressing like this, it’s going to be hard to keep him off the field.

Next. NY Jets: 3 reasons why the team should trade for Yannick Ngakoue

Few players have made as strong of a first impression through the first week of training camp as Quincy Wilson.