1. Jeff Smith, WR, NY Jets
A host of wide receivers rotated in with the first-team offense this summer. At one point or another, each of Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, Jamison Crowder, Keelan Cole, Denzel Mims, Braxton Berrios, Jeff Smith, and Vyncint Smith received snaps with the starters in practice.
That's eight different players. There was never going to be room for all eight of them on the roster.
Most assumed that the Jets could carry six wide receivers with Davis, Moore, Crowder, Cole, Mims, and Berrios making the cut. But much to the surprise of many, Jeff Smith managed to sneak onto the roster as the seventh receiver.
It's easy to see what the Jets like in Smith. He's quick, agile, versatile, and has experience contributing on special teams.
Just take one look at how they deployed him in the preseason. The Jets loved to get Smith involved on gadget plays — a role he might play throughout the 2021 season.
The former Boston College quarterback did haul in 17 catches for 167 yards last year so he has some NFL experience. Still, most figured he would be returning to the practice squad in the near future.
But Smith impressed enough in those preseason games to convince the Jets to carry a seventh wide receiver instead of a ninth offensive lineman, sixth linebacker, or any other additional depth at a different position.
His addition to the 53-man roster certainly raised a few eyebrows. More so than anyone else on this list.