The NY Jets are expected to add some extra pass-rush depth before their next preseason game. The team is expected to sign reigning XFL Defensive Player of the Year, Pita Taumoepenu, per The Jet Press' Mike Mitchell.
Taumoepenu is a former sixth-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers who has appeared in 11 NFL games since entering the league in 2017. His most recent stint came with the Vegas Vipers in the XFL, where Taumoepenu put together an award-winning campaign.
The Utah product finished second in the XFL in sacks with 6.5 in 10 games and led the league with four forced fumbles. His history with Jets head coach Robert Saleh, dating back to their days together in San Francisco, likely played a role in the team signing him.
Taumoepenu is a classic Saleh-type. He's undersized at just 6-foot-1, 245 pounds, but he's a quick-twitch athlete who was described as a "second-effort sack man" on his pre-draft scouting report.
The NY Jets have a fun and intriguing player in Pita Taumoepenu
Taumoepenu has almost exclusively played as an outside linebacker in his career and even played some off-ball linebacker during his time in San Francisco. Perhaps that's the role the Jets envision him in.
The Jets are loaded with pass-rush depth at the moment, with the likes of Carl Lawson, John Franklin-Myers, Jermaine Johnson, Will McDonald, Micheal Clemons, and Bryce Huff all seemingly locks for the 53-man roster.
There isn't much room for Taumoepenu to make an impact as a pass-rusher, but perhaps he could stick around on the practice squad. He also provides special teams experience, which helps his chances of earning a spot with the organization.
Taumoepenu is the second former XFL player the Jets signed today after the team agreed to a deal with former Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Bruce Hector. 48 former XFL players (the 2023 edition) have now signed contracts with NFL teams, per Mitchell.
No matter where he plays, the Jets have landed an exciting and versatile player who could provide value on defense and special teams. Don't be shocked if Taumoepenu carves out a role.