Wayne Chrebet, Garrett McIntyre, Jamal Westerman, Josh Mauga, Nick Belore. I'm sure theres more, but thats the guys that I can think of that basically came off the street and found a job with the Jets. Belore and Garrett McIntyre last year alone made the linebacking corps. Out of the rookie free agents and free agent castoffs who will make the team this year?
There's one I can make a good argument for, and one I hope to see. Everyone has their favorites, so I'm sure you will all tell me yours.The guy I can make a good argument for is Donnie Fletcher. He's the cornerback from Boston College, which you all probably know. Since I'm reading blogs about players that were drafted, I might as well blog about a guy that I think will make this team. Measurables-wise he is 6'1 and 195 lbs. He has a 4.53 40, but at BC pro day he ran a 4.38 and a 4.44. He played all the way through his senior year.
His junior year he had 58 tackles, 8 passes broken up, and 5 interceptions. As a result, his senior year, teams threw away from him, and he had the Revis effect. His senior year he was bored and lonely on his way to 35 tackles, 5 passes broken up, and 2 interceptions. His lack of stats is not an indication of his non play making ability, but the respect teams had towards throwing his way. I read a lot of stuff on the guy, and it pretty much reads like this. He is good in man coverage, but his strong suit is in play recognition in zone coverage. His height and length put him in the Cromartie category, but his skill set is more in the Dwight Lowery type of mode.
Since the Jets were actively looking at bringing back Lowery, and Dwight did some really good things in that corner/safety position, I think Donnie Fletcher has a very good chance at getting a spot in that same type of role. He can be the 4th or 5th cornerback on the roster. He can play special teams. He can also play to his strengths as an extra defensive back/ safety if they play cover 3 type defenses. Since he is good at reading plays in front of him, and breaking on passes as they are thrown, I definately see him at the end of the roster, handling a number of roles from 5th DB/ free safety/ special teams guy. Since they would have to bring in corners just to take the position away from him, he's a safe bet on opening day.
Next guy I like is a long shot. I don't care. I like him anyway. His name is Brett Roy. He's a defensive tackle from the University of Nevada. Another DT you say? Not this guy. The thing with him is he started at Nevada as a safety, then was moved to linebacker, then to DE, and finally to DT. Remember that guy Brian Urlacher? When the Bears drafted him, he had been a safety, and moved to linebacker. This guy is not Urlacher, but he does have something in common. He is a player, and he makes plays no matter where he is.
Here's the measurables. He is 6'3 275 lbs, he put up 32 reps at the combine, but he ran a 5 second 40 time. Oh no. He can't run a 40 so he sucks right? Here's the deal. This guy registered 18 sacks the last 2 years at Nevada. Not from a linebacker spot, but from a DT spot. 18 sacks from DT is great. I don't care if its in the lowly WAC conference, it shows you can bust up the middle of the line and get penetration. This is what he did often at that school. If you read his reviews they will all say the same thing. High motor, always in pursuit, and always disruptive in the backfield. He ran the 40 again at his pro day and turned in a 4.9. Still horrible, but he's getting somewhere.
The outside linebacking was thin already last year, and he's going to get a spot in that rotation. One of those spots that was occupied by guys like Jamal Westerman, and Garrett McIntyre could be his. Where other pass rushers are going to use speed, he is going to use his strength and skill to bulldoze into the backfield. He could be way better than Jarrett Johnson (formerly of the Ravens) that the Jets were looking to sign. His senior year at Nevada his stats looked like this 64 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, and 6 passes broken up. This spells football player to me, and a guy that will get it done, no matter where you put him on the field. This guy has the potential be a devastating rush linebacker if that is his only responsibilty.
There you have it. I see Donnie Fletcher making his team for his versatility and coverage skills. I see Brett Roy making this team for his relentless pass rush and ability to get into the backfield. More pass rush and more coverage coming into the fold. Two potential steals and playmakers, that will make immediate contributions to the team.