General Manager John Idzik recently said that the New York Jets would make heavier use of undrafted free agents than is otherwise typical, considering how much roster turnover there has been. One such UDFA may be Keith "K.J." Stroud, a Brooklyn-born wide receiver out of Bethune-Cookman University. K.J. is 6'3" and 205lbs, and runs a 4.4 40-yard dash. I had a chance to speak to him, and here is what he had to say:
What kind of contact did the Jets have with you before the draft?
Before the draft had kicked off, I was fortunate to get invited to the Jets local workout. Everything had gone well, and it was then that I drew interest from the Wide Receiver coach Sanjay Lal and the General Manager John Idzik. I was in and out of conversation with someone from the Jets staff on a weekly basis so I had figured then that I caught the attention of the Jets.
Can you describe your mini-camp experience?
My first minicamp experience was awesome! I had the opportunity to play for a NFL organization, that’s a blessing right there. To be able to put on a helmet at that level is truly a blessing. I learned so much about the game and learned the Jets philosophy on how they operate on the field. I had the opportunity to compete with guys that had played the game on the same skill level that I do. It was fast, decisive and very competitive. I think I put together a pretty decent body of work throughout those three days.
I saw the video when you got signed by the Jets. Can you tell me what the draft experience was like for you? Did you think you'd get drafted or was it clear that you'd be a UDFA? Did you have other offers?
Overall, the entire draft experience was exciting. To know that I was going to be given the opportunity to play football again was surreal. At some point, I thought I could’ve been a late round selection but things happen and certain things within the draft are simply out of a player’s control. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the suspense of everything. At the end of the draft, I had a few other offers but mostly in talk with the Giants, Bengals and Jaguars.
I saw that you're from Brooklyn. Did you grow up cheering for the Jets or Giants, or another team?
Being a New Yorker, I sadly didn’t really grow up cheering for anyone. I really followed the game of football from athletes I admired while growing up. A player that caught my attention most while growing up was Randy Moss.
How would you describe your playing style? Is there a player in mind that you compare yourself to?
If I could compare my playing style to someone it would be Marques Colston. I would label myself as balanced WR because I can stretch the field vertically and I can go across the middle. I can really do it all and I take the most pride in catching every football thrown my way.
When the coaches go back and discuss the players, what do you want them to say about you?
They would probably say something like "That WR K.J. Stroud doesn’t put the football on the ground. He plays the game as fast as he runs the 40."