The odds are stacked against you as a UDFA. The team that signs you can cut you just as quickly. The team that signs you has invested very little, in most cases you don't get a year or two to adapt to the NFL, you have to prove that you belong straight away. For a player not deemed worthy of a draft selection, that's quite a hurdle to get over.
The odds may not be in your favour, but it's possible. The Jets have seen that first hand with the likes of Robby Anderson last year, Damon Harrison back in 2012 and Wayne Chrebet back in 1995. People forget that Antonio Gates went undrafted, more because of his basketball talent than anything else, but still. Kurt Warner, Warren Moon, Jeff Saturday, Tony Romo, Priest Holmes, James Harrison, Wes Welker, Arian Foster and many many more. A lot of the guys you sign won't make it, that's just a fact. However it's a mistake to ignore the players you sign as UDFA's.
So today I'm going to go through each prospect reported to have signed with the Jets, and just offer a little snapshot of their game.
Dave Evans, QB, Tulsa
2016 Stats: 59.5% completion, 3348 yards, 32 TD, 12 INT, 4 Rushing TD
Evans has a nice quick release with a good internal clock to get the ball out. According to PFF he gained 64.8% of his total yards through the air instead of gaining big on his receivers work after the catch, that 64.8% mark was the 2nd highest in the 2017 NFL draft class. His deep ball accuracy is good, lets see how he reads a game.
Brisly Estime, WR, Syracuse
2016 Stats: 48 receptions, 518 yards, 3 TD
Brisly is an interesting prospect because he returned both kicks and punts at Syracuse. He has 47 kick returns for 956 yards and 41 punt returns for 739 yards and 2 touchdowns over his career. Known as one of the better punt returners in college football, he also showed some shiftiness in the slot and an ability to get deep at times. He's the only Syracuse player to record two 80+ yard TD's in his career.
Connor Harris, LB, Lindenwood
2016 Stats: 138 tackles, 8.5 for a loss, 2 INT
Harris is just one of those guys who loves football, who could find and hit people in his sleep. He's not exactly the biggest guy at 5'11 and he's not the longest guy with arms just over 30", but he knows where the football is and his read and react is good. He also follows the mould of great intangibles and leadership. Many expected him to get drafted around the 6th, so getting him as a UDFA is a steal on the face of it.
Xavier Coleman, CB, Portland State
2016 Stats: 29 tackles, 3 for a loss, 7 pass defenses, 2 INT
The Jets drafted a couple of big, long, strong corners. However Coleman doesn't really fit that mould standing at just 5'11 but he has the speed, clocked at around 4.46 with a 40" vertical and a 6.81 in the three cone drill, all of which would have been up there had he been invited to the scouting combine. He was also a team captain, needless to say really.
Anthony Firkser, TE/FB, Harvard
2016 Stats: 45 receptions, 702 yards, 7 TD's
You've obviously got to look at the level of competition here, but he's a 6'2, 245lb guy who has showcased some very solid hands. He attended the Jets local pro-day and he's a New Jersey native, so it's good to see a local kid get a chance. If it doesn't work out? Well he's always got that Harvard degree to fall on, I hear that's a pretty good school.
Gabe Marks, WR, Washington State
2016 Stats: 89 receptions, 894 yards, 13 TD
Gabe is definitely my pick to make the most noise as a UDFA. I've seen a fair bit of him and was pretty shocked to see him go undrafted. He's been highly productive, he's not the biggest or the fastest but he is the most competitive. His hands are good, he tracks the ball well and he showcases some A+ body control to adapt to throws and get his feet down. I think Marks will be the 2017 version of Robby Anderson.
Austin Calitro, LB, Villanova
2016 Stats: 86 tackles, 12 for a loss, 3.5 sacks, 4 pass defenses
Guess what Calitro was at Villanova? Yeah you guessed it, a team captain. He was named a first team CAA Football All-Conference selection and got an invite to the East/West Shrine Game. I haven't seen a great deal of Calitro, but from what I have seen, he looks to have a good nose for the football and a lot of quickness and closing speed to his game. No doubt the Jets are looking at him as an OLB prospect.
Patrick Gamble, DL, Georgia Tech
2016 Stats: 53 tackles, 10 for a loss, 7.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles
Standing at 6'5 and 277lb's with long arms and big hands. He always played with a good motor and his hand usage and speed to power conversion was always impressed. He may need to add a little bulk to the frame to slide into a 3-4 DE spot, he has the quickness and athletic ability to play inside and out from a technique perspective.
Jareid Combs, DE/OLB, North Texas
2016 Stats: 43 tackles, 6.5 for a loss, 3 sacks
With Combs you're almost certainly looking for him to play standing up as an edge rusher. He has played from both the 2 and 3 point stances, but it's his speed off the edge which likely attracted the attention of the Jets. He has a good motor and a lot of his production behind the line comes from a relentless pursuit. He was known as a strong leader on the North Texas team, a trait the Jets value very highly.
Anthony Jennings, QB, Louisiana-Lafayette
2016 Stats: 59.8% completion. 2178 yards, 11 TD, 13 INT
Jennings started his career at LSU. He got in a little trouble, and ended up losing the starting job. He landed at Louisiana-Lafayette where he had an up and down season. I can't comment too much on Jennings game as I haven't seen him since 2014 when he suited up for LSU, he was pretty wild then with his accuracy and took a few too many chances.
Javarius Leamon, OT, South Carolina State
2016 Stats: Second-team All-MEAC pick as the Gamecock's starting left tackle
Leamon is a big guy standing at 6'7 and 332 lb's. I haven't seen Leamon personally, but the consensus is he's a project tackle who needs to add a little strength to his frame and improve his foot quickness and balance. It may be that he's a guy who needs to spend a year on the practice squad before contributing, but he definitely has the frame to be an NFL lineman.
Domonique Young, WR, Purdue
2016 Stats: 29 receptions, 338 yards, 1 TD
It was a disappointing year for Young who suffered a serious leg injury in October and was forced to miss the rest of the season. Having recovered from a dislocated knee, he has his sights firmly set on making a name for himself at the next level. At 6'3 and 220lb's, he has excellent size for the position, and has showcased strong hands at times, especially on contested balls over the middle.
Keevan Lucas, WR, Tulsa
2016 Stats: 81 receptions, 1180 yards, 15 TD
Lucas is another guy who I thought should have been drafted and was likely overlooked because of the measurables. He's got excellent body control and plays much bigger than his 5'9 frame. Interestingly the Bills called him to sign him and then only minutes later called him back to say they were revoking the offer due to medical concerns. He had a torn meniscus in his left knee in high school and a torn patella tendon in his right knee at Tulsa, but that didn't stop him from putting up some great numbers and a good showing at the combine. Their loss is hopefully our gain. I believe that Lucas is will be at the rookie camp as a tryout and I've left other tryout players off this list, as I think Lucas has a ton of talent.