The Jets recently signed quarterback Brett Rypien to their practice squad, so today we’re going to break him down in detail.
The 27-year old Rypien is listed at 6’2” and 202 pounds and was undrafted out of Boise State in 2019. Rypien has started four NFL games, winning two, but he has only completed 58 percent of his passes, with nine interceptions and only four touchdown passes in his career so far. He is the nephew of Super Bowl XXVI MVP Mark Rypien.
Rypien was a four-star high school recruit and enrolled at Boise State, where he was expected to redshirt his freshman year but eventually became the full-time starter after an early season injury to Ryan Finley.
Rypien ended up being a four year starter, and in 49 career starts he was a three-time all-Mountain West Conference first-teamer and one-time second-team selection. He set career marks in virtually every passing category in his final season as he was named the Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Year. Rypien ended up with over 13,500 passing yards, 90 touchdown passes and only 29 interceptions in his college career.
Heading into the 2019 NFL draft, Rypien played well at the Shrine Bowl, but concerns over his hand size and arm strength meant that he went unselected despite having been rated as a potential mid-round pick by several prominent analysts.
As an undrafted rookie, Rypien spent most of the year on the Denver Broncos practice squad and didn’t play. However, he re-signed on a futures deal and got his big opportunity against the Jets in week four of the 2020 season, when he led Denver to a 37-28 win as he passed for 242 yards and two scores. He also throw three interceptions, including a pick-six, though.
In 2021, Rypien again spent most of the season on the Broncos’ practice squad, making just one brief appearance off the bench. However, he got to start two games in 2022. One was a 16-9 loss to the Jets, but he also led Denver to a 24-15 win over the Arizona Cardinals.
This season saw Rypien sign with the Los Angeles Rams in May. He started a game for them in November when Matthew Stafford was injured, but they lost 20-3 to the Packers and Rypien was released. He briefly spent time on the Seattle Seahawks practice squad before the Jets picked him up earlier this week.
Now let’s take a look at what Rypien brings to the table, divided into categories.
Rypien lacks ideal size and is not known for his athleticism. He ran a 4.91 in the 40-yard dash at the combine, but posted above average explosiveness numbers. His agility numbers were average and he did not participate in the bench press.
In college, he reportedly cut down to 4% body fat in order to improve his stamina, so clearly he works hard on his conditioning.
As noted above, Rypien’s lack of arm strength is a concern. In college, several of his interceptions came because he underthrew down the field and this issue has continued into his pro career.
Rypien admitted that he used to lack confidence in his deep throwing, but - to his credit - he did improve his downfield numbers over the course of his college career.
At the NFL level, he hit on four of five throws beyond 20 yards in his rookie season but is 2-for-18 with four picks on downfield throws since then. His longest completion in his rookie year was also somewhat fortunate.
He has had some preseason success on downfield throws, including in 2022 where he completed six of eight passes down the field.
Rypien’s accuracy is regarded as pretty good when he has time to throw and he makes throws on time, releasing the ball as his man is coming out of his breaks and in stride.
In the red zone, this timing enables him to make tight window throws, which is something the Jets’ quarterbacks have struggled with all season.
Over the course of his career, Rypien has been up and down in terms of his completion percentages and completed less than 50 percent of his passes in his most recent start earlier this season. However, in 2022, he completed 22 of 26 passes in a preseason game against the Bills.
Rypien isn’t really a player who is elusive in the pocket, but he can sense pressure and step up or move around within the pocket to buy himself enough time to get a throw off.
However, his ball security has been poor at times and his small hands were viewed as a concern in the pre-draft process.
Rypien has acknowledged that his pocket awareness has been an issue in the past and has been working on that since his college days. He does show an ability to improvise under pressure.
While his numbers drop off when he’s under pressure, he hasn’t made many mistakes in preseason. However, being under pressure has led to some mistakes in regular season action.
Rypien has good footwork and a compact release, although as with any other quarterback he will throw off his back foot from time to time when pressured.
He can execute good play-action fakes, as he showcased on this touchdown pass in the red zone.
Rypien never reached double-digits in any season for interceptions during his college career but has had some mistakes where he failed to read the field correctly at the NFL level.
He had a pick-six in his first career game against the Jets, but this appeared to be a communication breakdown as he threw back shoulder and the receiver kept going.
Rypien is regarded as smart and has the ability to go through reads and find his checkdown option or take off running if nothing is open down the field.
When he’s on the move, Rypien will keep his head up and look for the open man as he extends the play.
Although not much of a runner, Rypien is capable of making plays with his legs. Although he’s never had a 10-yard run at the NFL level, he has rushed for five first downs in preseason and three in the regular season.
In college, he had three touchdowns on a sneak, a scramble and a keeper. His longest run at the college level was a 31-yard scramble.
At noted, he’s not really adept at eluding pass rushers but can move around within the pocket to extend plays.
Rypien hasn’t played special teams and would not be expected to at the NFL level.
Rypien should have good scheme familiarity because he played under Nathaniel Hackett last season, although he was with the team already rather than being someone they specifically targeted for that system. Prior to that, he played for Rich Scangarello, who has been on the 49ers staff with Robert Saleh in the past.
Several current Jets are former teammates of Rypien’s: Lance McCutcheon, Marquiss Spencer, Connor McGovern and Billy Turner.
So far, Rypien has avoided serious injury issues throughout his career. He was knocked out of one game in 2017 and then missed the next game due to a suspected concussion.
Rypien has a lot of experience with 49 college starts and is regarded as a player who is smart, with leadership traits. He will work hard and prepare well every week.
He tries to display poise, calmness and command and says he has developed a short memory.
Rypien reportedly scored a 28 in the Wonderlic test at the scouting combine.
Rypien will start off as a backup and will only be eligible to play in Sunday’s game if both Zach Wilson and Trevor Siemian get injured.
If Wilson continues to struggle now that he’s back in a starting role, then Rypien will no doubt get a shot at playing with the hope being that he can prove Hackett’s scheme does actually work. However, expectations for any long-term kind of role will be low.
The best case scenario for Rypien is that he gets a shot to play and does well enough to be in the mix to back up Aaron Rodgers next year.