New York Jets Undrafted Free Agents: Tracking the Latest Signings
The New York Jets made several key steps in rebuilding their franchise, but their work is far from done.
With several talented players going undrafted, the Jets have an opportunity to significantly bolster the depth on their roster, where they lack as much talent as they lack on their starting roster.
It's a crapshoot, but there's always a chance to find a diamond in the rough.
Which players are the Jets hoping to turn from water into wine? Here's a running updated list of all their undrafted free-agent signings.
Mike Edwards, CB, Hawaii
The Jets have questions at cornerback that run beyond Darrelle Revis, with inexperienced corners Ellis Lankster and Isaiah Trufant making up the bottom of the team's depth chart.
Mike Edwards has solid physical tools. According to FFToolbox.com, he ran a 4.56-second 40-yard dash, a 6.94-second three-cone drill and posted a 36" vertical at the combine. He has ball skills, as well, with three interceptions and 29 pass breakups over the past two seasons. There are questions about his consistency, though, which may have led him to go undrafted.
He also provides some versatility in his ability to return kicks, and led the nation with 1,215 return yards while adding three return touchdowns.
Rontez Miles, FS, California (PA)
Miles has been productive for the Vulcans, with 146 tackles, 10 pass breakups and nine interceptions over the past two seasons.
There are some character concerns with Miles. He was dismissed from Kent State after allegations of possession of marijuana and driving without a license (via NFL.com), but he was eventually cleared of the charges.
The Jets have serious depth issues at safety after the departures of both Yeremiah Bell and LaRon Landry in free agency. Miles gives them insurance for free safety Josh Bush.
Mike Shanahan, TE/WR, Pitt
After losing tight end Dustin Keller in free agency, it was wondered how the Jets would address their new need. Shanahan makes two undrafted free-agent tight ends on the roster, along with Jeff Cumberland.
Shanahan is far better at catching than blocking, though. He hauled in a total of 159 receptions for 2,276 yards and 11 touchdowns at Pittsburgh, and had his best year as a senior with a stat line of 62-983-6.
At 6'4" and 241 pounds, he's not going to maul anyone as a blocker, but he's a little too heavy for a receiver, so he may play more of an H-back role for the Jets.
Ryan Spadola, WR, Lehigh
Spadola was clocked at 4.48 seconds in the 40-yard dash (via LehighValleyLive.com), which ranked 15th among all receivers at the combine, and finished fifth in the three-cone drill with a time of 6.72 seconds.
He played 38 games in his collegiate career, hauling in 232 catches for 3,611 yards and 24 touchdowns. His best year came in 2011, when he had a stat line of 96-1,614-11.
At 6'3" and 205 pounds, he provides yet another big-bodied receiver for the Jets pass attack.
Chris Pantale, TE, Boston College
The Jets clearly aren't comfortable with their tight end situation, having added two undrafted free agents at the position already.
In adding Boston College's Chris Pantale, they added another big-bodied tight end at 6'5" and 254 pounds. He is a willing blocker, but could use to add some bulk to become more effective and to help him sustain blocks downfield.
He was not an incredibly productive pass-catcher, hauling in 98 catches for 986 yards and seven touchdowns in his career. His versatility could make him an intriguing depth option for the Jets.
Jake McDonough, DL, Iowa State
Jake McDonough gives the Jets even more depth on their already deep defensive line.
He played all over the defensive line for Iowa State and logged 13 career tackles for loss along with five sacks.
His versatility will be welcome in a scheme-versatile Jets defense, but with so many talented defensive linemen already on the roster, it's fair to wonder where he fits in.
Zach Rogers, WR, Tennessee
The Volunteers had two top-rated receivers in this year's class in Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson, but Rogers was a solid complement to them as a No. 3 or 4 wide receiver, hauling in 32 catches for 491 yards (15.3 yards per catch) and seven touchdowns as a senior.
Rogers has good straightline speed, but at 6'0" and 172 pounds, he's very spindly and might have trouble with more physical NFL defensive backs. In the slot, though, he could be a weapon.
The signing was announced by Rogers via Twitter.
Mark Popek, OL, USF
The Jets severely lack depth on the offensive line, especially at the interior, and Popek should provide another body for a camp battle for roster spots. Popek started at left tackle for two years, but he doesn't have quite the foot quickness in space to play tackle in the NFL.
NYJetsDraft.com says of Popek:
A team leader and rock of the Bulls offensive line Popek is a developmental OG/OT with good leadership and intangibles. A coaches favorite is always worth a shot, especially with his 6’7 frame and massive 11 inch hands.
The signing was confirmed by USF's official Twitter account.
Roosevelt Holliday, DT, Eastern Illinois
Not much scouting information is available on Holliday, but the Jets add even more depth to the defensive tackle spot.
NYJetsDraft.com says of Holliday:
He looks to be a very fluid athlete and aggressive tackler. It’s a little hard to tell with grainy film and less than stellar competition because I see some potential [for him to be] a defensive line savant.
The signing was first reported by Jake Steinberg of SNY.
Antavious Wilson, WR, Marshall
At 6'1" and 196 pounds with below-average long speed, Antavious Wilson isn't going to remind anyone of Randy Moss—that's why he went undrafted.
He's a blue-collar receiver through and through, with no real amazing physical attributes. He was never ultra-productive in the Conference USA, but he finished second on the team in receptions (69), receiving yards (741) and touchdowns (nine), which were all career-highs for him.
What kind of a player is he, though?
According to Russ Lande of NationalFootballPost.com:
He always lines up on the right side of the field and plays the "Z" position. Wilson has good size and at 200 pounds, he won't get any bigger going forward. He is most effective against zone and off-man coverage. Wilson is a solid wide receiver but he lacks explosion athletically and struggles with a lack of short area quickness. He shows strong ability to adjust to the ball in the air, but his hands are suspect because he doesn't pluck the ball away from his frame.
[...]He looks to be an above average route runner and will find little areas to beat defenses. He lacks pure speed any doesn't have the explosion in his game to threaten the defense vertically. He looks to be a possession type player who will work underneath the defense and the boundary.
The signing was announced by Wilson via his official Twitter account.
Trey Gilleo, OT, Northern Arizona
The Jets lack talented depth at offensive tackle, and therefore need to create a camp battle for the remaining roster spots.
Gilleo brings his 6'7", 309-pound frame to the Jets after starting all 11 games at right tackle for NAU and earning an All-Big Sky second-team selection in the process.
The signing was confirmed by NAU's Twitter account.
Troy Davis, DE, UCF
It took the Jets until after the draft to finally address their glaring need for a defensive end/outside linebacker prospect.
At 6'2" and 251 pounds with 32 1/2" long arms, Davis has the size the Jets are looking for on the perimeter of the front seven. The Jets are hoping he can bring with him his knack for making big plays in the backfield; he had 28 tackles for loss and 18.5 sacks in three years for UCF, and 11.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks as a senior.
Spencer Nealy, DT, Texas A&M
At 6'3" and 285 pounds, Nealy has scheme versatility to play defensive end in a three-man front or to kick inside in four-man fronts.
Nealy was thought of as a leader for the Aggies defense, with 7.5 tackles for loss and two sacks as a senior.
NYJetsDraft.com says of Nealy:
Nealy is a versatile having played defensive end and tackle for the Aggies. He is active and plays hard. From a talent perspective, there isn’t a whole lot to work with but could stick on the roster because of the scheme versatility and activity level. Nealy was often referred to as a major leader on his successful Texas A&M team.
Dalton Freeman, OL, Clemson
After coming to Clemson as the No. 13 guard in the nation, Dalton Freeman played 53 career games, starting 49 of them, primarily as a center. In fact, according to ClemsonTigers.com, he became the first Clemson freshman to start at center of the course of the season since 1943.
That kickstarted a career where he would amass 171 knockdowns in a school-record 3,361 snaps, and where he would be a finalist for the Rimington Trophy (annually awarded to the nation's best offensive linemen) in both his junior and senior seasons.
The Jets need depth for the interior of their offensive line, and found a nice addition to their training camp competiton in Freeman.
The signing was announced by the Jets.
K.J. Stroud, WR, Bethune-Cookman
New York native K.J. Stroud gets a shot at making his hometown team.
At 6'2" and 205 pounds, Stroud is the right size for an outside receiver. He transferred from Rutgers to Bethune-Cookman as a He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.51 seconds at Rutgers' pro day and had a 38.5" vertical according to NFLDraftScout.com.
The Jets clearly are not confident with their depth at wide receiver with names such as Jason Hill and Mardy Gilyard getting some playing time last year. Now, they're creating a camp battle for those roster spots.
The signing was announced by the Jets.