Following an enjoyable 2022 NFL draft, the New York Jets signed six undrafted free agents. There were a few positions of need the team was not able to upgrade during the draft. Joe Douglas ended up adding at two of the bigger concerning positions across the depth chart. The background, talent, and expectations of these rookies will be highlighted below.
Zonovan Knight, RB
Out of the group of undrafted free agents for the Jets, Zonovan Knight was the biggest surprise to not be drafted. In each of his three years of college, Knight recorded at least 700 yards rushing. He finished his college career with 5.5 yards per carry and 18 rushing touchdowns. Knight runs with good patience and vision. He has short-area quickness as a runner. Also, he can beat defenders on runs with his contact balance. Finally, Knight can accelerate on big runs.
His ability as a kick returner gives him a chance to make the final roster. Knight turned 21-years-old in April. He has the potential to be the Jets’ fourth running back after Breece Hall, Michael Carter, and Tevin Coleman. If that job ends up going to Ty Johnson or La’Mical Perine, Knight has a strong chance to still end up on the Jets practice squad. He could have a future in the league with the Jets.
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DQ Thomas, LB
The linebacker position was one of the bigger needs that could have been addressed during the draft. In the end, the Jets ended up signing DQ Thomas. He enters the NFL with a substantial amount of playing experience in college over the last five years. Each season, he had some good production. Thomas has the speed, agility, and overall athleticism for a linebacker. He can contribute against the pass both in coverage and as a blitzer.
There are some unknowns and a potential opportunity for someone like Thomas to take a role for this linebacker group. If he does not wind up on the final 53-man roster, Thomas will likely be kept on the practice squad to continue to develop.
Calvin Jackson, WR
The Jets signed Calvin Jackson at a workout that was held at their facility shortly after the draft. Jackson had his best college season by a wide margin in 2021. He concluded the year with seven touchdowns. Jackson is a smaller receiver and will likely play in the slot. His speed is not blazing but still good enough. Jackson offers the ability to generate big plays after the catch with his quickness. It will be interesting to see how he performs this summer and if he does enough to stay with the team.
Tony Adams, S
Along with linebacker, free safety and nose tackle were the other two starting needs not addressed during the draft. The free safety ended up with a rookie free agent addition in Tony Adams. He played a ton of college football over the last five years and attained some great success last season. Athletically, Adams is gifted, as shown by his 9.76 Relative Athletic Score. He has the speed to cover ground with a 4.47 40-yard dash and 1.52 10-yard split time. Adams offers coverage ability, size, and physicality as a tackler. The Jets have an unknown at free safety, which gives him a chance as an undrafted rookie. Adams does at least seem like a practice squad player early on.
Irvin Charles, WR
Irvin Charles provides the Jets wide receiving core with great size and physicality at 6-foot-4 and 228 pounds. He is a true contested-catch target in one on one situations. Charles is a possession receiver down the field where he can create big plays. In the red zone, he has the frame to be impactful. Throughout his college career, he had moments as a contributor on special teams. His ability to help Brant Boyer on special teams, along with his size on the outside in the passing game, give Charles a chance moving forward.
Keshunn Abram, WR
Keshunn Abram put together a respectable final stat line in 2021 with 699 yards receiving, his lone productive year in college. Last season, he had a couple of big games over 100 yards. He generated big plays frequently throughout 2021. Abram offers the ability to win after the catch. He also had success on some one on ones on the outside as well as in the red zone. Showing upside on special teams will only help Abram’s chances. Potentially, he could be in play as a depth receiver, an area with some unknowns for the Jets right now.