Bent, TheJetsBlog.comThe Jets’ rookie mini-camp will take place over the weekend (reportedly from Friday to Sunday). Greg Gabriel has a good breakdown of what happens during a rookie camp here.
The Jets will typically have between 50 and 60 players on their rookie mini-camp roster. Approximately half of this roster will be made up of players currently on the team’s current 90-man roster, including the players selected in last week’s draft, the eight undrafted free agent signings and most of the undrafted players on the roster that are entering their second season. Although the draft picks have obviously not signed yet, they are automatically placed on a temporary minimum-level tender and allowed to participate in team activities.
The other half of the rookie mini-camp roster will comprise players who have been invited to try out for the team. At the moment, there are no roster spots available, but tryout players don’t count towards the roster limit, which is a loophole that enables the team to get a look at some extra guys. If any of these impress enough to earn a contract, then someone will have to be released to make room for them on the 90-man roster. There will usually be two or three guys who earn that right. In fact, in recent years, the Jets have had two players enter rookie mini-camp on a tryout basis and eventually end up on the active roster during regular season play; Quarterback Matt Simms and Safety James Ihedigbo.
As Gabriel’s article suggests, the activities conducted at rookie camp are very basic, with no contact allowed and mostly one-on-one or individual drills with some 7-on-7 thrown in. By rule, rookies are not supposed to join the offseason program until May 15th at the earliest, which usually means they get a break between rookie mini-camp and having to join the rest of the team for workouts and conditioning. However, the later draft this year means that everyone can join up with the rest of the team after Sunday (as long as they’ve finished with school for the semester).
By far the highest profile name on the tryout list is former Ravens safety Christian Thompson, a 2012 fourth round draft pick. Thompson had 10 tackles and a forced fumble in preseason as a rookie and went on to play for the team on special teams in seven regular season games before landing on injured reserve with a knee injury. He had no tackles and one penalty. In 2013, he had four tackles in preseason, but was released in October after serving a four game suspension for violating the substance abuse policy. The 6’0″, 210-pound 23-year old is a center fielder who ran a 4.46 forty yard dash at the 2012 scouting combine.
We should hopefully get a peek at the full rookie mini-camp roster within the next day or two, probably via Randy Lange on the Jets Official Site. However, we’ve been compiling a list of players reported to have been invited on a tryout basis, which is included after the jump.
Note: Although these players were reported to have been invited to rookie mini-camp on a tryout basis, it’s possible that some of these players will not be attending if they’ve received another offer or been told they will no longer be required.
Chris Poston S Emporia State
Nick DiMarco LB William Penn
Jermaine Jones WR St. Augustines
Zach Gentry FB North Carolina State
Fabian Truss RB Samford
Gasten Gabriel OT Southeastern Louisiana
Ademola Olatunji CB Howard
Jeremy Towns DT Samford
DeMario Bennett WR Coastal Carolina
Michael Palardy K/P Tennessee
Keidrick Jackson RB Midwestern State
Winston Longdon DB Stony Brook
Kyle Stelter LS Wisconsin-River Falls (Note: Veteran Tryout)
Travis Chappelear DT Northwest Missouri State (Note: Veteran Tryout)
Christian Thompson S South Carolina State (Note: Veteran Tryout, 2012 4th round pick)
Davin Morris OT Howard (Note: Veteran Tryout)
D J Harper RB Boise State (Note: Veteran Tryout)
Mike Willie WR Arizona State (Note: Veteran Tryout)
The following players were also reported to have been invited, but it’s since been reported that they will not be attending: CB Tevrin Brandon (Monmouth), QB Corey Robinson (Troy), OT Bryan Witzmann (South Dakota State), QB Danny O’Brien (Catawba College).
There’s probably a handful of other players that will be there on a tryout basis, details of which will be released in due course. They at least need one more quarterback, for example.
As for who could be the next Simms or Ihedigbo…place your bets now, please.