How a big role change helped WR Calvin Jackson land a NY Jets contract

New York Jets sign tryout WR Calvin Jackson, who was propelled to the NFL through a 2021 role switch

The New York Jets have announced the signing of wide receiver Calvin Jackson Jr., an undrafted free agent from Washington State who was in rookie minicamp with the Jets on a trial basis.

The Jets loved what they saw from Jackson, who appeared in wide receiver position drills but also saw work as a running back.

Jackson was scheduled to travel to Miami this week to attend Miami Dolphins rookie camp, but not wanting him to sign with a divisional rival, the Jets moved quickly to secure his signature and keep him on the roster in New York. of the 90 players.

Calvin spent four seasons with Washington State, but he didn’t make a big impression until his senior year.

Heading into the 2021 season, Jackson, who has missed time with injuries, has recorded just 38 receptions and three touchdowns in three years. In 2021 alone, Jackson recorded 66 receptions for 978 yards and seven touchdowns.

So what has changed?

First, Jackson was able to stay healthy. He appeared in the same number of matches in 2021 (13) as he did in 2018-2020.

More importantly, Jackson was moved from the outside to the slot. His agility and ability with the ball in his hands became evident.

Prior to the 2021 season, Calvin only had two snaps in the slot to his name. Jackson spent 96.7% of his snaps in the slot in 2021.

The move inside seemed to revive his career, and while it wasn’t enough to get him drafted, he worked his way from community college to an NFL team’s 90-man roster. Once moved into the slot, he recovered 390 yards after capture while catching 52.9% of his contested targets and posting a sink rate of just 5.7%.

Jackson had previously played at Independence Community College under coach Jason Brown, as well as Jets first-round pick Jermaine Johnson.

Calvin joins Indiana (PA) wide receiver Irvin Charles and Kent State wide receiver Keshunn Abram as recipients of UDFA contracts with the Jets. All three players will join a packed wide reception room, and with the Jets carrying just seven wide outings last season, the daunting task of making the final roster of 53 players has only just begun.

If you consider that Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, Garrett Wilson and Braxton Berrios are all guaranteed a spot on the final 53 list, that leaves seven receivers battling for the final three spots. May the best win.

Rebecca R. Santistevan