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Analytics behind New York Jets’ undrafted free agents | Offense

Lawrence Cager
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Could Joe Douglas and the New York Jets unearth a hidden gem on offense from their 2020 undrafted free agent class?

It seems that every year, each team’s undrafted free agent class produces one gem that goes on to become a respectable contributor.

For the Jets, Robby Anderson, Kyle Phillips, and Frankie Luvu are the most recent homegrown finds. Quality starters Steve McLendon (Steelers) and Brian Poole (Falcons) were also undrafted, in addition to 23 other players who appeared for the Jets in 2019.

Who will be this year’s needle in the haystack?

Let’s dig into the numbers behind the Jets’ 2020 undrafted free agent pickups. After taking a look at the defensive side, we move on the offensive additions.

Jared Hilbers, Offensive Tackle, Washington

Class: Redshirt Senior

Height/Weight: 6’7″, 316

Hometown: Beaverton, Oregon

Positives: Hilbers started for the first time as a redshirt junior in 2018, holding down the left tackle spot. He was decent, allowing a 4.6% pressure rate (would have ranked 52nd percentile in 2019), but he found his stride in 2019 after switching to right tackle. Hilbers allowed 12 pressures (2 sacks, 3 hits, 7 hurries) over 433 snaps in protection, yielding a pressure rate of 2.8% that landed him at the 85th percentile among tackles nation-wide.

Hilbers is a good fit in a zone blocking scheme, staying true to the trend that Douglas set with Mekhi Becton and Cameron Clark. His 86.7 zone blocking grade put him at the 97th percentile among tackles.

Negatives: Washington’s offense faced an unusually easy schedule for a Power-5 school. Football Outsiders ranked the strength of the Huskies’ opposing defenses at 67th among FBS teams.

Hilbers was not invited to the Combine, so we do not have data to back it up, but the biggest question raised on his scouting reports is athleticism. The few synopses that are available on him believe that his physical tools are well below the requisite level for an NFL tackle.

George Campbell, Wide Receiver, West Virginia

Class: Redshirt Senior

Height/Weight: 6’4″, 183

Hometown: Clearwater, Florida

Positives: Campbell transferred to West Virginia for his redshirt senior season after four years at Florida State, and became a massive big-play threat. He did not touch the ball very often with the Mountaineers, but when he did, he made a ton of noise with it. Seven of Campbell’s 19 receptions were touchdowns, an insane rate of 36.8% (NCAA average: 9.3%). With 469 yards across 30 targets and 19 grabs, Campbell posted outrageous averages of 24.7 yards per reception and 14.7 yards per target.

Campbell was only on the field for 166 routes over his nine appearances, an average of 18.4 per game. That small dosage of playing time makes his production look all the better. Campbell’s average of 2.83 yards per route run ranked 54th out of 800 wide receivers in the nation with at least 100 routes run (93rd percentile).

Negatives: Campbell has been extremely injury-prone, playing 16 games throughout his four years of play and redshirting his sophomore season.

In addition, the volume of Campbell’s career production is minuscule. He averaged a career-best 52.1 yards per game for West Virginia in 2019, but only grabbed 2.1 passes per game. Over his three seasons with Florida State, Campbell did not score a touchdown and averaged 1.9 receptions for 29.4 yards. He appeared in seven games from 2015-18 and caught a measly 13 passes for 206 yards.

Lawrence Cager, Wide Receiver, Georgia

Class: Redshirt Senior

Height/Weight: 6’5″, 220

Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland

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