New York Jets sign tryout WR Calvin Jackson, who was propelled to the NFL through a role change in 2021
The New York Jets 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 tryout basis.
We've signed WR Calvin Jackson and OL Derrick Kelly.
We've waived TE Brandon Dillon and WR DJ Montgomery. pic.twitter.com/UkBLcxIpD7
— New York Jets (@nyjets) May 9, 2022
Following a successful tryout during #Jets rookie minicamp this past weekend, former Washington State WR Calvin Jackson Jr. will be signing a contract with NYJ, per league source.
— Mike Kaye (@mike_e_kaye) May 9, 2022
The Jets loved what they saw from Jackson, who appeared in wide receiver positional drills but also saw work as a return man as well.
Jackson was due to fly to Miami this week to attend the 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 in New York on the 90-man roster.
Calvin spent four seasons with Washington State but he failed to make much of an impression until his final year.
Before the 2021 season, Jackson, who missed time with injuries, recorded just 38 receptions and three touchdowns over three years. In 2021 alone, Jackson recorded 66 receptions for 978 yards and seven touchdowns.
So, what changed?
First of all, Jackson was able to stay healthy. He appeared in the same number of games in 2021 (13) as he did from 2018 to 2020.
More importantly, Jackson was moved from the outside into the slot. His agility and ability with the ball in his hands became evident.
Before the 2021 season, Calvin had just 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 kickstart his career, and while it wasn’t enough to get him drafted, he’s fought his way from community college to an NFL team’s 90-man roster. Once moved into the slot, he collected 390 yards after the catch while catching 52.9% of his contested targets and posting a drop rate of just 5.7%.
Jackson had previously played at Independence Community College with coach Jason Brown, along with Jets’ first-round draft pick Jermaine Johnson.
Calvin joins Indiana (PA) receiver Irvin Charles and Kent State receiver Keshunn Abram as recipients of UDFA contracts with the Jets. All three players will be joining a loaded wide receiver room, and with the Jets only carrying seven wideouts last season, the uphill task of making the final 53-man roster has only just begun.
If you consider that Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, Garrett Wilson, and Braxton Berrios are all guaranteed a roster spot on the final 53, that leaves seven receivers battling for the final three places. May the best man win.