Irvin Charles, New York Jets, WR, Roster
Irvin Charles, New York Jets, Getty Images

Robert Saleh lauded the New York Jets’ most surprising roster inclusion

On the New York Jets‘ initial 53-man roster, arguably the most surprising inclusion was wide receiver Irvin Charles. The Jets kept Charles in addition to not one, but two undrafted rookie receivers in Jason Brownlee and Xavier Gipson, bringing them to seven wide receivers total.

Seeing Brownlee and Gipson on the roster was no surprise to anyone who has been following the Jets closely over the past month. Both first-year players have been generating hype all summer long and backed it up with impressive flashes in the preseason.

Charles, though, did not have the same fanfare around his name. He only caught three passes in four preseason games. Seeing him included on the roster as a seventh wide receiver was certainly a surprise to many.

So, why did he make the squad? It’s simple: his special teams skills.

Brownlee primarily made the team for his potential on offense; he has not shown the ability to help on special teams. Gipson boasts intriguing potential as a returner but doesn’t contribute on special teams in any other way. Charles, however, has the potential to become an all-around special teams ace.

Speaking about Charles on Wednesday, Jets head coach Robert Saleh called the 26-year-old an “absolute wolf” on special teams.

When you flip on the tape, it’s easy to see what Saleh is talking about.

This preseason, Charles played a team-high 39 special teams snaps across four games. He contributed positively in a variety of ways.

On this Cleveland kickoff return, Charles jukes out a blocker and follows it up with a difficult one-on-one tackle in space. The returner is held to just 17 yards.

Charles dominated his one-on-one reps as a gunner for the punt unit. On these two reps against the Giants, Charles effortlessly burns his man and forces a fair catch.

In addition to thwarting opponent returns, Charles helped create a big return for his own team. On this punt return rep, Charles knocks No. 36 to the floor and then stays in his grill for the entire rep, ultimately opening up a lane that Alex Erickson uses for a 36-yard return.

Don’t be surprised if Charles is active on gameday for the Jets’ season opener against Buffalo and plays plenty of snaps on special teams. Among the seven wide receivers on the Jets’ roster, Charles is the only one who can be trusted to either cover returns or block for them. None of the top-four veterans will be doing those things, and as we discussed earlier, Brownlee and Gipson likely won’t, either.

After a shaky year on special teams in 2022, the Jets took promising steps forward in the 2023 preseason. The “absolute wolf” was an integral part of that progress. Look out for him in the regular season.


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Michael Nania is one of the best analytical New York Jets minds in the world, combining his statistical expertise with game film to add proper context to the data. Nania scrapes every corner, ensuring you know all there is to know about everyone from the QB to the long snapper. Nania's Numbers, Nania's QB Grades, and Nania's All-22 give fans a deeper and more well-rounded dive into the Jets than anyone else can offer. Email: michael.nania[at] - Twitter: @Michael_Nania
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