Between now and preseason, we’re breaking down the Jets’ undrafted rookies. Nevertheless, we’re going to deviate from that for the subsequent week or so, as we assessment a few of the veteran additions the Jets have made since coaching camp started, beginning right this moment with former Cincinnati extensive receiver and return specialist Alex Erickson.
The 30-year outdated Erickson is greatest identified for his return talents, having led the league in kickoff return yardage as soon as and positioned second one other time. Nevertheless, he has additionally caught 96 passes in his profession, together with 43 in 2019.
Erickson was not a extremely sought-after highschool recruit and ended up having to stroll on at Wisconsin. Having redshirted the 2012 season, he performed in all 13 video games the next 12 months, beginning three. He ended up with 9 catches for 127 yards.
In 2014 and 2015, he led the Badgers in receiving as he had 55 catches for 772 yards as a redshirt sophomore and 77 catches for 978 yards as a redshirt junior, catching three touchdowns in every year. He was an all-Large Ten first workforce choice in his remaining season.
Erickson entered the 2016 draft however was a mix snub and ended up going undrafted. Nevertheless, he made the Bengals’ roster out of coaching camp and did a superb job in a return position with them, as he averaged 28 yards per kickoff return and led the league in kickoff return yardage. He additionally caught six passes.
In 2017, Erickson caught 12 passes, together with the one landing of his profession, and once more held down the return position though his numbers had been underwhelming.
His position continued to extend as he caught 20 passes in 2018 after which had 43 receptions and 529 yards in 2019. He was moved off kickoffs that 12 months.
2020 was Erickson’s remaining season with the Bengals as he had simply 12 receptions. He then signed with the Houston Texans, though he did not make their roster out of camp and ended up in Carolina the place he caught three passes in a restricted position. He spent 2022 with Washington however didn’t see a lot motion and was launched in Could.
The Jets signed Erickson early on in camp, maybe in response to Randall Cobb beginning off on the PUP record and Diontae Spencer transferring to injured reserve.
Now let’s check out what Erickson brings to the desk, divided into classes.
Erickson has beneath common measurement and lacks a giant catch radius, however he posted elite agility numbers at his professional day with a 4.1 within the quick shuttle and a sub-6.7 within the three-cone drill.
His pace, explosiveness and power numbers had been all common or simply beneath common. He ran a 4.54 within the 40-yard sprint.
When he has performed on offense, Erickson has seen motion each exterior and within the slot and may produce in both position. He has additionally been put in movement, carried the ball on finish arounds and jet sweeps and even threw the ball a couple of occasions.
He rushed 11 occasions for 124 yards in school and 18 occasions for 78 yards on the professional degree. He additionally accomplished a 26-yard cross on a gadget play.
Erickson was a twin menace quarterback in highschool and likewise performed on protection within the secondary.
Erickson is a participant who caught loads of downfield passes in school and has additionally made a handful on the NFL degree. Nevertheless, his success fee on such throws has been extraordinarily poor and he’s not likely somebody who you’d count on to win a battle for a ball that’s thrown up for grabs. Nonetheless, he has the pace and acceleration to get behind the protection infrequently.
Erickson has loads of confidence in his route-running capability, relationship again to when he was a draft prospect. He has proven some capability to get fast separation on the NFL degree and is efficient on outbreaking routes and crossers particularly.
Right here’s a superb instance of him education a defensive again on a route. He reveals deception on the line to launch exterior after which breaks again over the center earlier than the cornerback can recuperate again into place.
Right here’s one other instance of him making a fast lower to get quick space separation to choose up a primary down.
Erickson is a participant who had some points with drops on the collegiate degree, however he appears to have been extra dependable together with his arms on the NFL degree, as he has had fewer drops and the next catch fee. He has nonetheless had a couple of drops right here and there.
He’s able to making some good grabs in visitors or when extending for the ball. Right here’s a powerful catch the place he adjusts effectively to the ball thrown barely behind him.
With simply six touchdowns in school and one in NFL common season motion, Erickson isn’t a longtime crimson zone menace. Most of those had been from exterior the crimson zone, though he did have this crimson zone landing in preseason motion.
After the catch
Erickson is a participant who’s able to altering route rapidly and slipping a sort out in house.
Nevertheless, for somebody who’s so skilled as a return man, it’s maybe stunning that Erickson doesn’t break extra tackles, though he’s good at turning upfield and has a nostril for the marker.
Erickson has had some modest success on display passes, with 9 catches behind the road for 53 yards on the NFL degree. He had 164 yards and a rating on 15 display passes in 2014 with the Badgers, however didn’t have a lot success in his remaining season there.
Erickson has misplaced a couple of fumbles as a ball provider on offense.
Regardless of not being very large or imposing, Erickson is a persistently efficient blocker whose run blocking grades have usually been good. In 2014, he really had the nation’s fifth greatest run blocking grade for extensive receivers in accordance with Professional Soccer Focus.
He offers a superb effort and appears to have a superb understanding of angles. He additionally reveals good instincts on this play.
As famous, Erickson isn’t notably large and doesn’t have a very good report on contested catches with only a 30 p.c success fee since 2018. Nevertheless, he shows terrific toughness over the center and may actually take successful and bounce again up.
The primary cause Erickson has been introduced in is presumably to compete for a job because the workforce’s return specialist. He has loads of expertise of returning each kickoffs and punts on the NFL degree, having performed the position for the primary time in his remaining school season.
As a punt returner, his numbers haven’t precisely been spectacular and he’s by no means had a 40-yard return in common season motion. Nevertheless, he has proven a capability to beat the primary man and choose up some good yardage. He has been within the top-10 for punt return common 3 times and did rating two touchdowns in preseason.
On kickoffs, he twice had returns of over 75 yards in common season motion and was second within the league for return common in 2016 and fifth in 2018. Nevertheless, he’s solely had 9 returns for 207 yards since then. He has significantly extra kickoff return expertise than Braxton Berrios did.
Erickson has muffed a couple of punts through the years and typically takes a good catch unnecessarily or permits a punt to bounce, however his ball safety has usually been fairly good. He did lose a fumble on a kickoff return although.
Instincts and Intelligence
Erickson is taken into account to be good and was a three-time Educational all-Large Ten choice.
On the sector, he reveals a superb capability to seek out open areas and delicate spots within the protection and to improvise when a play is prolonged.
Right here’s a heads-up play the place he realizes his knee was by no means down and turns it upfield for a giant achieve.
Erickson has confirmed willpower to carve out a decent-length profession for himself despite the very fact he was a walk-on in school. He was thought to be somebody with an excellent work ethic and management who was a two-time captain as a highschool quarterback.
His on-field self-discipline has been persistently good with simply two penalties in his NFL profession.
Accidents haven’t had a serious impression on Erickson’s profession to date, though he did have some concussion points in 2021.
Though his greatest likelihood of constructing the workforce is because the return specialist, Erickson is the type of participant who can even contribute in a wide range of methods on offense. This may most likely require some accidents, although.
Erickson was a teammate of present Jets Carl Lawson and CJ Uzomah in Cincinnati and Wes Schweitzer in Washington.
The return specialist job is one that’s extensive open for the Jets and it’s apparent they needed a veteran possibility within the combine. It’s helpful that he’s additionally had some first rate expertise on offense so he doesn’t have to make use of up a roster spot for a special-teams-only position.
With Spencer out for the 12 months, Cobb presently out and Mecole Hardman focusing totally on offense, Erickson may doubtlessly win this job if not one of the youthful choices like Xavier Gipson, Zonovan Knight or Israel Abanikanda is ready to step up in preseason.