According to a report from 3 Down Nation, a Canadian Football blog, the Jets are bringing in two Canadians to try out.
The pair, Drew Desjarlais and Jesse Gibbon, were each drafted in the first round of this year's CFL draft and will visit the Jets this week.
The Jets brought in a Canadian offensive lineman in each of the past two seasons, as they added Packers UDFA Geoff Gray to their practice squad following final cuts in 2017 and then had undrafted rookie Dakoda Shepley on the third unit in preseason last year. Gray spent some time on the Browns' 53-man roster after being signed off the Jets' practice squad, but did not get into a game and now both are back in the CFL.
On the face of it, Desjarlais and Gibbon could be viewed as better prospects than either Shepley or Gray. Although all four were drafted in the first round, Gibbon was the 2nd overall pick and Desjarlais went two picks later. Gray only got selected with the 8th overall pick and Shepley went fifth last year.
However, CFL teams are sometimes wary of picking someone who is so good they end up being a wasted pick because they go on to play in the NFL. Gray and Shepley were both rated as the third best prospect before the draft according to the CFL scouting bureau whereas Desjarlais was ranked as the seventh best prospect and Gibbon was down in 14th place.
While the Jets would love to find a hidden gem who could perhaps compete for a role at center, expectations should be tempered here because neither player was offered a contract by the Steelers after having attended their minicamp on a tryout basis.
In any case, neither seems to have any experience at the center position. Based on their highlights, Gibbon played exclusively at left tackle, whereas Desjarlais played a mixture of left guard and left tackle.
Desjarlais is 12 pounds heavier than Gibbon and posted superior speed and agility numbers at the CFL combine, although Gibbon posted 26 bench press reps to Desjarlais' 25.
Both ran a sub-5.2 40-yard dash. Gibbons' agility numbers were about average but Desjarlais had a better short shuttle (4.62) and three-cone drill (7.65). That three-cone would have been the 8th best mark for all offensive linemen at the combine.
For explosiveness, Gibbons had the edge. Desjarlais posted average numbers with a 28-inch vertical and 100-inch broad jump, but Gibbons posted a superior 109-inch broad jump.
Despite these numbers Desjarlais appears to be more of a mauler who relies on his strength and finishes his blocks superbly based on the film. Gibbons is more of a finesse player who moves well but still had his share of pancakes and dominant surges against Canadian collegiate opposition.
While neither of these players are guaranteed to even earn a contract with the Jets, let alone make a push for a roster or practice squad position, it's good to see the no-stone-unturned philosophy is still in place even though the Jets didn't have a conventional rookie camp with dozens of players trying out. Perhaps one of these will be earmarked as a developmental project if they can impress.