In an occasional feature, we're going to briefly highlight any of the lesser-known players that make an unexpected impact during camp or in the season. Today, we focus on defensive end Bradlee Anae:
What he did:
Anae has been right near the bottom of the depth chart at one of the Jets' deepest positions since camp opened, but he arrived on radars in the Falcons game when he had a strip sack and returned the fumble for a touchdown to highlight an active performance.
He's kept up that momentum this week with a sack in the joint practice against the Giants and also made a big play on Tuesday:
Bradlee Anae just got a strip sack on Joe Flacco. Got to Flacco so fast that he accidentally touched him, forcing the fumble. #Jets— Zack Rosenblatt (@ZackBlatt) August 24, 2022
Can he push for a roster spot or get onto the practice squad?
Anae has always been an afterthought having joined the team on a futures deal after the 2021 season and the reality is that the Jets are so stacked at the defensive end position that it's difficult to see how they could keep him unless they trade multiple players or something.
Anae had showed his potential in college by racking up 13 sacks in his senior year, but didn't get many opportunities with Dallas over the past couple of years. The main reason Anae struggled to get on the field with them wasn't because of his pass rushing, which was always promising. Apparently, it had more to do with his run defense and, specifically, his ability to hold up in the trenches. However, he could still have value somewhere in a situational pass rush role.
A practice squad spot isn't necessarily out of the question for a player who still has some potential at only 24 years of age. However, the chances of him getting poached after such a strong showing in preseason would be high.
More on Anae:
Here's the in-depth scouting report on Anae.