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 wide receiver Jeff Smith.
What he did:
With Vyncint Smith undergoing core muscle surgery on Monday and Denzel Mims sitting out with a hamstring issue, Jeff Smith has surprisingly found himself getting reps with the first unit over the past few days.
After today's walkthrough at training camp, head coach Adam Gase singled out the youngster for praise.
Last season, Smith was injured throughout training camp and didn't get a chance to play in preseason as a result. However, he was activated late in the season and got a chance to play against the Ravens only to suffer an ankle injury in the game and end up on injured reserve.
During that game he got reps at wide receiver and as a gunner on the punt coverage unit, where he did a solid job.
Smith, who was targeted three times, made a nice diving grab for his first NFL catch:
However, there was also a play where he was open downfield and stopped his route, leading to Sam Darnold's throw being beyond his reach.
While the Jets will be hoping that Mims is able to return to action within the next few days and that Vyncint Smith only misses a game or two in the regular season, this is a good opportunity for Jeff Smith to make a strong impression and try to earn himself a roster spot.
Smith, who started off as a quarterback at Boston College, has outstanding speed and some natural route running ability, but the major knock on him as a college prospect was his unreliable hands. If he can improve that aspect of the game, he has a chance to develop into a surprise contributor.
More on Smith:
Here's the in-depth scouting report on Smith.