Last week, the Jets confirmed that they had signed Syracuse wide receiver and return specialist Brisly Estime to an undrafted free agent contract after the 2017 NFL Draft.
The 24-year old Estime is 5'8" and 186 pounds and was in the top three in the nation for punt return average in each of the last two seasons. In addition, he caught a career high 48 passes in his senior year.
Estime was born in Haiti and drew plenty of interest out of high school, having played wide receiver and safety.
He showcased some excellent playmaking ability right from the start of his career at Syracuse, although injuries affected his production in his first two seasons.
As a junior he showcased some big play abilities as he averaged over 17 yards per reception. He also scored a career-best eight touchdowns, including two on punt returns, finishing third in the nation in terms of punt return average. Then in his senior year, he went one better and finished second in the nation in punt return average. He also caught a career high 48 passes for 518 yards.
Let's move onto some more in-depth analysis of what Estime brings to the table, based on my research and film study.
Estime is small but looks quick and elusive on film. His pro day numbers, including a 4.49 40-yard dash and a 121" broad jump, were all basically around average for the receiver position.
Syracuse is another program that refers to one of the slot receivers in its system as an H-back, although the position has nothing in common with the move tight end role that would also be referred to as an H-back at the pro level. During his time at Syracuse, Estime played both as an H-back and wide receiver, although in his most productive year as a senior he was mostly in the slot.
If he is going to contribute on offense at the NFL level, you'd expect him to play primarily in the slot due to his lack of size, but he could also be a player that you design special packages for, perhaps out of the backfield.
Here's one such "special package" play, as he picks up decent yardage on a shovel pass:
Here's another, as they pitch it to him for a first down on an end around:
Estime has some success on downfield catches over the course of his career, although quite a few of these came because he leaked out into the open on a blown coverage or some kind of gadget play.
From the slot, he shows an ability to beat his man down the seam, but it's not certain whether he'd be able to make plays down the field at the NFL level due to his lack of size.
You wouldn't expect Estime to contribute much as a blocker, again due to his lack of size, and he didn't contribute much there while at Syracuse. However, here's one example of him making a crackback block to set up a nice gain:
In his senior year, Estime did virtually all of his damage on dump-offs or downfield passes. He doesn't seem to get targeted very often on intermediate routes. Whether that's a scheme issue or due to him not geting open is uncertain, but they tended to have more success dumping it off to him underneath the defense:
On the plays where he has run a downfield route, Estime looks okay in terms of his sharpness and deceptiveness, but there seemed to be a lot of passes where the quarterback missed him by a mile. Syracuse wasn't exactly drowning in elite quarterbacking talent, but this could still speak to a lack of precision on Estime's routes.
Estime has been sure-handed over the past three seasons, rarely dropping a pass. However, his catch rate in 2014 and 2015 was just 42%. That changed in 2016 as he moved primarily into the slot and had a catch rate of over 80%.
Estime doesn't often seem to catch the ball in a crowd or go up to get it, but has shown an ability to go down and scoop low passes off the turf.
Yards after the catch
As you'd expect from a return specialist, this is an area where Estime fares well. He can slip out of an arm tackle and burst away from defenders as he did on this negated touchdown:
There's also good yardage to be found just from dumping it off to him underneath and relying on him to find a seam in the defense:
At the same time, there were also plenty of dump-off passes that went nowhere though.
Estime doesn't offer much in terms of route physicality and relies on his ability to slip away from rather than break through tackles in the open field. However, he'll put his head down at the end of a run and fall forwards for a few extra yards when he can.
Estime had a total of eight penalties over the past three seasons.
Estime has obviously been signed primarily to compete for a role as a return specialist. As noted, his punt return numbers are terrific. He also has some experience on kick-off returns, with a 22.2 yards per return average in 2015 representing his best output.
We've shared this gif before, but it shows how dynamic Estime is in the return game, as he weaves between defenders and into FSU territory:
However, here's another one from the same game. Note how he has to react fast to come up and catch the ball on the run and then once he does, he's soon up to full speed and even shows some toughness at the end of the return:
Estime seems to be a safe pair of hands when fielding punts. He has four career fumbles, officially, but two were on running plays (one of which was a botched pitch), one after a pass reception and one at the end of a kick-off return.
The only negative he had when fielding a punt was one that carried in the wind and he backpedalled to take a fair catch at the five. He probably could've ducked away from that and it would have bounced into the end zone, but that could have backfired if it took a weird bounce so he did the safe thing.
Other than returns, he hasn't contributed much on special teams. He missed a tackle when covering a punt in 2016. However, with his past as a high school safety, he should have some tackling ability if they opt to employ him as a gunner or something.
Estime certainly shows good instincts as an open field runner. You can get a sense of that from this angle of a return he made as time expired in the second quarter of a 2015 game:
In terms of receiving assignments, there did seem to be a few plays where he wasn't on the same page with the quarterback.
Estime was popular with his coaches and all-business on the field. One thing noticeable about him as that after he gets tackled, he has a tendency to bounce right to his feet again. This could be perceived as showing a desire to display toughness.
In one 2015 game, Estime was ejected for shoving an opponent in the face and this also meant he was suspended for the first half of the next game.
Now that Chan Gailey is gone, it seems likely the Jets will move away from putting their larger receivers into the slot and will be more receptive towards having a smaller and shiftier player like Estime in that role.
However, I would imagine his true value is likely to be on special packages, assuming he ends up on the roster as a return specialist.
Durability will also be a concern for a player with Estime's lack of size. He missed a couple of starts with a broken hand in his freshman year and then was limited to just four games in his sophomore year because of injuries to both ankles.
Over the past two years, he's played in all 23 games, although he had some more ankle issues during the offseason in 2015.
Estime's film as a return man is extremely encouraging. His numbers are great and he has some dynamic highlights on film, but - more importantly - he looks comfortable fielding punts and makes good decisions based on the film.
That already gives him an edge over Jalin Marshall, who is a dynamic player and made some good contributions on offense, but also had some costly blunders. With Marshall suspended for the early part of the season, Estime has a good chance to make the team, even if it's only for a one-month audition.
However, there are plenty of other candidates for the return roles too, many of whom bring more potential to the offense than Estime likely would because of his size limitations.
If roster spots are tight, then maybe Estime will get squeezed out in favor of someone who can play a dual role. However, if the Jets want to upgrade at the position and Estime has a drama-free and productive preseason, then he has a realistic chance to make his mark.
UP NEXT: We'll take a look at the Lindenwood linebacker Connor Harris.