Earlier this week, the Jets announced that they had signed nine players to futures deals. We're going to be looking in depth at each of these players, starting today with quarterback Joel Stave.
The 25-year-old Stave is listed at 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, and was an undrafted rookie out of Wisconsin in 2016. He spent his rookie year in camp with the Vikings but was with the Chiefs this year in preseason. He's also spent time on the practice squads of Seattle, Washington and the Jets, who signed him in December.
Stave (pronounced "Star-vee") was a four year starter at Wisconsin where he took over from Russell Wilson, posting a 31-10 record as a starter. His best season was his sophomore year where he set career highs in completion percentage (62%) and touchdown passes (22), while only throwing 13 interceptions. However, his career-best in yards (2,687) came in his senior year.
In four years, Stave completed less than 60 percent of his passes and he also had more interceptions than touchdowns over his last two seasons. He also only exceeded 200 passing yards in just 18 of his 44 games. However, he racked up almost 8,000 passing yards and accounted for 50 touchdowns.
He closed out his career with the offensive MVP award in a Holiday Bowl win over USC that saw him complete 18 of 27 passes for 217 yards and a touchdown.
Stave signed for the Vikings as an undrafted free agent and looked set to make the team as the third quarterback in his rookie year. However, he hurt his chances when the team had to rest Teddy Bridgewater and the practice - with Stave at the helm - was so reportedly disjointed that the coaches ended it with 90 minutes remaining and gave everyone the next day off.
After being released from the Vikings' practice squad, Stave bounced around a few other teams before landing with the Jets.
Let's move onto some further analysis of what Stave brings to the table, based on in-depth research and film study.
Stave has nice size - measuring up at over 6'5" at the scouting combine, despite his listed height being less than that. As you can see, he had a pretty good combine, but he isn't very agile:
Despite his modest collegiate numbers, Stave displays good arm strength, both when zipping passes into a tight window or throwing down the field. He shows his ability to hit on a deep throw here:
On this throw, he shows the ability to hit on a long out, although it's probably more down to the bad angle taken by the defensive back that leads this to be a long touchdown:
He can be guilty of trusting his arm too much at times and forcing throws into tight windows.
Stave's accuracy is an area that requires work. His ball placement is not ideal, especially when throwing to a moving target. On this play, he throws behind his intended receiver, leading to an interception:
A completion percentage of under 60% is not very impressive, especially for someone who didn't throw downfield very much and had the opportunity to make some easy completions via play-action due to Wisconsin's solid running game. His completion percentage in NFL preseason games is even lower at 53 percent.
Like many young quarterbacks, Stave can be rattled by pressure and can lose his fundamentals under duress.
On this play, he has an easy throw to his receiver running a crossing route but has to wait for the play to develop. However, he does a poor job of sensing the pressure around him and is unable to set his feet correctly, leading to a badly overthrown pass for an interception:
Stave gets rid of the ball pretty quickly and, when appropriate, will throw the ball away to avoid pressure, but was still sacked 23 times in 13 games as a senior. He has also been sacked six times in 72 dropbacks in preseason, losing two fumbles including this one:
Technically, Stave usually looks good. His footwork is sound and he has a quick, compact release. He's also comfortable taking a snap from under center and in a shotgun formation.
At the start of the 2014 season, Stave was said to be struggling with a mental block that seemed to have wrecked his throwing mechanics and given him "the yips". This was attributed to the pressure of trying to retain his job in a new system and he overcame it within a month.
Stave has a good ability to sell a play-action fake, as he shows here:
At times, Stave has had issues with seeing the whole field, perhaps not looking off or reading the safety on some of his mistakes.
He's capable of going to his second or third read or improvising if a play gets extended. On this play, he eschews the pass out to the flat and extends the play until he can complete a pass on the roll-out:
Stave is not very mobile and has never been a player you run designed quarterback keepers for. He had just two rushes of over 10 yards in his last two years in college and minus-12 yards on 10 carries in NFL preseason action.
Here was a rare touchdown scramble from college, although it shows how he's not especially dynamic or elusive:
Within the pocket, Stave can move about quite well, although he occasionally has a tendency to escape the pocket - primarily to roll out and extend the play - prematurely.
While Stave played in a run-heavy offense, it was a pro-style system with plenty of snaps under center.
Paul Chryst was the offensive coordinator in the year when Wilson started and Stave redshirted, then left to coach at Pitt for three years before returning as head coach in Stave's senior year. Chryst's offenses employ west coast offensive principles, so Stave would seem to be a fit for the John Morton system.
Stave has avoided serious injury for several years, although he did miss three games with a broken collarbone in his redshirt freshman season.
Stave, a former walk-on, has very good intangibles. He's viewed as a winner, having found a way to rack up 31 wins in college despite not always having the best offensive personnel to work with.
As a four-time academic all-American, Stave is obviously smart and demonstrates good leadership, toughness, competitiveness and resiliency. He won the Wisconsin job on three separate occasions.
It didn't help that he went through three head coaches and four different offensive coordinators while at Wisconsin.
In college, despite his success in terms of winning games, Stave was not a very popular player as the Badgers fanbase would get frustrated with his errors, which often blighted an otherwise solid performance.
Stave shares some of the issues with accuracy and decision making that the other young quarterbacks on the team do, but he does at least bring good mechanics, which gives the likes of Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg a benchmark to aspire to if they want to ensure they retain their spot.
Back in 2005, a former Wisconsin quarterback unexpectedly got an opportunity to start for the Jets, although former sixth-round Brooks Bollinger didn't do much with the opportunity and was out of the league a few years later.
For Stave to emulate Bollinger and see real game action, a lot would have to happen in terms of injuries and young players struggling to make progress.
It's more likely he'll be little more than a camp arm - if he even lasts that long. It will depend on who the Jets bring in during the offseason and if they let anyone go.