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The Jets' 2019 roster is already starting to take shape but finding unexpected contributions and building depth from unlikely sources is something that could really help them progress to the next level.
Let's highlight 10 players that haven't received much attention during the offseason, each of whom has a chance to end up on the final roster.
Henderson, who was claimed off waivers in April, is a contender to replace Andre Roberts as the team's return specialist, having undertaken the same role with the Giants for part of last season. While both Ty Montgomery and Jamison Crowder have some return experience, both could be too important to the offense to risk in a special teams role. Henderson could end up edging out players like JJ Jones, Tim White and undrafted rookie Greg Dortch for this role.
LB Anthony Wint
Activated towards the end of his rookie season, the undrafted Wint turned heads with a big hit on special teams to force a turnover. He'll need a productive preseason to prove he could also be a reliable reserve on defense but has a realistic shot at landing on the final roster with Darron Lee and Kevin Pierre-Louis gone.
Kaufusi is a versatile player who could contribute in a variety of defensive packages, having showed a few flashes in brief action at the end of last year. With the team not having done much to upgrade their edge defenders, could Kaufusi be in the mix for a role as a strongside edge and occasional interior rush option?
Despite catching just three passes in the past two seasons, Peake has a realistic chance of returning for a fourth season following his work as a punt gunner last season. Coordinator Brant Boyer singled Peake out as an important returning special teams contributor during the offseason, suggesting he expects the team to keep him. Josh Bellamy and Trenton Cannon will also compete for gunner roles and it seems likely two of the three will make it.
Bryant, who the Jets signed as an undrafted free agent after last year's supplemental draft, spent the 2018 season on the practice squad before being added to the active roster for the season finale. If the Jets opt to carry five safeties, or there's any injuries, Bryant has an excellent chance at a reserve and special teams role, as his only current competition is undrafted rookie Santos Ramirez and recent addition Montrel Meander.
OL Eric Smith
Smith made the Dolphins' roster under Adam Gase after a solid preseason in his rookie year, but unfortunately suffered a season-ending knee injury before he had a chance to play in an NFL game. He didn't make their team last year, spending most of the season on New England's practice squad, but has been making the most of his second chance to make an impression on Gase, getting some first team reps during offseason workouts.
Thompson's signing was widely viewed as an afterthought, but he's an experienced receiver who started six games last year, so he has a realistic chance to crack a Jets rotation that doesn't run particularly deep after a strong first three. Veteran receivers like Thompson often make an impression in the preseason, much like Charles Johnson and Tre McBride did last year, but Thompson will really have to impress to beat out some of the younger and cheaper players in the competition.
CB Arthur Maulet
Maulet has only played in 12 NFL games, but held up reasonably well in a rotational role last season with the Colts, even starting one game. He is capable of playing outside or in the slot and can contribute on special teams, which could make him an ideal reserve. Maulet was getting second-team reps during OTAs which suggests he's in the mix for a rotational role.
OL Ben Braden
The Jets have been developing Braden for two years, most of which has been spent on their practice squad. So far, he's followed a similar career path to that of veteran reserve Brent Qvale. With his ability to play tackle and guard, the Jets seem to be grooming Braden to compete for Qvale's utility backup and occasional spot starter role.
LB Harvey Langi
Finally, Langi is a bit of an unknown quantity. He initially made the Patriots' active roster as a rookie, but his career has been derailed by injuries with only one regular season appearance to his name. With experience both as an edge defender and an off-ball linebacker, Langi could fit into multiple defensive packages, much like Kaufusi. He'll aim to make the team and become a contributor much like Brandon Copeland did last year.