Former Ferris State quarterback Jason Vander Laan is trying to make the New York Jets roster as a tight end. The 23-year-old is a two-time Harlon Hill winner, the equivalent of the Heisman award but for Division II.
The New York Times' Ben Shpigel profiled Vander Laan as he hopes to make an NFL roster:
Read more about Vander Laan in the New York Times and in his BGA scouting report.
Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter
From what I've heard about Vander Laan so far, he seems like a more natural fit at tight end than expected, and he has a tremendous attitude and approach to working on his game. Unlike a certain quarterback who started at H-back in his first Jets appearance back in 2012, Vander Laan has put his ego aside and is prepared to do anything he can to carve out a role on the team.
It's still early in camp, but it sounds like he is still mostly getting reps with the third unit and has several guys ahead of him, so the chances of him contributing this season would appear slim. However, with Zach Sudfeld currently nursing a sore knee, if Vander Laan is able to make the most of any increase in reps, perhaps he will be able to accelerate his growth curve. A more realistic goal might be working toward being a roster contributor next season, in which case he would hope the team has the patience and foresight to carry him on the practice squad all season.
I'm definitely rooting for Vander Laan and look forward to seeing if he can display any positive flashes once the preseason gets underway.