New York Jets: IK Enemkpali

Breakdown of Jets' rookie contracts

May, 25, 2014
May 25
The New York Jets have nine of 12 draft picks under contract. The only unsigned players are safety Calvin Pryor (first round), cornerback Dexter McDougle (third) and cornerback Brandon Dixon (sixth). The process is moving along quickly because of the slotting system.

Let's take a look at the nine contracts:

Jace Amaro, tight end, second round -- Total value: Four years, $4.29 million. Total guaranteed: $2.45 million. Signing bonus: $1.44 million. 2014 cap charge: $780,545. Base salaries: 2014 -- $420,000 (fully guaranteed), 2015 -- $615,136 (fully guaranteed), 2016 -- $810,272, 2017 -- $1,005,408.

Jalen Saunders, wide receiver, fourth round -- Total value: Four years, $2.70 million. Total guaranteed: $481,448. Signing bonus: $481,448. 2014 cap charge: $540,362. Base salaries: 2014 -- $420,000, 2015 -- $510,000, 2016 -- $600,000, 2017 -- $690,000.

Shaq Evans, wide receiver, fourth round -- Total value: Four years, $2.67 million. Total guaranteed: $450,900. Signing bonus: $450,900. 2014 cap charge: $532,725. Base salaries: 2014 -- $420,000, 2015 -- $510,000, 2016 -- $600,000, 2017 -- $690,000.

Dakota Dozier, guard, fourth round -- Total value: Four years, $2.52 million. Total guaranteed: $300,584. Signing bonus: $300,584. 2014 cap charge: $495,146. Base salaries: 2014 -- $420,000, 2015 -- $510,000, 2016 -- $600,000, 2017 -- $690,000.

Jeremiah George, linebacker, fifth round -- Total value: Four years, $2.41 million. Total guaranteed: $191,752. Signing bonus: $191,752. 2014 cap charge: $467,938. Base salaries: 2014 -- $420,000, 2015 -- $510,000, 2016 -- $600,000, 2017 -- $690,000.

Quincy Enunwa, wide receiver, sixth round -- Total value: Four years, $2.3 million. Total guaranteed: $78,680. Signing bonus: $78,680. 2014 cap charge: $439,670. Base salaries: 2014 -- $420,000, 2015 -- $510,000, 2016 -- $600,000, 2017 -- $690,000.

IK Enemkpali, linebacker, sixth round -- Total value: Four years, $2.3 million. Total guaranteed: $78,680. Signing bonus: $78,680. 2014 cap charge: $439,670. Base salaries: 2014 -- $420,000, 2015 -- $510,000, 2016 -- $600,000, 2017 -- $690,000.

Tajh Boyd, quarterback, sixth round -- Total value: Four years, $2.3 million. Total guaranteed: $78,690. Signing bonus: $78,680. 2014 cap charge: $439,670. Base salaries: 2014 -- $420,000, 2015 -- $510,000, 2016 -- $600,000, 2017 -- $690,000.

Trevor Reilly, linebacker, seventh round -- Total value: Four years, $2.28 million. Total guaranteed: $56,848. Signing bonus: $56,848. 2014 cap charge: $434,212. Base salaries: 2014 -- $420,000, 2015 -- $510,000, 2016 -- $600,000, 2017 -- $690,000.
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Jets rookie pass-rusher sacks his past

May, 21, 2014
May 21
Three years ago, IK Enemkpali made a big mistake -- "a young mistake," he called it. He was only 19, coming off a promising redshirt freshman year at Louisiana Tech. He was out one night in early April at Rabb's Steak House, an off-campus haunt in Ruston, Louisiana. There was a bar fight shortly after 1 a.m., and Enemkpali ended up striking an off-duty, undercover police officer who was working security at the bar.

Details are sketchy, but Enemkpali (pronounced: IN-em-PALL-ee) lost his temper in a bad way. A uniformed officer arrived on the scene and used pepper spray on him, but that didn't subdue him. Finally, the officer stunned Enemkpali with a Taser, reports said. He was arrested and charged with battery on a police officer and disturbing the peace/drunk, according to court records. He spent more than three hours in a holding cell at the Lincoln Parish Detention Center and was suspended indefinitely from the football team.

[+] EnlargeIK Enemkpali
AP Photo/Michael ConroyRookie IK Enemkpali is looking to help the Jets with his proven leadership and pass-rushing skills.
In the months leading up to the most recent NFL draft, Enemkpali was grilled about the incident by every team that interviewed him, including the New York Jets. There are dozens like him in every draft, players that step outside the law. Some let their misdeeds define them. Others try to use their transgressions to make them better people. Enemkpali wanted his prospective employers to know he belongs to the latter category. He made an impression on the Jets, who drafted the undersized pass-rusher in the sixth round.

"I was just being a young. [It was] a young, hot-headed decision," Enemkpali said at last weekend's rookie camp, looking back on his arrest. "I didn't think about everything. If I knew what I know now, I would've gotten myself out of that situation.

"I lost my cool," he added. "That's what it was. I didn't know he was undercover, which is no excuse, but ... Yeah, I lost my cool."

The charge was amended to simple battery and, on Jan. 25, 2012, Enemkpali received a suspended jail sentence and was placed on 13 months of probation. He was ordered to perform 32 hours of community service and to complete an anger management course, according to court documents. He also was fined $200. He never missed any games, as he was reinstated before the 2011 season.

Enemkpali rallied from the adversity, finishing with 17.5 career sacks (third on the school's all-time list) and making All-Conference USA as a senior. Perhaps his proudest accomplishment was becoming a team captain. In that role, he addressed younger teammates on the importance of staying out of trouble. He shared his experience, hoping they could learn from his mistake.

"I learned a whole bunch," he said. "I learned not to take this game for granted. I learned that even what I do off the field can look selfish. What I do affects my team and my family. I take a lot of pride in my last name and bringing good things to it. I kind of tarnished it a little bit."

An official from another team that checked into Enemkpali's background came away with the belief that the bar fight was "an isolated incident." The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Enemkpali "got hooked into it because he was helping somebody else out. I don't think he was the cause of it. ... He's a good kid, a really good student, a leader and a captain."

The Jets hope he can sack the quarterback. Jets coach Rex Ryan shared that sentiment in his first conversation with Enemkpali.

"When Rex called me on draft day, he asked if I'm ready to get after the quarterback," he said. "I'm not going to brag on myself, but that's what they called me in here for."

At 6-foot-1, 261 pounds, Enemkpali looks more like a fullback than an edge-rusher, but some of the league's top pass-rushers are undersized. He mentioned Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis and Hall of Famer John Randle, a 6-foot-1 defensive tackle who went undrafted out of Texas A&M-Kingsville. Enemkpali, who grew up in Austin, Texas, watched a lot of tape of Randle. He sees his size as a positive, not a negative.

"I feel like I've got power behind me, and I can turn my speed into power," said Enemkpali, learning to play outside linebacker in the Jets' base 3-4 defense. "If they over-set me, I feel like I have the ability to come inside. Low man wins in football. On the edge, if you don't give them a surface to hit, they really can't block. Those big O-linemen, they're not going to bend, so I've already got the advantage of being short. If you stay low, it's a win-win."

Enemkpali's speed came into question at the scouting combine, where he ran a disappointing 5.01 seconds in the 40. As one opposing scout said, "It wasn't bad, it was awful." No doubt, it contributed to his fall to the sixth round. The same scout was stunned because Enemkpali never seemed slow on the field, rushing the quarterback.

"He's not real fast, but, man, his play speed is good," the scout said. "He's got burst, he's got acceleration and his instincts are good enough."

A 40-yard dash doesn't always quantify a player's true ability. Enemkpali already has proven that he won't let a few bad seconds, acted out in a late-night bar fight, bring him down.
Let's take a look at the New York Jets' draft class through the prism of projected roles for 2014. I see only two significant contributors at the outset, but that number likely will grow as the season progresses. You will see many of the draft picks involved in special teams. A closer look:

Calvin Pryor, safety, first round: He should be a Day 1 starter. If not, something is wrong. The roster is filled with strong safeties, so it'll be up to Rex Ryan to mix and match. Right now, the best tandem is Pryor and Dawan Landry, with Antonio Allen playing in certain sub packages.

Jace Amaro, tight end, second round: He doesn't block well enough to be an every-down player, but he should be on the field for about 50 percent of the snaps. If he can make a relatively seamless transition to a pro-style offense, Amaro could be the tight end in the three-receiver/one-tight end personnel package on passing downs in addition to joining Jeff Cumberland in two-tight end sets.

Dex McDougle, cornerback, third round: If his surgically repaired shoulder is OK, McDougle has a chance to work his way up the depth chart. Other than Dee Milliner, no one is entrenched at any of the cornerback spots. He should be the No. 4 corner at the very least. If he's good enough to start, it can allow Dimitri Patterson to play the slot, which wouldn't bode well for Kyle Wilson.

Jalen Saunders, wide receiver, fourth round: Jeremy Kerley is the slot receiver, so Saunders' best chance to make an immediate contribution will come as a punt returner. In terms of the pecking order at receiver, he's probably looking at the No. 4 or No. 5 spot.

Shaq Evans, wide receiver, fourth round: The situation at receiver is similar to that of cornerback. Except for Kerley and Eric Decker, the depth chart is fluid. Realistically, the best-case scenario for Evans is No. 5 receiver. He'd increase his value if he starts returning kickoffs.

Dakota Dozier, guard, fourth round: He has upside, but there are two factors working against him -- he comes from a small school (Furman) and he's learning a new position (guard). There will be a learning curve. Don't be surprised if he ends up with the Idzik Red-Shirts -- i.e. the bottom-of-the-roster players who remain inactive every week.

Jeremiah George, linebacker, fifth round: He probably will back up at the 'Mike' and 'Will' linebacker spots, joining Nick Bellore as the top reserves. Obviously, George will get a chance to be a significant contributor on special teams.

Brandon Dixon, cornerback, sixth round: This is a huge leap for Dixon, who played at NW Missouri State. He's a raw, developmental prospect who could join the Red-Shirts or perhaps the practice squad.

Quincy Enunwa, wide receiver, sixth round: See Evans.

IK Enemkpali, outside linebacker, sixth round: He played defensive end at Louisiana Tech, but the Jets are listing him as a linebacker. If that's where he plays, it'll be a major transition. Hello, practice squad.

Tajh Boyd, quarterback, sixth round: He will battle Matt Simms for the No. 3 job. Boyd has some intriguing traits, but he has to learn a pro-style offense and clean up some mechanical flaws.

Trevor Reilly, outside linebacker, seventh round: The Jets have four veterans ahead of him, so it'll be tough to make the team. There's always room at the Inn for a pass-rusher and a big-time special-teams player, so he'll have to excel in those areas.
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The pick: IK Enemkpali, defensive end, Louisiana Tech

My take: This is a fascinating pick on a number of levels. Enemkpali (pronounced: IN-em-PALL-ee) is an undersized defensive end at 6-foot-1, 261 pounds -- not an ideal scheme fit in Rex Ryan's 3-4 base defense. Another undersized defensive end -- Michael Sam, the co-SEC Defensive Player of the Year -- still was on the board when the Jets made this selection with a compensatory choice in the sixth round.

Enemkpali wasn't terribly productive in college (17.5 sacks in four years) and he didn't run well at the scouting combine (5.01 seconds in the 40). Evidently, the Jets liked something about him.

Situational player: Enemkpali is a 'tweener -- too small to be an every-down lineman in the Jets' base front and not fast enough to be an outside linebacker. He will be a situational pass-rusher, and there's nothing wrong with that as long as the player produces in that role. Obviously, he will have to earn a role on special teams as well. It's not usual for a team to take a developmental player this late in the draft, but they usually gamble with a player who has exceptional size-speed numbers that will allow him to make the jump. Enemkpali has neither.