Florida Gators safety Trey Dean was signed by the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent. Given his status, the Jets hopes to work him up the ranks in their secondary and provide depth to go alongside Jordan Whitehead, Tony Adams, and Chuck Clark.
But for Trey Dean to make it in the NFL, he will need to prove that he is more than just a thumper that is strong and hits hard.
Trey Dean hits hard
Odds are, during the preseason, Dean will make a hit that will circulate around social media, and Jets fans will be thinking to themselves they got a steal by getting him as a UDFA. And while at Florida, Dean was known for his physicality and rarely got sent backward when he came downhill to meet a running back or receiver.
His Combine performance in the bench press backs this up, benching 25 reps of 225 pounds despite only weighing 207 pounds himself.
The problem with Dean is his coverage recognition and rotating too slowly on the back end. The Gators employed a static zone scheme in 2022 that needed its safties to be elite and rotate on time. That frequently didn’t happen, and part of the reason why can be supported by Dean’s 40-yard dash time at the Combine and Pro Day that was in the 4.7 second range.
His presnap recognition also wasn’t good enough for someone who played five full college football seasons. Notably, against Tennessee, Dean had multiple busted coverages that thwarted Florida’s ability to pull off the upset.
His tackling can be hit or miss. While he does have some notable big hits during his time with the Gators, he also missed tackles in part because he was always gunning for the big hit.
So given his physicality, Dean will probably do well as a special teams guy, and if he does make the 53-man roster, it will have to be because of that. Trusting him to do more than that for the Jets feels like a tall order at the moment, and he will need to improve upon his deficiencies if he intends to stick around for a second contract in the NFL.