The biggest area of need for the Jets come this off season will be the skill positions on the outside. The lack of quality play makers in the wide receiver and tight end position was evident this past season, and was a factor that might have hindered Geno Smith‘s growth. To remedy this the Jets have two options, look to the draft or look towards free agency, I believe they should do both. In the draft there are three good prospects I will take a look at as potential Jets, because it seems in most any analysts mock draft one of these three guys is picked up in the first round with the 18th overall pick in the draft by the Jets.
Eric Ebron: The first player I will look at is the tight end out of North Carolina, Eric Ebron. In the 2013 season Ebron amassed an explosive 973 yard from 62 catches yielding an average of 15.7 yards per reception, and this is all in only 12 games. He is bigger bodied but this doesn’t compromise his speed and agility, he get’s off the line with great burst and uses his body to gain position on defenders. However, his best quality is the one that probably will interest the Jets the most, he has incredibly reliable hands having made many catches with only one this past season. The downside to Ebron is he is a pure receiving tight end and his skills as a run blocker are highly speculative. For the Jets he could bring a reliable red zone presence as well as a mismatch for opposing defenses on the rest of the field.
Mike Evans: Next we have the freakish 6 foot 5 Mike Evans from Texas A & M who is an old school physical style wide receiver. Evans amassed 1394 yards on 69 receptions in 2013 as well as 12 touchdowns and was one of Johnny Manziel’s favorite targets. He is a force with the ball in his hands and knows how to use his body to win at the point of the catch, his field presence is also really good and he can be a threat to go to the endzone on any play. The downside to Evans is he doesn’t posess elite speed or burst and relies too heavily on his size to make a play. This might not translate well going into the NFL as he will be up against bigger bodied corners and safeties.
Marqise Lee: Finally we have the explosive, if under-sized, wide receiver from USC, Marqise Lee. With his size and skill set I compare him to Percy Harvin. Like Harvin, Lee has an explosive burst, good speed and shiftiness like no other. Lee possesses great lateral agility and ability to change direction, and at the NFL level this will help him gain separation as well, and makes him a dangerous ball carrier. He is an elite and rare talent and will likely be able to juke most defenders straight out their shoes at the NFL level. Furthermore, he is a good return man and can bring back some of the explosiveness on special teams that the Jets have lost in the past couple of years. However, he has been injury prone, like Harvin, and investing a first round pick into someone who might miss playing time due to injury is not an ideal scenario. However he could serve as a versatile threat, possessing the tools to be an effective end around rusher, screen receiver and down field threat.
So here we have three potential Jets all with big upsides, and all with minor downsides. We will have to wait until the draft to see how the cards fall and if any of these players even get to where the Jets are drafting. However, I feel confident that at least one of these three will be on the board at 18 and the prospects look good.