Height – 5’9
Weight – 165
Age – 21
40 – 4.37
2013 – 61 Catches, 729 yards and 8 TDs
NFL Comparison -
Pick your favorite quick, small slot WR.
Jets fourth round pick WR Jalen Saunders has been defying the odds pretty much his entire football career. At 5’9 165 pounds, Saunders is the kind of WR that has always had to overcome his shortcomings ( no pun intended) by becoming better and “taller” in other areas of his game. He’s not your “Prototypical” NFL WR, but he doesn’t have to be in order to be what the Jets need in their offense.
Saunders brings a special skill set to the game that only a few WRs bring. Yes, he has the perfect attributes to be thrown into the slot, a place where I think he can excel, especially in Marty Mornhinweg’s offense. He does however, bring more to the team as he’s a very skilled return man and should help the Jets in that area immediately. The Jets were one of the worst kick return teams in the league last season and they could undoubtedly use Saunders in that area.
Saunders reminds me a bit of WR Jeremy Kerley in that he’s shifty, quick and can cut on a dime at a moments notice. Saunders is a very solid router runner for a WR of his size, though his size may ironically may be the reason he’s such a good route runner. As I stated previously, his shortcomings forced him to elevate other areas of his game, one of which undoubtedly was route running.
Here’s an example of Jalen Saunders’s route running on display at Senior Bowl Practices back in January……
Saunders will bring quickness, toughness, speed, shiftiness and solid depth to the Jets WR corp. He will give Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg another toy to add to the passing game which will allow him to play with many possibilities in the formations. Both Saunders’s and Kerley’s skill set present major match up problems for opposing defenses. Their quickness, shiftiness and cut ability can be lethal in the right formations.
Can you imagine a formation with Kerley and Saunders stacked in the slot position. TE Jace Amaro on the opposite side with Decker split out wide and RB Chris Johnson in the backfield, but comes in motion and stacks up behind Saunders and Kerley? No matter what defense the Jets are playing, that’s a high percentage formation every Sunday guaranteed.
We know what WRs like Saunders cant do. We know what their limitations are, but the Jets should be able to capitalize on what Saunders can do and that’s quite a bit. Saunders is a very talented WR, but he’s raw and it shouldn’t take long for the Jets to discover what he brings to the table. As an Alabama fan, trust me, I already know.