In case you missed it, click here to see the post on #5 and #4.
Click here for the post on #3 and #2.
Before we continue the countdown to the #1 player, let’s review #5-2 on our “Under-the-radar Jets that will breakout in 2012” :
#5- Aaron Maybin– Pass-Rushing DE/OLB
#4- Joe McKnight– Running Back/Kick Returner
#3- Kenrick Ellis– Defensive Tackle
#2- Antonio Cromartie– Cornerback
And the #1 Jet that will breakout in 2012 is…….(continue to page 2)
#1– Jeremy Kerley
Coming off a fairly productive rookie season, Jets WR Jeremy Kerley established himself as a viable slot receiver for the foreseeable future. Proving that he can be a versatile weapon (similar to Brad Smith), Jeremy has developed into a reliable 3rd down option for Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow.
Kerley is excellent in open space and can create yards after the catch with ease. #11 is a deadly mismatch for opposing defenses, who are forced to focus on the quick-cutting slot receiver. He demands attention from Defensive Coordinator’s, because ideally, defenses want to have their two best corners lined up on the outside (vs. Holmes and Hill). This means that Kerley will often be lined up on a linebacker (huge mismatch), safety, or 3rd-string cornerback. A defense will usually put a Defensive Back on Kerley– but as a strength, his quickness allows him to beat a DB one on one.
If a defense dares to double team Kerley, to assure that he doesn’t get into open space, that leaves Dustin Keller, Santonio Holmes, and Stephen Hill with 1-on-1 match-ups. That is a heck of an advantage for the Jets offense! And in the event that Kerley is blanketed in zone coverage, he can split defenders, sitting in a window–where he can make the catch and pick up decent yardage. Mark Sanchez seemed to have missed Kerley when he had a hamstring injury and was out for a few games. Sanchez looked a bit rattled, almost like his only check-down option left was Dustin Keller. Jeremy proved that he can be that guy; when it’s 3rd & 5, late in the game, he can make the catch that will keep a drive going. This is what we’ve been missing the past couple of years.
When Chansi Stuckey was traded to the Browns in ’09, we never really got a quick/slot- type receiver back, who can create yards after the catch. That is why I give GM Mike Tannenbaum a lot of credit for drafting the talented TCU product in the 5th round! I always believed that Kerley would’ve been a better pick than Bilal Powell in the 4th round of last years draft, but hey, we got both of them didn’t we?
Jeremy’s versatility is very under-rated. He can run, catch, pass, and return. He brings value to the field on game-day. Now his role is even more unpredictable. When you think about how hard it is for a defense to gameplan for Sanchez and Tebow, and the other weapons we have, people forget about Kerley. And, not that we need trick-plays to move the ball, but the trick-play possibilities are endless. We have a rare skill-set on offense, having 3 of 11 offensive starters, who are capable of throwing a pass (Sanchez/Tebow/Kerley). Attempting to game-plan against this will certainly give Defensive Coordinator’s a headache.
Even if Kerley doesn’t have a breakout season statistically, the potential threat #11 brings to the table demands a lot of attention. He can serve as a decoy, attracting defenders, thus creating opportunities for other targets (#81,#10,#84).
Oh, and I forgot to mention, Kerley can return punts! Nearly taking one back to the house @ Oakland in 2011, Kerley will surely improve as a punt returner; and I expect him to take AT LEAST one PR for a Touchdown this upcoming season.
Making #1 on Sports Centers top 10 plays while at TCU, let’s check out what this guy can do as a returner:
What do you think about the rankings?
Is Jeremy Kerley worthy of the #1 spot?
Who would you pick as your 5 under-the-radar players?
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