New York Jets Preview: Wide Receiver Breakdown


The former Broncos star will be one of the Jets receivers, but who will join him?

For the first time in what feels like years, the New York Jets may finally have themselves a very deep and talented wide receiver group. After watching Sanchez struggle in 2012, and Geno Smith struggle in 2013, it was pretty clear that the position needed a makeover.

This offseason, Jets General Manager John Idzik made sure that this group vastly improved. Early in free agency he locked up former Denver Broncos receiver Eric Decker,former Raiders speedster Jacoby Ford, and then went on to draft former Oklahoma Sooner Jalen Saunders, and recent UCLA graduate Shaq Evans in the fourth round. After adding these four pieces to the team, it is fair to say that the Jets have a legitimate competition to see who will stick with the team heading into the 2014-2015 season. Let’s take a look at every receiver fighting for a job, and on a sale of 1-10, what the chances are that they make the roster.

1. Eric Decker- The big signing off the offseason for the Jets. Just a few days after free agency began John Idzik was able to get Decker in the fold with a five-year deal worth close to $37 million. As soon as he signed, Decker instantly became the best receiver the Jets have had in years. I believe Decker will be a huge presence for the Jets in the red zone this season, and will be a very reliable and steady receiver for young Geno Smith. Probability of making the roster 10.

2. Jeremy Kerley- Jeremy Kerley was the best wide receiver the Jets had during the 2013 season. The former fifth round pick out of TCU had himself a very nice season, one in which he led the Jets in receiving yards with 523, and also led the team in catches with 43. When Kerley really thrived last season was on third down. Kerley made big play after big play on third down, which was huge for a struggling Jets offense. With Decker now apart of the WR group, opposing teams will take their focus off Kerley a bit, which should allow him to put together another strong season. Probability of making the Roster- 10.

3. David Nelson– Steady, reliable, and tough. All three of these adjectives describe Jets wide receiver David Nelson. After being picked up late in the season by the Jets, Nelson had himself a very respectable first season in the green and white. While nothing in Nelson’s game is ” flashy”, the former Florida Gator is a very reliable target who has great hands and runs solid routes. Outside of Decker and Kerley, the Jets WR group is very young, so having a veteran leader like Nelson can be big for this team. Probability of making the roster- 9.

4. Stephen  Hill- Few players are as frustrating as Stephen Hill. The former second round pick out of Georgia Tech has all the tools you would want in an NFL receiver. He has great height, great speed, and he certainly looks the part of a NFL receiver, but during his first two seasons, he just has not been able to put it together. Hill has struggled mightily with drops, which are a result of him using his body to catch the ball, and not using his hands to attack the ball at the highest point. Also, injuries have hindered him in both years. This is a make or break year for Hill, but I think this is the year he puts i all together. Probability of making the roster- 7.

5. Jalen Saunders– Arguably, this may have been my favorite pick of the 2014 draft for the Jets. While Saunders is only 5’9, he was considered one of the toughest and most physical receivers in all of college football last season. Saunders possess strong hands to go along with his great speed, which makes him a threat in the slot for the Jets opposite Kerley. Another area of his game that is impressive is his work as a kick and punt returner. The Jets have lacked burst from both KR and PR for years, so having Saunders back there will really help out the Jets in terms of field position. Probability of making the roster- 8.

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6. Shaq Evans– In a way, Shaq Evans reminds me a bit of Stephen Hill. The former UCLA standout has a terrific frame, but is very raw, and will take some time to develop his game in the pros, Evans is a big, strong target who will likely thrive in the redzone and on third down. Evans runs strong routes, but needs to be more consistent in catching the football. I believe Evans has the potential to be a nice player in the NFL, but he may have some bumps along the way. Probability of making roster- 6.

7. Jacoby Ford– The former Oakland Raider speedster will have an uphill climb if he wants to make the Jets roster this season. Before the draft, Ford was considered the favorite for the KR/PR job, but the drafting of Jalen Saunders really hurts Ford’s chance of making the team. Unless Ford really impresses in preseason games, I think he is going to have a hard time making this roster. Probability of making roster- 4.

8 Quincy Enunwa- Eununwa is the type of guy who would really benefit from spending a year or so on the Jets practice squad. Enunwa needs some time to develop his game, especially learning to catch the ball away from his body, and he also needs to work on his route running. What Enunwa brings to the table though is that he is very tough and has the ideal height for an NFL receiver. Probability of making roster- 4.

9. Greg Salas- Greg Salas performed pretty well last season when he had the opportunity to prove himself to the Jets. Salas had himself a strong game against the Saints, but was pretty quiet in the other games. While I think Salas has good potential, I think the numbers are stacked against him this year. Probability of making roster- 3.

10. Clyde Gates–  Gates had his opportunity to prove himself last season, but ultimately struggled to perform on a constant basis until he was injured and was placed on season ending IR. Gates would really have to have an incredible preseason to make the roster. Probability of making the roster- 2.

11 Michael Campbell– Spent some time on the active roster last year, but more likely to be on the practice squad. Probability of making roster- 1.

12. Saalim Hakim– Hakim did not perform bad in limited action last season, could be a guy the Jets try to stash on the practice squad. Probability of making roster- 2.

The Jets have themselves a very respectable and deep WR group, it will certainly be a position to watch during training camp and during the preseason.