New York Jets: Confidence in the WR Core for 2014 and Beyond


Sep 14, 2014; Green Bay, WI, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker (87) signals a first down after making a catch in the second quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

During the 2013 season, one of the main issues on the Jets was the lack of talent at the wide receiver position. The group struggled to get separation from cornerbacks, which made it hard for rookie Geno Smith to do anything other ran run the ball. According to many, this group was among the worst in the entire NFL.

Now, in 2014, the New York Jets WR group has basically done a complete 360 degree turnaround. The members of this unit now on the active roster are Eric Decker, Percy Harvin, Jeremy Kerley, Greg Salas, TJ Graham, Saalim Hakim, and Walt Powell. The “big three” as some Jets fans call them, are Decker, Harvin, and Kerley. Kerley is the only one of the three who was a member of the 2013 Jets. Credit has to be given to general manager John Idzik for vastly improving this position in a very short amount of time.

The Jets marquee free agent signing was former Denver Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker. The Jets signed the 27-year-old receiver to a five-year, $36.25 million deal, inking the talented receiver through at least 2018. In his first season in the Green and White, Decker has been very solid. While Decker was battling a hamstring issue earlier in the season, he has proven to be a great addition to the offense when healthy. Personally, I think Decker’s route running is top-notch. He runs crisp, hard routes which makes it hard for a defender to stay with him. Decker will be a main part of the Jets offense for years to come.

Nov 9, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Percy Harvin (16) rushes against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this season, the Jets acquired Percy Harvin from the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. Since coming over to the Jets, Harvin has provided a spark for the Jets struggling offense. Harvin brings a little bit of everything to the table. He returns both kicks and punts, is the starting WR opposite Decker, and even takes handoffs on occasion. Harvin truly is electric player who has the ability to take it for six every time the ball is in his hands. If I had to bet, I would bet that Idzik decides to pick up the option on Harvin and keep him in the Green and White for many years. He is a perfect complement to Decker.

Nov 2, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Jeremy Kerley (11) returns to the huddle after a play during the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 24-10. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The third member of the ” big three” is former TCU star Jeremy Kerley. For years, Kerley has been a reliable weapon for the Jets on offense. Earlier this year, Kerley signed a four-year contract extension keeping him with the team for at least the near future. Kerley is a very solid third, or “slot” receiver for the Jets, who always seems to come up big on third down. The Jets can potentially have Decker, Harvin, and Kerley together for at least the next four seasons. That continuity would be huge for the offense.

Oct 5, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Greg Salas (17) during the third quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

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After those three, the Jets have solid depth that every team desperately needs. Before the addition of Harvin, Greg Salas was seeing significant snaps, and was a reliable target for QB Geno Smith. TJ Graham has provided a boost to the Jets offense with his special teams play, and his ” big play” ability, which we saw in action against the Steelers when he caught a 67 yard touchdown from QB Michael Vick. Another WR on the roster is Saalim Hakim. While he does not see action on offense often, he plays a vital role on special teams. The same can be said for Walt Powell, who flashed potential at the punt return position.

Sep 14, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Owusu (80) runs with the ball during the second half against the St. Louis Rams at Raymond James Stadium. St. Louis Rams defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 19-17. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets also have wide receivers Chris Owusu and Quincy Enunwa on the practice squad. Enunwa, the Jets 6th round pick, and Owusu, a former Tampa Bay Bucaneer, are very young players who the Jets hope will continue to improve as time goes on. Next year, the Jets will also get back rookie WR Shaq Evans, who was placed on injured reserve during preseason. Evans is a player I am very high on, and think he will find a role in the Jets offense next season.

In just over a year, the Jets group of wide receivers has greatly improved. A huge positive for the future is that they do not have a receiver who is over the age of 27. This shows that the group still has plenty of room to improve. The future looks bright for the Jets wide receiver group.