New York Jets: What If They Chose a WR Early in the NFL Draft


The Jets got an unexpected Monday Night Game, and a trip to Detroit last night due to a “snow delay”. Coming off the bye week, the extra time off turned out to be an invitation to show quite a bit of rust. Rex Ryan’s Jets have been historically bad coming off the bye, so nothing is a surprise. Rex chose to practice during the bye week, before giving his players a break with their families. They also practiced fully for the last night’s game, while the Bills missed several days of practice due to the snow. Advantage should have been for the Jets, but instead they embarrassed themselves.  Now, they are officially out of the playoff race once again.

I’m not a Giants fan, and I hardly ever watch the “Men In Blue” games on the television, but I did watch them on Sunday night. Everyone is talking about the Odell Beckham catch; it was a spectacular thing to watch! I’ve watched it on film several times, and couldn’t help but wonder….what if the Jets had moved up and grabbed him in the draft. I know, hindsight is 20/20, but there were many fans promoting such a move prior to the draft. So, I thought we might take a moment and look at some of the other wide receivers that the Jets passed on this year.

Nov 23, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) catches a one handed touchdown against by Dallas Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr (39) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

We’ll start with Odell Beckham, granted they technically didn’t pass on Beckham, but owning 12 picks in this draft, they did possess the picks to make a move up to get him. The Giants drafted Beckham at #12, just three spots before the Jets chose Calvin Pryor. Beckham has had his rookie struggles,injury slowed his start, but he has proven he’s a NFL talent already. Beckham has posted 41 receptions for 609 yards in just seven games, which averages out to 14.9 yards per catch. He’s also scored five TD’s in those seven games, and has contributed on special teams as well. The stats can’t be compared to Pryor’s for the obvious reasons, but it’s safe to say Beckham has had a much more successful rookie campaign thus far. In comparison Eric Decker has posted 43 reception for 450 yards and four TD’s in nine games.

Nov 24, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins (14) breaks a tackle by New York Jets defensive back Marcus Williams (22) after making a catch during the second half at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Sammy Watkins was the big time receiver heading into the draft, and he has shown the NFL that he’s going to be a force for the foreseeable future. He’s posted 45 receptions for 649 yards and five TD’s in 10 games for a 14.9 average. Watkins was taken #4 in the first round by the Bills. While this pick was probably out of the Jets reach, again there were fans proposing the expensive trade to get arguably the best receiver in this draft. In hindsight, it would have cost the Jets way too much to get him, but I still think at times…what if?

Nov 23, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) catches a touchdown pass after getting past Chicago Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller (23) in the second quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Evans was taken #7 overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Again the Jets didn’t technically pass on Evans. The price likely would have been high to move up this far in the first round. Evans has put up some impressive numbers for Tampa Bay this season; posting 49 receptions for 841 yards and count them, eight TD’s. Eleven games into the season, and this kid is averaging 17.2 yards per catch. What if?

Nov 16, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks (10) returns a kickoff in the fourth quarter of their game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Bengals won, 27-10. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Brandin Cooks was drafted two picks after the Jets chose Calvin Pryor by the New Orleans Saints. Cooks was high on many Jets fans pre draft wish lists. In ten games Cooks has posted 53 reception for 550 yards and three TD’s as a receiver. He’s also seen action in the run game, recording seven carries for 73 yds and a TD. Cooks is having a good rookie season and promises to be a rising star.

Nov 16, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (13) looks on after catching a touchdown pass during the fourth quarter at Bank of America Stadium. The Falcons defeated the Panthers 19-17. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Kelvin Benjamin was there for the taking when the Jets drafted last season. Benjamin was taken 28th overall by the Carolina Panthers. Benjamin has also had a nice rookie campaign posting 52 catches for 768 yards and eight TD’s. He’s on a pace to pass 1,100 yds this season. One truly has to wonder….what if?

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Those are the wide receivers taken in the first round of the 2014 draft. Since watching Odell Beckham circus catch on Sunday, I can’t help wonder how much better our offense could have been if we had drafted anyone of these players. Like I said, hindsight is 20/20, I will readily admit that, but it’s not like our scouts didn’t know how good these kids were leading up to the draft. The Jets answer for the receiving game came in the second round with the drafting of Jace Amaro. Jace has been coming along nicely in his development as a tight end; he’s posted 34 receptions for 291 yards and two TD’s. The remaining wide receivers drafted this year have had no impact on the field.

I sat around thinking after watching the Giant game on Sunday. How did things go so wrong? We owned 12 picks in arguably one of deepest drafts in decades!! What went wrong? Who’s to blame? Let’s hear your theories. Time to sound off!