New York Jets: Ranking top wide receivers
By Jesse Lucas
May 27, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) makes a one handed catch during organized team activities at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
One of the most talked about (and let’s face it most important) positions on a football team is the wide receiver. The New York Jets currently have 12 wide receivers on the roster so let’s break down the top eight receivers that should definitely make the team and rank just how good they will be this upcoming season.
Next: 8. Shaq Evans
Aug 4, 2014; Cortland, NY, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Shaq Evans (81) walks to the locker room following training camp at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
8. Shaq Evans
Evans was drafted by the Jets in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. It was an attempt to boost a weak wide receiver corps that never actually worked. He ended up getting hurt, placed on injured reserve, and missed the entire 2014 season.
Evans isn’t guaranteed a roster spot in 2015, especially if he isn’t able to produce once he gets healthy again. He probably won’t ever be the fastest wide out on the field in any game, but his hands are a great asset.
We haven’t seen him in the pro’s yet, but from watching him in college he has proven he can make big catches even in traffic. If he still has that ability when he gets back on the field, he should at the very least make the roster at the final spot on the depth chart.
Next: 7. Jonathon Rumph
Nov 22, 2014; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs wide receiver Jonathon Rumph (18) tries to break a tackle by Charleston Southern Buccaneers linebacker Aaron Brown (6) during the first half at Sanford Stadium. Georgia defeated Charleston Southern 55-9. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
7. Jonathon Rumph
Rumph was selected in the 2015 NFL Draft by the Jets. As a Bulldog playing for Georgia, he didn’t post a great quantity of stats but the stats he did post were pretty solid. In 2013, he only had 7 receptions for 121 yards, in 2014 he had 11 receptions for 176 yards.
That’s an average of 17.3 and 16.0 yards per reception respectively. Also keep in mind that it is in the SEC where the defenses are as similar to a pro style defense as you can get in college ball and the D-backs are about as good as they get.
He is a little faster than Evans but has hands that are just as good. Rumph should have no issues making the roster this season, but with all the talent ahead of him I don’t expect him to do a lot this year. Look for him to have a good couple of games and build off of that for next season where he might be able to slide into the third or fourth receiver slot.
Next: 6. DeVier Posey
Dec 14, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Houston Texans receiver DeVier Posey (11) make a catch over Indianapolis Colts cornerback Vontae Davis (21) at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Indianapolis Colts won, 17-10 to clinch the AFC South Division. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports
6. DeVier Posey
Posey was a decent role player during his time with the Houston Texans and was a decent addition for the Jets this off-season. 2013 was his most productive year with 155 yards on 15 receptions. He followed that up with only one reception last season for a total 30 yards.
Don’t expect Posey to come out and make his way into being one of the top 5 receivers this season, but if there is some kind of an injury or a player ahead of him has to miss time for any reason, Posey should be a decent substitute for a few games if called upon. He is simply on board as an insurance police that the Jets hope they never have to use.
Next: 5. Devin Smith
May 27, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Devin Smith (84) catches a pass during organized team activities at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
5. Devin Smith
Smith is yet another intriguing rookie that the Jets have on the roster for this upcoming season. Straight out of Ohio State University, he led his collegiate team in receiving yards with 931. He started 11 of the 15 games he played in as well.
I think on most other teams Smith could very easily be in at a three or four receiver on the depth chart, and it’s possible he could make his way there this year with the Jets. But there is a lot of talent currently in front of him and that will make it difficult.
Expect Smith to get more action than almost any other rookie on the team and expect him to get better every time he steps onto the field. He is very different from the other young talent at wide receiver I already listed.
His hands aren’t quite as good as them but there are many times where he bobbles catches before securing them as he will often start to turn and run downfield before he has complete control of the ball. With that being said, he is also way faster than the other young talent on this team and that is enough to bump him up on the depth chart in my opinion. He has great speed off of the line to blow past defenders in man-to-man coverage and get into open spaces to get the ball thrown his way.
Next: 4. T.J. Graham
Dec 14, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Jets wide receiver T.J. Graham (10) rushes against the Tennessee Titans during the first half at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
4. T.J. Graham
Graham’s first season with the Jets in 2014 was depressing to put it in one word. After having 31 receptions for 322 yards in 2012 and 23 receptions for 361 yards in 2013 (both with the Buffalo Bills), he only had 3 receptions for 81 yards last season.
I don’t think I was the only one who expected Graham to be at least a moderately big part of the offense last year. Maybe some of the bad stats can be blamed on bad quarterback play, but he has to take some of the blame as well.
I think Graham get’s the benefit of the doubt from the new coaching staff and will at least be in as the third or fourth wide out on the depth chart. However, if the guys under him play well enough, expect Graham’s stats and playing time to plummet and eventually look for him to be traded or cut from the team all together.
If Graham steps up though and plays to his potential, he could turn out to be quite the hidden gem for the Jets this upcoming season.
Next: 3. Jeremy Kerley
Dec 28, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Jeremy Kerley (11) is tripped up by Miami Dolphins middle linebacker Kelvin Sheppard (97) during the second half at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
3. Jeremy Kerley
Kerley had a big jump going from his rookie year to his sophomore year in the league, but since then his stats have been slowly dropping every season. In 2013, you could blame the lower stats on fewer games played (only 12 games versus 16 games both of the previous seasons) but in 2o14 he played all 16 regular season games and still his stats dropped.
As with the previous slide you can place some of the blame on the quarterback play being extremely inconsistent all year long. As long as he stays healthy all season, I’m expecting Kerley to have a career high for yards in a season.
If for no other reason he’s going to be open a lot more with Eric Decker and now Brandon Marshall both catching passes for the Jets this season. Kerley should be able to surpass 900+ yards this season on at least 5 touchdowns. That’s assuming the quarterback play is up from where it was last year, and it should be.
Next: 2. Eric Decker
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
2. Eric Decker
Decker did have a little bit of a drop in his numbers his first year playing with the Jets. But I think that should be expected when you go from Peyton Manning throwing you the ball to a more quarterback by committee approach.
Decker won’t be the top receiver on the depth chart this year, but that won’t necessarily be a bad thing for him or the team. His career high for yards in a season is 1,288 as last season he had 962 total yards.
Now that opposing defenses won’t be able to focus on him as much I expect, Decker should rack up over 1,000 yards receiving this season and have a respectable 8 touchdowns. Teams are going to have a hay day trying to game plan against the top Jets’ receivers this season and it’s going to make it even easier for Decker to put up some solid numbers.
Next: 1. Brandon Marshall
May 27, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) catches a pass during organized team activities at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
1. Brandon Marshall
Finally we get to the cream of the crop on the depth chart. Marshall was acquired for virtually nothing in a trade with the Chicago Bears earlier in the off-season. Starting his career off with Denver, then going to Miami then to Chicago, he has been able to have success under a few different offenses and that looks good for the Jets.
There is no reason he won’t be the top receiver on the depth chart and his stats should be pretty good this year. His last year in Chicago wasn’t the best, but in Marshall’s defense there was a lot of drama going on in the locker room that we could see from the outside looking in.
Usually whatever we see isn’t really as bad as what’s going on. After seven consecutive seasons with 1,000+ receiving yards and 11 and 12 touchdowns in 2012 and 2013 respectively, Marshall had only 721 yards on 8 touchdowns in 2014.
I’m expecting a huge bounce back year for Marshall and that Jets fans should be looking forward to the same. My prediction is 1,350+ receiving yards on at least 10 touchdowns. It won’t be easy doing this under another new system but Marshall is definitely capable of doing it thanks to all his previous experience.
Next: Marcus Williams: Is he ready to claim a spot?