Dec 28, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Chris Owusu (14) scores a touchdown as Miami Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes (21) can
Recently, I did a summary of the conversations of the wide receiver corps of the New York Jets between a group of friends of mine while on our annual shark fishing trip. The discussions were varied through the night, but we spent most of our time discussing expectations of the positional group. If you missed the first segment you can find it here.
As midnight passed, more action came our way. The deck hand was tending the chum slick and fins feeding in it seemed to be on the rise. The anticipation of a bite was high, but our discussions never slowed for a moment. This group loves Jet football, but we also love the thrill of the fight!
Here is the rest of the conversation of our great debate about the wide receiver corps of the Jets.
Next: Chris Owusu
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
Chris Owusu for those that may not know his name, was brought over to the Jets in 2014 and spent the majority of the season on the Jets’ practice squad before contributing in November when the team activated him. Owusu is a 6’0″/196 lbs. receiver who bounced around a bit after going undrafted, but has apparently been making a name for himself within the organization.
Harry: “Hmmm Owusu, I know a lot of folks were talking about him after last year’s game against Miami. Yet, I can’t bring myself to think he’ll make the cut this season. Yes, I’ve heard he looked good early on this season, but I just don’t believe he has the NFL skill set to contribute much. His routes aren’t very crisp an he’s a bit slow out of his cut. If he makes the 53 man roster, I’ll be surprised.”
John: “I’m with Harry. His speed is tempting, he runs something like a 4.38 in the 40-yard dash, but speed doesn’t always translate into great receivers. Hell, as Jet fans we all know that! He may be able to find a niche in special teams I guess, but as any sort of contributor to this offense, I’m doubtful. Maybe if he’s worth it they can stash him back on the practice squad, otherwise just cut him.”
Pat: “I think you guys are being a bit tough on Owusu. The Jets stashed him on the practice squad and from all indications, he developed better then any of the other receivers we drafted. When called on, he showed well. The Miami game gave you a glimpse of what this kid might provide on offense for us. He’ll make the cut, not sure how much time he’ll see on the field. but he’s versatile and Gailey likes guys that can do multiple things.”
Myself: “Yeah, here it comes guys! You’re all clueless what the Jets have in this kid. He has atypical size for a NFL receiver, he’s not afraid to climb the ladder and fight for a contested ball, nor are there any problems with his hands. The kid is explosively fast and reads the field well after the catch. Owusu is going to turn heads every time he gets the ball. In college the kid even returned some kicks and was utilized in the run game as well. Out of the backfield, spread wide or in the slot, this kid is going to be a contributor this year. I know you all think I’m crazy, but Owusu is a keeper!”
Next: 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
T.J. Graham was picked up last season from the Buffalo Bills, after his stint there, he also did a short stint with the Tennessee Titans. Going into his fourth year, Graham is only 25 years old. He has deep ball speed as shown in his one touchdown for the Jets last season. Graham took a Michael Vick pass for a 67 yard touchdown which showed some potential. Graham was former third round pick of the Bills.
Harry: “Jets need this kid to get involved in this offense. He’s got speed and from what I’ve read, tracks the deep ball pretty well. They labeled this kid a bust in Buffalo after only 2 years, but I still think he has enough to make this roster. If he can prove to be a threat on the outside, he can have a spot. Jets need someone in that role. The speedster they took in the draft may need some time to polish his game. I think he has a good shot at the roster.”
Pat: “Slow down here, the guy makes one big catch for a touchdown, and you want to give him a spot? He was pretty much ineffective last year. I think he played in most of the games last year and made like 10 catches all season! He had very few targets and let’s face it, nobody feared the Jets going deep on them last season. Graham had his rehearsal last year and I think you saw the best he can bring. Let him compete in camp, who really knows but I see him as a roster cut.”
John: “I have to admit, I don’t know much about Graham. I guess that says he didn’t turn many heads last season. I remember the bomb from Vick, the kid looked awfully fast on that play. Maybe with new coaching the kid will turn it around. He’s competition at this point, maybe he can impress during the summer. Giving up on a third rounder after just two years seems odd, maybe what you see is what you get. ”
Myself: “Graham needs to prove something this summer if he wants to remain a Jet. His routes weren’t very impressive last season and his lack of production proves that. I think he has an uphill battle to make the roster since the Jets have other young prospects that they may want to keep around. If he can prove he belongs, great, but he only has the summer to prove that.”
Next: 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
Devin Smith is a 6’1″/198 lbs. wide receiver that was drafted by the Jets this year in the second round. He finished his career at Ohio State with 121 receptions for 2,503 yards and 30 touchdowns. He’s being billed as a deep threat receiver for the Jets going forward.
Harry: “This kid is fast, that’s what I keep hearing from everyone. That’s great, but I’ve read he’s raw, that he’ll need some time to make the adjustment to the pros. Everyone is telling me I should be super excited about the Jets drafting him. I just need to see him I guess, he should be good and has the physical tools too. Maybe he develops into something down the line, but I’m thinking it’s going to be a learning curve for him this year.”
John: “This kid was a great pick by Maccagnan. Even though some say his routes are bit raw, he showed in Ohio that he is a rare talent. I think Devin will have a huge impact on this offense, speed on the outside has been lacking for quite a while. If the Jets can find someone to compliment him on the other side, the Jets could actually be feared by opposing secondaries. If Smith can draw safety coverage, the other receivers will benefit immensely. I’m looking forward to watching him develop. He may have even have been a first round talent in a different draft, I think he can be that good.”
Pat: “Absolutely a solid pick by the Jets. I had this kid on my board at the house as I really liked him pre-draft. I was ecstatic when the Jets announced his drafting. Finally, the Jets get a deep threat guy! Forget the routes, he has solid coaching here and the routes will become more sharp as he goes. They said he was turning head this spring in OTAs and I think that’s great news. This kid will stretch the field for guys like Decker and Marshall. The Jets have been missing this type of dynamic receiver for years. You have to be nuts to not like this pick.”
Myself: “Like you all touched on, the Jets need a deep threat. I think they could have one in Owusu and if they can combine these two, defenses will need to respect the Jets deep. Geno Smith has the arm strength, so I’m expecting Gailey to use Smith as a weapon. The kid does well after the catch and his speed makes him a danger to take it the distance. He promises to be a fun wide receiver to watch, they may even want to use his speed on returns. I think Smith will make some noise in the AFC East this year, defensive coordinator’s will need to plan for him. The Jets got a winner here.”
Next: Shaq Evans
Jul 24, 2014; Cortland, NY, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Shaq Evans (81) runs with the ball during drills at training camp at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
The fishing had been really slow. Most of us had lost interest in the rods when my rod bent and the reel screamed. Our conversation surrounding Shaq Evans was spent on deck as I fought the shark. Evans was drafted in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. During camp he went down with a shoulder injury that forced him to spend 2014 on the injured reserve list. Evans is just 24 years old and he measures out at 6’1″/204 lbs. with some potential.
Harry: “I’m curious what Evans brings this year. I mean, I wasn’t too excited when they waited until the fourth round last season to draft a receiver. The guy isn’t exactly a household name and then he gets hurt. We don’t know enough about him to really form an opinion. I wish him luck this summer since if he looks any good they could still stash him on the practice squad I think. Let him play, if he can show well, the Jets will have to make a decision then.”
John: “I did some homework on Evans this past season. He’s got potential. He has the body size and plays physical enough. I think with this new coaching staff, he can become a contributor. Health might be a concern, but barring injury, I think he brings solid competition in camp. He might even be able to be a factor on special teams as I think Evans will need to do more to remain. Of course if the Jets like him, he might be worth keeping on the practice squad.”
Pat: “Evans was a waste of a fourth round pick. He’s another Idzik pick who will likely never pan out. I expect him to be a cut casualty in camp. I just don’t see the guy ever being anything more than camp fodder. Yeah, he got hurt early on last season, but it’s not like he was turning heads before that. In fact many of those early reports last season had him struggling with the basics. He doesn’t have much of a route tree and do the Jets really need another possession type receiver? Nah, Evans isn’t making this team in my opinion. He just isn’t a fit I don’t think, cut him early and maybe he can find a niche.”
Myself: “I like Evans. I can see him developing into a legitimate receiver in the NFL and I think he holds value for the Jets. I think he could be a back up for Marshall and Decker, as he develops I think he could also be seen as a replacement for either as their contracts wind down. It’s going to take hard work on Evans part but I think he has the tools. He may never be the most athletic receiver on the field but I think there is plenty with this guy for the coaching staff to work with. If he doesn’t make it this year, Jets might be wise to develop him from the practice squad.”
Next: Wrap Up
Two and half hours after the bite, I was able to boat a 148 pound Mako shark. It measured nearly six feet long and it put up a valiant fight. My friends and I release a vast majority of the sharks we catch, but this catch came home with me. It’s a mid sized Mako, making it the perfect size for eating. We will be having a barbecue in the near future to enjoy the food.
It was now 3 am and the bunch of us were beat. The beer consumption slowed and the Jet conversations began to fade. We did agree the Jets have a much better offensive make up this season. Smith’s success is doubtful in this group. The guys also are down on Coples and Pryor, but that is for another day. I asked where they thought the Jets would wind up at the end of the season. Here’s their take:
Harry: “I hate making predictions this early. My best guess would be 8-8, I don’t want to sound like a party pooper, but this team still has some questions to answer.”
John: “Despite some of my concerns, I think Maccagnan did a pretty good job providing upgrades over last season’s team. Personally I think he did enough to squeeze us into the back side of the playoffs. Maybe a wild card at 9-7?”
Pat: “The defense is going to keep them in games, and I think the offense can get enough points on the board to be competitive. Jets have a fairly easy schedule and a bunch of new talent. I’m going out on a limb and saying 11-5. If Smith has a break out season, I think they could make a deep run into the playoffs. The Jets are going to be a damned good football team.”
Myself: “I predicted a 9-7 season in a piece I did a couple of weeks ago. I’ll stick with that.”
The trip was fun and it’s always great to get together and talk Jet football with close friends. I hope you enjoyed the read and please leave me a comment. Let’s Talk Jet Football!