New York Jets 2015 Training Camp Profile: Devin Smith


Could Devin Smith actually bring life to an offense that needs some major play-makers? Much has been written about the New York Jets’ inability to draft a successful quarterback. Unfortunately, the Jets’ struggles in the draft room extend to other offensive skill positions as well.

Highlighted by their selection of legendary bust Stephen Hill in the 2013 NFL Draft and an atrocious 2014 draft (Jalen Saunders, Shaquelle Evans, Quincy Enunwa), the Jets have had little luck drafting wide receivers lately. In fact, the last wide receiver drafted by the Jets to have 1,000+ receiving yards in a season was Jerricho Cotchery in 2007.

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Coaches and fans are hoping to reverse that trend this upcoming season. In this year’s draft, the Jets selected wide receiver Devin Smith (Ohio State) with their second-round pick.

A quick glance at Smith’s college numbers from provides plenty of reasons for optimism in 2015:

Smith’s numbers steadily improved throughout his college career, culminating in a senior season of 900+ receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. Smith also has big play potential, as evidenced by multiple plays of 70+ receiving yards.

Ironically, Smith’s deep threat ability could be his undoing in the NFL. Because Smith built his college career on racing down the field and catching long passes, there are some concerns about his ability to develop as a complete NFL wide receiver. In particular, Smith must be able to learn and run a wide variety of routes if he wants to succeed in New York.

There is no doubt that Smith has the physical ability to thrive in the NFL. However, if the Hill fiasco revealed anything, it’s that drafting incomplete college receivers based on physical ability, size and inflated college numbers can be risky. Hill had the size and speed of a Calvin Johnson but could not even stay on the Jets’ roster for three seasons.

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

Fortunately for Smith, the Jets should have a talented wide receiving corp in 2015, providing him with amble opportunities to learn and develop at an his own pace. And with newly acquired Ryan Fitzpatrick pushing incumbent starting quarterback Geno Smith, the Jets quarterback situation should be better than it has been in years.

Can Smith adapt to the rigors of the NFL? It will take at least a few years before anyone can know for certain. Because the Jets have a deep rotation of wide receivers, Smith will receive limited playing time and put up modest numbers in his rookie season.

It would be unrealistic to expect anything more than 500 receiving yards and a few touchdowns out of Smith in 2015. But if Smith is able to show signs of significant development his first year, Jets fans should welcome any on-field production he provides as a bonus.

Next: New York Jets 2015 Training Camp Profile: Chris Ivory

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