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
Entering the upcoming season, the New York Jets are faced with a difficult decision at the wide receiver position. In recent years, this was a position of weakness for Gang Green, but the position has changed significantly the past two off-seasons. In my opinion, the Jets will be looking to keep at least 7 wide receivers to at least start the season.
Here are the top 7 wide receivers that should definitely be on the final roster of the Jets heading into 2015!
Next: 7. Brandon Marshall
Aug 21, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) runs with the ball during the first half of their game against the Atlanta Falcons at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
As soon as Marshall put on a Jets uniform the first day of practice, he immediately became the best wide receiver the team has had in years. The five time Pro Bowl receiver was traded to the Jets on March 10th, with a 5th round pick going to the Chicago Bears in return for the big receiver. Marshall is a huge target that will undoubtedly help whoever is at quarterback, whether it is Geno Smith or Ryan Fitzpatrick. Expect Marshall to be the most targeted wide receiver this season.
Next: 6. Eric Decker
August 11, 2015; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker (87) during practice at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: John Munson/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports
6. Eric Decker
When Decker was signed last off season by former general manager John Idzik, he was considered the Jets’ No. 1 wide receiver. In that role, the former Denver Broncos star finished with 962 yards and 5 touchdowns. Heading into this season, Decker will not be going up against the opposing teams top cornerbacks, with opponents focusing on Marshall. Decker is a solid, reliable wide receiver who is a terrific route runner and should thrive in the No. 2 receiving role on offense.
Next: 5. Jeremy Kerley
Dec 1, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Jeremy Kerley (11) returns a kickoff against Miami Dolphins running back Damien Williams (34) at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
It has been an odd off season so far for Kerley. The last few seasons, Kerley was a consistent starter in New York but up to this point, he has been running with the backups. While this is the case, I find it hard to believe that Kerley will not see significant snaps with the starters this year. Kerley is the perfect slot wide receiver, and a solid compliment for Marshall and Decker. Even though he might have a reduced role on offense, he has great breakout speed which would add a nice dimension to the Jets’ offense.
Next: 4. Devin Smith
Jul 30, 2015; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Devin Smith (84) during first day of training camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
4. Devin Smith
So far in his transition from the college scene to the pros, things have not started the way Devin Smith wanted. The Jets’ second-round wide receiver from Ohio State has been sidelined for weeks with broken ribs and a punctured lung. Smith is expected back Week 1 for the Jets, and if that is the case, they are getting back a very promising young player. Smith has the ability to take the top off the defense with his ability to get behind the secondary and make big plays, especially in the clutch.
Next: 3. Chris Owusu
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’t make the stop in the first quarter at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports
3. Chris Owusu
After having himself a terrific game to end the season against the Miami Dolphins last year, Owusu picked up right where he left off with him having a tremendous start to training camp. Unfortunately, Owusu sustained a concussion in practice last week and has been sidelined since. Once he returns, Owusu provides good depth for the Jets at the wide receiver spot. It’s important since one never knows if an injury or a decline in play can hit any of the Jets’ starting receivers. Owusu provides quality depth and much more every single time he’s in the lineup.
Next: 2. Quincy Enunwa
Aug 4, 2014; Cortland, NY, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (left) runs with the ball after a catch in front of defensive back Rontez Miles (45) during training camp at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
With Smith out with injury, this off season so far, Enunwa has seen some time with the starters, a good sign that the former 6th round pick out of Nebraska will make the final roster. Coach Todd Bowles has said he wanted to see Enunwa’s blocking ability, which is crucial for every wide receiver. Enunwa is a very physical receiver who may stick on the roster due to his blocking ability as well as his solid play on special teams.
Next: 1. 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
1. Shaq Evans
I was going back and forth between Walt Powell and Evans here for the final receiver spot but Evans gets the advantage. I would not be shocked at all to see Powell stick due to his special teams ability but I feel the team wants to see more from Evans and will not take the chance of him catching on with another team. The former 4th round pick out of UCLA has shown flashes of being a great receiver in camp but he also has had a case of the drops. The next few preseason games are going to be very important for Evans which in the end, he should prove his worth and make the final roster.
As a whole, the Jets have a strong wide receiver group. This is a position to keep a close eye on in the next few preseason games since everyone will do their best to shine and carry that momentum into the regular season.