Draft

Jets Draft 2019: In-depth analysis of the wide receivers

TEMPE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 01: Wide receiver N'Keal Harry #1 of the Arizona State Sun Devils runs the ball for a 31 yard touchdown against the UTSA Roadrunners in the second half at Sun Devil Stadium on September 1, 2018 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
TEMPE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 01: Wide receiver N'Keal Harry #1 of the Arizona State Sun Devils runs the ball for a 31 yard touchdown against the UTSA Roadrunners in the second half at Sun Devil Stadium on September 1, 2018 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
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TEMPE, AZ – SEPTEMBER 01: Wide receiver N’Keal Harry #1 of the Arizona State Sun Devils runs the ball for a 31-yard touchdown against the UTSA Roadrunners in the second half at Sun Devil Stadium on September 1, 2018, in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
TEMPE, AZ – SEPTEMBER 01: Wide receiver N’Keal Harry #1 of the Arizona State Sun Devils runs the ball for a 31-yard touchdown against the UTSA Roadrunners in the second half at Sun Devil Stadium on September 1, 2018, in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)

Welcome to Part One in a series analyzing positional talent for April’s 2019 NFL Draft. Gang Green must address numerous concerns, starting with a dearth of wide receiver talent.

One surefire way the New York Jets can help Sam Darnold become their first franchise QB since the glory days of Broadway Joe is to acquire him some top-flight receivers.  The in-season re-signing of Quincy Enunwa was a nice start, but there’s plenty of work to go.

First, general manager Mike Maccagnan must decide the fates of wide receivers Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse.  Expect a second-round tender for the frustrating Anderson and free agency to be granted to Kearse, the victim of inept game management by Jeremy Bates — who should never get rehired to another pro offensive coordinator position.

There are a number of options in free agency, but are Golden Tate or Randall Cobb really the answer for a No. 1 receiver?  Perhaps the best moves would be to retain Andre Roberts, develop Deontay Burnett, sign lower-tier overachievers such as Geronimo Allison and Cole Beasley, and/or take a flyer on rejects like Martavis Bryant or Kevin White.

Below is a detailed analysis of this year’s bumper-crop of wide receivers in this year’s NFL Draft. The list is broken up in terms of Day 1, Day 2 or Day 3 talents, priority college free agents, and small college dreamers.

Two years ago, “Trader Mike” whiffed badly, wasting mid-round selections on NFL washouts Chad Hansen and ArDarius Stewart.  This year, there are no excuses.

STARKVILLE, MS – NOVEMBER 23: D.K. Metcalf #14 of the Mississippi Rebels catches a pass as Lashard Durr #25 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs tries to defend during the second half of an NCAA football game at Davis Wade Stadium on November 23, 2017, in Starkville, Mississippi. (Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images)
STARKVILLE, MS – NOVEMBER 23: D.K. Metcalf #14 of the Mississippi Rebels catches a pass as Lashard Durr #25 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs tries to defend during the second half of an NCAA football game at Davis Wade Stadium on November 23, 2017, in Starkville, Mississippi. (Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images)

Day 1 Wide Receivers

N’Keal Harry, Arizona State — Sun Devil speed-demon goes pro after two straight 1,000-yard seasons. He can quickly become a scary red-zone threat.

D.K. Metcalf, Mississippi — Scouts voice concerns over dropped passes and iffy footwork. But here is a physical baller with plug-in-and-play talent.

A.J. Brown, Mississippi — Unlike his Dez Bryant-style Old Miss teammate, Brown is a heady slot flanker with the ability to battle the league’s elite CBs.

Kelvin Harmon, NC State — Ryan Finley’s primary target (an ACC-leading 177 catches in two seasons) possesses all the tangibles to be a No. 1 receiver.

Marquise Brown, Oklahoma — Analysts project the speedy Sooner as the next Tyreek Hill.  Those who waver about his height miss the larger picture.

Next: Day 2 Targets

COLUMBIA, MO – SEPTEMBER 9: Deebo Samuel #1 of the South Carolina Gamecocks returns a kick for a 97-yard touchdown against the Missouri Tigers in the second quarter at Memorial Stadium on September 9, 2017 in Columbia, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, MO – SEPTEMBER 9: Deebo Samuel #1 of the South Carolina Gamecocks returns a kick for a 97-yard touchdown against the Missouri Tigers in the second quarter at Memorial Stadium on September 9, 2017 in Columbia, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

Day 2 Wide Receivers

Deebo Samuel, South Carolina — Despite injuries and poor QB play, Deebo played tough and smart in the slot. Might be off the board Day 1.

J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Stanford — An explosive big-framed flanker who did it all in the Pac-12 and is ready for the big time. A game changer.

Emanuel Hall, Missouri — Sure the Mizzou flanker drops some passes, but he is big and fast and mentally tough. Could excel with Quincy Enunwa.

Hakeem Butler, Iowa State — Many insiders believe that this brutish 6’6″ underclassman will be the steal of the this year’s WR class. Worth the risk.

Andy Isabella, UMass — Perhaps this 5’8″ lightning-quick slot-man will fall to Day 3 due to his size. If so, meet the Pats’ next Julian Edelman.

Other Options:

Anthony Ratliff-Williams, UNC; Riley Ridley, Georgia; Jakobi Meyers, NC State; Parris Campbell, Ohio State; Antoine Wesley, Texas Tech

Next: Day 3 Targets

MORGANTOWN, WV – NOVEMBER 23: David Sills V #13 of the West Virginia Mountaineers catches a 10-yard touchdown pass in the first half against Robert Barnes #20 of the Oklahoma Sooners on November 23, 2018, at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
MORGANTOWN, WV – NOVEMBER 23: David Sills V #13 of the West Virginia Mountaineers catches a 10-yard touchdown pass in the first half against Robert Barnes #20 of the Oklahoma Sooners on November 23, 2018, at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Day 3 Wide Receivers

Anthony Johnson, Buffalo — The receiving leader of the MAC does nothing spectacular but performs solidly in all phases of the game. A pro’s pro.

More from The Jet Press

David Sills V, West Virginia — The Jets need a legit NFL slot WR;  Sills was once recruited at QB at age 13 by USC’s Lane Kiffin. The anti-Chad Hansen.

DaMarkus Lodge, Mississippi — While he may lack similar skill sets, this forgotten Rebel may become the elite pro of the vaunted Ole Miss stable.

Terry McLaurin, Ohio State — An NFL afterthought from a deep OSU WR corps before his monster Senior Bowl showing. Chippy in all the right ways.

Keelan Doss, UC-Davis — An impressive Oakland athlete who didn’t rank as a DI prospect. Now, this FCS All-American will likely excel at the pro level.

Other Options:  

Dillon Mitchell, Oregon; Steven Sims Jr., Kansas; Jeff Smith, Boston College; Stanley Morgan Jr., Nebraska; Terry Godwin, Georgia

Next: Undrafted Targets

EVANSTON, IL – SEPTEMBER 29: Flynn Nagel #2 of the Northwestern Wildcats runs after a catch as Tyree Kinnel #23 of the Michigan Wolverines gives chase at Ryan Field on September 29, 2018 in Evanston, Illinois. Michigan defeated Northwestern 20-17. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
EVANSTON, IL – SEPTEMBER 29: Flynn Nagel #2 of the Northwestern Wildcats runs after a catch as Tyree Kinnel #23 of the Michigan Wolverines gives chase at Ryan Field on September 29, 2018 in Evanston, Illinois. Michigan defeated Northwestern 20-17. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Priority FA Wide Receivers

Flynn Nagel, Northwestern — The Big 10’s leading receiver of 2019 isn’t very fast or physical. But he’s ideal for that NFL possession-offense role.

Trenton Irwin, Stanford — This Stanford product has been rated too slow for the pro game. But never discount a high-motor jock with an ax to grind.

Cody Thompson, Toledo — A bottom-of-the-roster talent with all the tools (a career 3,300 yards and 30 TDs) to contribute early on. A legitimate WR project.

Tyre Brady, Marshall — A menacing receiver who just needs to develop a blocking game. His red flag was flaming out of the University of Miami.

Xavier Ubosi, UAB — With good coaching, this Conference USA standout, star of this year’s Boca Raton Bowl, could develop into a top No. 2 receiver.

Other Options:

Terren Encalade, Tulane; Ryan Schadler, Kansas; Tyre McCants, South Florida; Papi White, Ohio; John Burt, Texas

Next: Small School Wonders

Small College Dreamers

Ashton Dulin, Malone — His Ohio evangelical college’s first NFL Combine invitee dominated January’s NFLPA Bowl. Teams salivate over the upside.

Emmanuel Butler, Northern Arizona — This crop’s most intriguing talent. Adam Gase would love his large frame, soft hands, and leadership abilities.

Brody Oliver, Colorado School of Mines — The FCS’ most refined receiver thrived at the Shrine Game. Don’t be surprised if he’s a Day 3 pick.

Jazz Ferguson, Northwestern State — The former five-star LSU signee, and brother of likely first-rounder Jaylon Ferguson, seems ready to explode.

Deonte Harris, Assumption — An undersized game-changer equally adept in the slot and as a return man. Check out his devastating DII highlight reel.

Next. Jets 7-Round Mock Draft Post-Super Bowl Edition

Other Options:

Charles Holland, Tiffin; Micah Wright, Maine; Kamron Lewis, St. Francis (NY); Chad Hovasse, Adams State; Jesper Horsted, Princeton

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