Jets Early Roster Preview: Wide Receivers
By James Cunningham
The Jets’ receivers are young and hungry, and several of them are poised for a breakout season.
The New York Jets made minor renovations to their receiving core this offseason. They kept their top two as is, giving Robby Anderson and Quincy Enunwa another year as Sam Darnold’s top weapons.
The Jets’ receiving group had a decent 2018, reeling in 150 passes on 277 targets. Their catch percentage of 54% is lackluster, but given the circumstances of having a rookie quarterback, it’s an acceptable number. They averaged 10 yards per reception as a group, which is a solid number.
Many believed the Jets should’ve tried to trade for a star wide receiver this offseason, but they opted to stick with their group for the most part. They did make a change at slot receiver, letting Jermaine Kearse walk in free agency and adding Jamison Crowder to the team.
The Jets made signing Crowder a priority this offseason, reeling him in on the first day of free agency. The Jets were quick to replace Kearse, who had a lackluster 2018. After a strong 2017, his production dropped drastically. Towards the end of the season, it was clear he had given up on the team. It was time to make a change, and the Jets did just that.
Crowder may turn out to be a steal of a signing. Before his injury-riddled 2018, he was one of the most productive slot receivers in the league. He has a career average Y/R of 11.9, which is superb for a slot receiver. He also has a great catch percentage of 67.2%. Only Adam Thielen, Tyreek Hill, Doug Baldwin, and Keenan Allen have matched those numbers since 2015.
Crowder’s production hit a slight decline in 2018 due to injuries. He did recover and play the last four games of the season, so the Jets hope he can fully recover this season and go back to being one of the top slot receivers in football.
Other than adding Crowder, the Jets remained quiet at the wide receiver position over the offseason. They added Josh Bellamy in free agency, whose role will likely fall mostly on special teams. They didn’t draft any receivers, but they added to UDFA receivers: Greg Dortch and Jeff Smith. Dortch has been noted as one of the teams’ best UDFA signings of 2019.
Sam Darnold’s in position to make a big jump in 2019. If he does indeed make the leap, so will the Jets’ receivers. This group can turn into one of the better receiving tandems in football if all of the pieces come together. Anderson, Enunwa, and Crowder are all 27 or younger, and all three of them have the potential to breakout in 2019 with the Jets.