The NY Jets may be looking to add a wide receiver or two on Day 2 of the 2020 NFL Draft. Here are three prospects the team will likely be eyeing.
The NY Jets went into this offseason looking for plenty of help on the offensive side of the ball. And while free agency was always going to be a valuable tool, the real bulk of the rebuild will come in the 2020 NFL Draft.
The Jets did a decent job of addressing the offensive line in free agency, but that position still remains the team’s biggest priority going into the draft. As such, the Jets are widely expected to select an offensive lineman with their first-round selection.
But offensive line isn’t their only pressing need.
The Jets still have a major hole at wide receiver that was made even more significant with Robby Anderson‘s departure. Signing Breshad Perriman helps, but the roster still has a sizable hole at that spot.
Quincy Enunwa still isn’t medically cleared, Perriman has never been a true starter, and the likes of Vyncint Smith and Braxton Berrios aren’t going to cut it. Jamison Crowder is a reliable slot receiver, but the Jets don’t really have a starting outside receiver they could count on.
The 2020 NFL Draft will be key in acquiring young receivers who could play a significant number of snaps early on. While the first round may not be as likely, the Jets could use one or more of their three Day 2 picks to land those players.
With that, let’s take a look at three Day 2 receivers the Jets could feasibly target.
Next: 3. Van Jefferson
3. Van Jefferson
The connection between the Jets and Van Jefferson makes perfect sense. The Florida product is the son of former NFL wide receiver and current Jets receivers coach Shawn Jefferson and the father and son could reunite come April.
Jefferson has his deficiencies as a prospect but you’d be hard-pressed to find a more technically-refined receiver prospect in this year’s class. And given how incredible this receiver class is, that’s saying a lot.
The 23-year-old is an advanced route-runner, more so than many at the NFL level, and his nuanced technique allows for quick releases and easy separation.
On top of that, his soft hands don’t leave room for many drops and it’s not as if he’s limited with the ball in his hands either. While not the best athlete, Jefferson is a smooth runner and is a very solid run-after-the-catch receiver.
However, his limitations are clear.
Jefferson will be 24-years-old in July and he has had some recent injury concerns. On top of that, he’s likely never going to be a No. 1 receiver as he just doesn’t have the physical traits to excel at a high level.
But Jefferson is as savvy as they come and his superb route-running should allow him to have a long pro career. Some feel he’s best as a slot receiver but his release and quick hand fighting at the line of scrimmage allow him to play either in the slot or on the outside.
He will need to get a little stronger and become more physical against press coverage, but his route-running and after-the-catch ability make him an excellent fit in Adam Gase’s West Coast offense.
Expect him to be more of a Round 3 option with one of the Jets’ two third-round picks.
Next: 2. Denzel Mims
2. Denzel Mims
Looking for your Robby Anderson deep-threat replacement? Look no further than Denzel Mims.
Now, those expecting a Robby Anderson clone might be mistaken. Mims has a slightly different skill set and a higher ceiling. But the similarities are evident.
Mims is a long-strider who ran a blazing 4.38 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. And at 6-foot-3, 206 pounds, the Baylor product has the size, speed, and athleticism combo that scouts drool over.
The 22-year-old excels as a contested-catch monster and his catch radius is better than most in this draft. A dominant vertical threat, Mims has an uncanny ability to track the ball and high-point it in the air making him a dangerous downfield threat.
But Mims is stronger than Anderson and his 206-pound frame allows him to win more one-on-one balls and be a serious red-zone threat. Moreover, Mims has strong hands and a tough, physical attitude that makes it very difficult to rip the ball out of his grasp.
However, any team that drafts him must be aware of the associated risks.
Mims isn’t the most refined route-runner and he ran a very limited route tree while at Baylor. His ability to make plays after the catch isn’t his strong suit and sometimes he has trouble with consistent production.
But the sky is the limit for Mims to be a Pro-Bowl caliber outside receiver at the NFL level. If he reaches his ceiling, he could be a faster version of Kenny Golladay.
But be wary of the bust factor here — by no means is he a sure thing.
An excellent showing at the NFL Combine likely catapulted him into Round 2 meaning the Jets will likely have to snag him with their second-round pick if they want to have a chance.
Next: 1. Michael Pittman Jr.
1. Michael Pittman Jr.
Van Jefferson isn’t the only receiver prospect in this year’s class who, if drafted by the Jets, could make for a reunion. USC receiver Michael Pittman Jr. played for the Trojans with current Jets quarterback Sam Darnold during his first two years of college.
Now, he has the chance to reunite with his former quarterback in the pros.
Pittman is the son of former NFL running back Michael Pittman Sr. who played for a decade in the NFL — primarily with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His son, however, is a very different type of player.
The 22-year-old is a big-bodied, physical receiver who excels in contested-catch situations. He uses his massive 6-foot-4, 219-pound frame to box out defensive backs, shield away defenders’ hands, and high-point balls to make the catch.
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He isn’t the most proficient route-runner, but he’s physical at the release point and has shown the ability to beat press coverage regularly. Pittman can also make plays after the catch with his physical nature and strong legs.
That said, Pittman is far from a complete receiver at this stage.
He lacks the speed or nuanced route-running to separate regularly which could become an issue at the NFL level. In college, he was able to make up for that with his contested-catch ability, but that doesn’t always hold up in the pros.
Still, he fits the mold of a prototypical “X” receiver who could win battles with his physicality and high-pointing ability. That alone should allow him to find success in the NFL even if he never develops into an All-Pro.
The Jets need starters on the outside and Pittman could step in on Day 1 and be their starting “X” receiver who could make quite the red-zone target for Darnold.
Pittman is likely a fringe Round 2 prospect at the moment, but the Jets might be able to snag him with their first of two third-round picks.
A USC reunion is possible and the Jets should have the ability to make it happen.