NY Jets: Michael Pittman Jr. might not be an option for Gang Green
By Justin Fried
The NY Jets will likely be looking to target a wide receiver on Day 2 of the 2020 NFL Draft. But USC’s Michael Pittman Jr. might not make it that far.
The NY Jets will enter the 2020 NFL Draft looking for wide receiver help and it’s likely we see the team address the need on the second day of the draft.
While there’s been talk of the team selecting one with their first pick in Round 1, the overwhelming likelihood is that they draft an offensive lineman with that pick. That would leave the team no choice but to address the position in the second and/or third rounds.
And if that’s the case, USC Michael Pittman Jr. has been one of the names most often connected to the Jets at that spot.
Pittman excelled at USC earning first-team All-Pac 12 honors for his standout 2019 season. The Trojans named him the team MVP after he hauled in a team-leading 101 receptions for 1,275 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Most analysts have projected the physical Pittman as an early Day 2 selection in the months leading up to the draft. And with the Jets picking at No. 48 overall — in the middle of the second round — the hope was that he’d be on the board by the time that pick rolled around.
Now that’s not looking so likely.
Pittman’s stock has reportedly been on the rise with some even declaring him a first-round talent. In a normal year, Pittman would likely be a lock for the back-end of the first round.
But given the unusual depth in this year’s wide receiver class, Pittman could still fall to Day 2. But expecting him to fall all the way to No. 48 might be wishful thinking.
The Draft Network’s Jordan Reid had the following to say about the rising star wideout.
“Lots of love out there for USC WR Michael Pittman, Jr. Wherever he’s slotted in your rankings, push him up. Glowing reviews for him all-around. Football DNA, multi-time special teams player of year, and only getting better.”
That sure doesn’t sound like a player who’s going to be selected in the middle of the second round.
Pittman is a physically dominant receiver who has excellent body control, hands, and ball-tracking skills. He projects as a plug-and-play starting X receiver with the ability to be a very good starter if he could improve upon his release and technique.
But given his hands and catch radius, it’s easy to see why teams are so high on him.
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The Jets would love to add a player like Pittman who could fill the massive hole at receiver right out of the gate. With only one starting spot locked down in the slot with Jamison Crowder, the Jets need all the help they could get on the boundary.
Pittman could be an ideal complement to the flashy Breshad Perriman who works more as a downfield deep threat. Pittman, who is a very capable downfield receiver in his own right, can work more as an underneath, possession receiver.
Not to mention his special teams prowess that helped him earn second-team All-Pac 12 for his work as a gunner.
The Jets would love for Pittman to fall to their No. 48 overall selection, but it’s looking more and more likely that they’ll have to either trade up or go in a different direction if they want to land him.
The secret’s out — Michael Pittman Jr. is the real deal.