NY Jets Post-NFL Draft State of the Roster: Wide receivers

NY Jets (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /

The NY Jets appear to have improved their roster heading into the 2020 season. Today we took a look at the state of the wide receiver position.

The NY Jets had one of the least inspiring wide receiver corps in 2019 and went into the offseason with a clear goal in mind — fix the position. And now after a full offseason of work, it’s clear that they’ve at least made some changes.

The Jets’ wide receiver room will look completely different in 2020 with few holdovers from the previous season. Top wideout Robby Anderson departed in free agency and he was joined by veteran Demaryius Thomas who remains unsigned.

This mass turnover will create opportunities for the new faces on the roster to carve out roles for themselves on offense. Be it with the team’s free-agent signings or their rookie additions, there will be no shortage of new talent on the roster.

With that, let’s take a look at the state of the Jets’ wide receiver position.

Projected starters:

  • Breshad Perriman
  • Denzel Mims (R)
  • Jamison Crowder (slot)

The only returning starter from 2019 will be slot receiver Jamison Crowder who paced all Jets players in catches (78), receiving yards (833), and receiving touchdowns (6).

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The Jets will be looking for a repeat performance from Crowder in 2020 and his established chemistry with quarterback Sam Darnold will go a long way towards allowing that to happen.

However, the team’s options on the outside are significantly less appealing.

Breshad Perriman was signed in the offseason to be Anderson’s pseudo-replacement, but the speedy deep threat doesn’t have much of a track record.

Injuries have hindered Perriman’s career to this point and the hope is that another healthy season — combined with a feature role in the offense — could allow the former first-round pick to have a career year in 2020.

Second-round rookie Denzel Mims will undoubtedly be the wild card of the group. Mims has sky-high potential but still remains unpolished as a route-runner which could limit his productivity early on.

But if Mims could come along quicker than expected, the Baylor product could be the saving grace of the Jets’ wide receiver corps.

Competing for a depth roster spot:

  • Vyncint Smith
  • Braxton Berrios
  • Josh Doctson
  • Jeff Smith
  • Lawrence Cager (R)
  • George Campbell (R)
  • Josh Malone
  • Jehu Chesson

Realistically, only three receivers will enter training camp with a guaranteed roster spot. The remaining seven players under contract will all be vying for the final three or so spots on the newly-expanded 55-man roster.

Four of those players suited up for at least one regular-season game with the Jets last year, and two of those players might have the best shot at securing a roster spot — Vyncint Smith and Braxton Berrios.

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Smith flashed in limited action last season and his speed could be a valuable asset on offense. Meanwhile, Berrios remains a solid backup to Crowder in the slot and an ultra-reliable punt returner.

The other two to play a game with the Jets in 2020 — Jeff Smith and Josh Malone — will likely face an uphill battle when it comes to making the final roster.

Undrafted rookies Lawrence Cager and George Campbell are both intriguing physical specimens in their own right. The big-bodied Cager was a key piece in Georgia’s offense last year before getting injured while Campbell is a former five-star recruit who ran into injury trouble in college.

Jets fans will undoubtedly also have their eyes on former first-round pick Josh Doctson who will look to salvage his NFL career after being booted from both Washington and Minnesota. Injuries and inconsistencies have plagued his career and this might be his final shot at redemption.

Finally, former fourth-round pick Jehu Chesson is a longshot to make the team, but the former Michigan star could force his way on to the roster with a strong showing in the preseason.

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The Jets wide receiver corps remains a huge question mark heading into 2020. But if one or two things could go their way, there’s no reason why the position shouldn’t be improved from last season.