NY Jets’ wide receiver Vyncint Smith will look to carve out a role in the offense in 2020.
The likes of Breshad Perriman and Denzel Mims will join the returning Jamison Crowder to complete what looks to be an underwhelming trio of starters, but Smith is one returning player who’s being a little overlooked.
The Limestone College product, Smith was signed by the Jets off the Houston Texans practice squad in late September at the request of former teammate Demaryius Thomas.
Smith would go on to play sparingly with the Jets but did end up starting four games down the stretch due to multiple injuries at the position.
As one of the few receivers on the roster with any prior history playing alongside quarterback Sam Darnold, Smith could serve a valuable role as a depth receiver who might even see some reps as a starter if things go a certain way.
But what exactly does Smith need to do to ensure success in 2020? Let’s take a look.
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How Vyncint Smith can find success with the NY Jets in 2020
We’re not going to include a stats projection here — that’s primarily reserved for starters. However, Smith could be in-line to top his career-best numbers if he could stand out this season.
While not necessarily guaranteed a roster spot, Smith should likely be considered the favorite for the No. 4 wide receiver role behind the trio of Mims, Perriman, and Crowder.
His primary competition for that role will be former first-round pick Josh Doctson and punt returner/slot receiver Braxton Berrios. Doctson, however, is more of a direct competitor seeing as though Berrios strictly plays out of the slot.
Smith will need to outplay Doctson in the preseason and prove his worth as a dynamic, explosive playmaker. And that’s really where Smith should be able to find the most success.
The 24-year-old is one of the fastest players on the roster having run a 4.36 40-yard dash at his Pro Day back in 2016. And he could become a key part of a Jets offense that added plenty of speed in the offseason.
The Jets may have lost Robby Anderson in free agency, but the additions of Perriman and Mims will hopefully provide the Jets with all the deep speed that they need. And Smith could fill that role as well.
If he could continue to develop as a route-runner and polish his skills as a receiver, Smith could manage to carve out a role in the offense. He has plenty of raw talent, but there’s a reason he hasn’t ascended beyond the role of a depth receiver to this point.
He’s raw as a route-runner and hasn’t been able to show enough consistency when it comes to actually catching passes. His blend of speed and size (6-foot-3) is reminiscent of Mims, but the Baylor product remains a much more physical receiver.
Despite his size, Smith struggles against press coverage and often gets bodied off his route by opposing defenders. Working on getting more physical with his routes and stretching his hands are two things that could allow Smith to have more opportunities in 2020.
At the very least, Smith’s special-teams abilities (he returned 10 kicks in 2019) and his size/speed blend will give him plenty of looks early on. And if he could continue his development as a receiver, there’s no reason why he can’t become a key part of the offense in 2020.
In a very thin Jets receiver corps, look for Smith to do everything he can to break away from the pack.