The NY Jets have already met with their fair share of prospects ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft. We’ve only just reached March, but the Jets are clearly doing their due diligence.
By our count, the Jets have reportedly met with 17 prospects thus far, although the actual number is likely quite higher. Of those 17 prospects, the most common position has been running back with five reported visits.
That is, if you count UCLA’s Demetric Felton as a running back and not a wide receiver. In reality, he’s a little bit of both. But counting Felton as a running back, the second most frequent position the Jets have met with is wide receiver with four reported visits thus far.
The wide receiver position will be one of the greatest points of emphasis this offseason. The likes of Denzel Mims and Jamison Crowder are returning (Crowder could be a cap causality) giving the Jets a pair of starting-caliber receivers.
But it’s clear the position needs a major upgrade.
The 2021 NFL Draft represents a golden opportunity for the Jets to add extra depth to their receiving corps and hopefully find a long-term solution. Just as they hopefully did a year ago with the aforementioned Mims.
Free agency will also give the Jets an opportunity to bolster the position, but the draft is where the team could find the best value. And most of the names on this list are more mid-round targets than legitimate Day 1 options.
With that, let’s take a look at four wide receiver prospects the Jets have reportedly met with.
Next: 4. Anthony Schwartz
NY Jets Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports
4. NY Jets Draft Target: Anthony Schwartz, WR, Auburn
The Jets will be looking for a replacement for Breshad Perriman this offseason after the one-year experiment with the former first-round pick didn’t exactly work out.
And they could find that replacement in Auburn’s Anthony Schwartz. At least, in terms of his downfield speed.
Justin Melo of The Draft Network reports that the Jets are one of a handful of teams that have met with Schwartz thus far. The Auburn speedster is one of the fastest players in this class and could be Perriman’s replacement as the Jets’ Z-receiver.
Perhaps a better fit in the slot, Schwartz made a living on manufactured touches at Auburn regularly turning screens or short passes into massive gains with his electric playmaking ability.
But he also had success running downfield on vertical routes with his combination of blazing speed and underrated physicality. The former track star had the best year of his career in 2020 hauling in 54 catches for 636 yards and three touchdowns.
Schwartz is exactly the type of receiver the Jets should be looking for. They have their physical X-receiver in Mims. They have their dynamic slot receiver in Crowder.
Want your voice heard? Join the The Jet Press team!
Provided Schwartz improves his route-running and overall release, he could be their long-term answer at the Z-receiver position. His speed gives him home-run potential on any play and is exactly what the Jets need to keep defenses honest.
Right now, he’s probably more of a Day 3 prospect given his unrefined game. But Schwartz has the potential to be a late-round steal in the right offense.
Next: 3. Ihmir Smith-Marsette
3. NY Jets Draft Target: Ihmir Smith-Marsette, WR, Iowa
In a stacked wide receiver class, Ihmir Smith-Marsette is someone who is definitely going to fly under-the-radar. Just one look at his college numbers and it’s easy to see why.
Smith-Marsette only topped 400 yards in one season, his junior year in 2019 when he hauled in 44 catches for 722 yards and five touchdowns. An untimely ankle injury halted his senior season that was looking quite promising.
But ultimately, Smith-Marsette never reached his full potential in Iowa’s system that isn’t exactly conducive to passing success. Ali Ashraf has reported that the Jets have met with the Iowa wideout meaning that there could be interest on their end.
At 6-foot-2, 186 pounds, Smith-Marsette has an exciting blend of size and speed that gives him All-Pro potential at the NFL level. He’s a local New Jersey product who grew up less than a half-hour from MetLife Stadium in Newark.
Much like Schwartz, Smith-Marsette could fit that Z-receiver role the Jets are looking for. In fact, he’s probably a better natural fit for that role than his fellow draft-mate is.
While he’s pretty unanimously seen as a Day 3 prospect, he’s someone who stands a good chance at being a much better pro than collegiate player. If placed in the right offensive system, he could thrive.
Especially if he could be paired with actually competent quarterback play.
There are some off-field concerns including a November arrest for operating a vehicle while intoxicated that resulted in a one-game suspension, but there aren’t any reports of character concerns out there.
Smith-Marsette makes sense as a Day 3 flier with the hope that he could succeed in an offense with a more capable passing game.
Next: 2. Amari Rodgers
NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
2. NY Jets Draft Target: Amari Rodgers, WR, Clemson
Amari Rodgers is getting overlooked in a deep class of slot receivers, but make no mistake, some team is going to get quite the steal on Day 2 or 3.
A rare four-year receiver from Clemson, Rodgers saw his role increase over the years until he broke out with his best season in 2020. The 21-year-old hauled in 77 receptions for 1,020 yards and seven touchdowns in his senior campaign.
His performance helped him earn first-team All-ACC honors. But his lack of length and elite traits have made him fly somewhat under-the-radar.
At 5-foot-9, 211 pounds, Rodgers is built like a running back and his playstyle resembles that. Rodgers is as physical as they come after the catch using his combination of acceleration and vision to turn short catches into long gains.
Clemson got him his fair share of manufactured touches early in his career, but his role increased over time. And by his senior season, Rodgers was being used all over the field on vertical routes and even in the intermediate game.
His lack of length will limit his ceiling and he needs to do a better job of fighting for contested catches. Rodgers’ poor catch radius is a direct result of his short arms.
However, he’s a perfect fit as a featured slot receiver in the NFL with the potential to contribute on manufactured touches early in his career. And if he continues to diversify his route tree, there’s no reason he can’t become a long-term starting slot in the NFL.
Rodgers could be the successor to Jamison Crowder who is entering the last year of his contract. And at least according to Ali Ashraf, the Jets have looked into Rodgers ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Next: 1. Rondale Moore
NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports
1. NY Jets Draft Target: Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue
Rondale Moore promises to be one of the 2021 NFL Draft’s most polarizing prospects. If healthy, Moore has the potential to be one of the league’s most exciting offensive playmakers with game-breaking speed and athleticism.
However, he hasn’t been healthy in two years.
Moore has played just seven games over the past two seasons after a breakout freshman campaign that saw him finish with 114 receptions for 1,258 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also added 213 yards and two scores on the ground and 774 return yards.
He did all of that as a true freshman at Purdue of all places. Very quickly, Moore emerged as a household name around college football. Unfortunately, injuries would prevent him from repeating his success.
More from The Jet Press
- NY Jets land Zach Wilson and Kwity Paye in 3-round 2021 NFL Mock Draft
- NY Jets: Oregon CB Deommodore Lenoir talks NFL Draft in interview
- 3 hypothetical trades the NY Jets could make on draft night
- NY Jets: Kent State WR Isaiah McKoy talks NFL Draft in interview
- NY Jets: 3 tight ends to target in the 2021 NFL Draft
Moore is electric with the ball in his hands and is quite literally a do-it-all playmaker. He thrives on manufactured touches, running the ball out of the backfield, with the ball in his hands as a returner, and even as a downfield vertical receiver.
However, any team drafting him will be betting on seeing the same player we did back in 2018. Combine that with his label as a “playmaker” as opposed to a true receiver and some teams could be scared away.
But Moore showed in 2018 that he could be a legitimate NFL receiver. His production wasn’t solely on manufactured touches, and there appears to be plenty of untapped potential in that part of his game.
Moore has a chance to sneak into Round 1 consideration but will likely be among the dozen or so receivers that fall in that Day 2 range. The Jets, looking to add game-breaking talent to their offense, could take a chance on the uber-talented Moore.
And according to Justin Melo of The Draft Network, they are one of the teams that have met with him already. The interest is there, don’t be surprised if the Jets target Moore come late April.