A Reason to Pass on Jordan Shipley

I have been very critical of selecting of WR Jordan Shipley. I know we can all agree that WR will probably not be our first selection, but I'm still skeptical of selecting one in the first 2 rounds.

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With Jordan Shipley, you know what you are getting. You are getting a slot receiver. A guy who doesn't have the greatest size, but is a competitor Shipley doesn't have a potential to be a #1 WR. He is relatively older because of an injury and red shirt freshman season. Therefore, I'd make the argument at 24 years of age Shipley is more polished than the typical 22 or 23 year old receiver. He runs decent routes, though it's something that he will have to work on. He needs to be a little more crisp with his routes, and a little quicker. We all are comparing him to a Wes Welker clone.

Do I think he has potential to be an excellent slot receiver? I think he does. I won't lie or hide that point. I also think that he can't just succeed in any environment, and like virtually every other wide receiver he is not a sure thing. He needs to feel comfortable with his team, coaches, and his health. I realize he has an injury past but the guys major was Kinesiology, so I hope he has the understanding to take more preventative measures.

Will Jordan Shipley get 800-1000 yards his rookie season? Absolutely not. Whether that is with the Jets or a well oiled offensive machine, he will not attain that kind of yardage his rookie season. And if he were selected by the Jets, I would expect poor production his first season, and a steady incline for a few years, but until his rookie contract is expired he will not be the dynamic all pro slot receiver he is being billed to be. Here's why:

Doesn't matter if you like it or not, the Jets right now are still working Mark Sanchez into the system. I've argued that Sanchez not having a mentor is delaying his progression. I will stand by that statement. Matt Cavanaugh doesn't have the greatest record when it comes to developing QBs, and Brian Schottenheimer is still learning too. Mark Sanchez is in a territory where there aren't a lot of similar players. There aren't many QBs in this league who missed their senior season and only had 16 college starts. So I'm looking at other recent QBs, most of whom were more polished than Sanchez and see what kind of progression they had, what similarities they had, and may be what we can expect from Sanchez.

Most notably the 2 sophomore QBs are Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco. The '08 Falcons ran it for 2443 yards on 560 carries. The Ravens ran 592 times for 2376 yards. By Comparison our Jets ran 607 times for 2756 yards. Atlanta threw 434 times and Baltimore 433. Matt Ryan had a tremendous rookie season and the Atlanta passing game was good for 14th in the league while Baltimore struggled a little bit and ranked 28th with 2808 yards. The Jets passed significantly less than both teams totaling for 393 attempts and 31st in yardage with 2380. Baltimore's strategy in the 2009 was based around defense. First round pick Michael Oher was the only offensive player taken in the first 4 rounds. [I'd like to point out that our starting offensive line is very good in pass protection and overall is the best in the league at what they do] Baltimore in 2009 jumped from the 28th best passing game to 18th. Additions on offense? Michael Oher. The development of Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, and the health of others. Baltimore didn't panic and draft another rookie WR relatively high. Flacco got more comfortable throwing to Derrick Mason, Mark Clayton, Todd Heap, and more importantly Ray Rice. He was better at reading defenses. Reading defenses and preparing for each game was really all Joe Flacco was focusing on - not working with a rookie WR. Kelley Washington can hardly be considered a rookie. As I look Derrick Mason was obviously Flacco's go to guy: 73 receptions for 1028 yards. Mark Clayton and Kelley Washington the #2 and #3 receivers both had 34 receptions each combining for 911 yards. Todd Heap the TE had 53 for 593.

There are many similarities I see on the Jets. We have a very sure handed Jericho Cotchery who is capable of 1000 yard receiving seasons. With a rookie QB he had 821 yards receiving, and under Pennington/Clemens in 07 he had over 1100 yards. We have Braylon Edwards, a legit deep threat who drops a few. He was on pace for 721 yards receiving as a Jet. Dustin Keller didn't have the statistical season that we were hoping but his numbers too very comparable to Heap at 522 yards (this with a rookie QB.) I also felt they had more chemistry as the year progressed. John B had an article about Dustin Keller,

in which he was projected to have over 90 receptions and over 1000 yards. With a rookie QB that was a little optimistic, but I think certainly we can expect that from Keller as a go to guy and I think those numbers are obtainable in the next season or two. Joe Flacco's other go to guy was to Ray Rice. Rice who had over 700 yards is a receiving threat out of backfield. Leon Washington is our answer. Leon has some question marks but I think he will return to form. Leon is a more than capable receiver and when he has space is as dangerous as they come. I don't find it unrealistic that Leon could see 350-400 yards receiving this season. Our #3 Receivers, Smith and Stuckey combined for an approximate 200 yards.

Here's my observation. The Jets and Baltimore receiver corps do line up respectively. Our slot guys Smith and Clowney combined for This past season our production at TE was very close. I suggest we will see more production from Keller next season. Our current top 3 WRs actually around 1750 total yards all things considered. Then you consider that with a seasoned QB at the helm that they have the potential to be a couple 1000 yard receivers themselves.

Take a look at their numbers too.

Joe Flacco: 

08   257 for 428 which is 60%         2971 yards     14 TDs 12 INT      6.9 AVG

09   315 for 499 which is 63.1%      3613 yards     21 TDs 12 INT      7.2 AVG

Mark Sanchez:

09   196 for 364 which is 53.8%      2444 yards     12 TDs 20 INT     6.7 AVG

Now lets not forget Flacco had more college experience and a bit more maturity at the position. But as I'm looking at those stats, you know that Sanchez has to progress. Flacco jumped nearly 650 yards, improved by +7 in the TD:INT.

For '10 I don't think its unreasonable to project Sanchez at 250 for 425 ~58.8% approximately 3000 yards, and hopefully about 15 TDs: 15 INTs. To me, that would be a very good natural progression as a QB. One reason I suggest bringing in a QB like Pennington is his ability to increase Sanchez's learning curve. The Ravens brought in Kelly Washington as the only real new face on their offense. Hardly a highly sought player, but an effective player non-the-less. I think the Jets do not need Shipley to add to Sanchez's natural progression.

That last line can be taken two ways: he's progressing with or without Shipley or Shipley can still add value and could aid Sanchez progression. My theory is this: Shipley will not have a significant impact on Sanchez's development this season. I agree if he is drafted, he could very well get between 25-35 receptions and 250-300 yards. But is that the kind of production worthy of a 2nd round draft choice? The argument as been made that he is a future all pro- one of the best slot receivers. That may be fine, but a 2nd round pick is signed for 4 years or so. Years 1, 2, and 3 will still be marked by Sanchez's improvement and a developing offensive scheme.  Year 1 Shipley will be a part time option #5 with Edwards, Cotchery, Keller, and Washington all familiar Sanchez targets. All but Edwards are capable of making the catch, and all and dangerous. Cotchery should be named clutchery, and Keller is turning into a more reliable receiver (In fact I'd argue that this season he really works on his hands and routes. Last season he trained really hard to be an adequate run blocker and did make some progression). This same year one is one that uses the I, weak, and strong formations involving Greene or Washington, Richardson, Keller, Cotchery, and Edwards. I don't see Shipley being involved in those schemes unless an injury occurs. A 3 WR formation may be worked in a little, usually on third and passing downs, but still between Sanchez's abilities, and personnel, you won't see anything close to a 800-1000 yard season. Year 1 as a starter Wes Welker had 29 receptions for 434 yards.

Year 2 could be the year Tony Richardson may call it quits. Could be Year 3, its tough to judge, but these will be the years that Sanchez is going to have to pick up his game and have a year close to that of Joe Flacco last season. That could be the year when Shipley could see 50 receptions as a slot guy maybe 500-600 yards. I got that total by estimating our 1st and 2nd WRs, TE contributions relative to the Ravens team and subtracting the difference that of 300 yards Ray Rice would have over Leon in a given season and adding it to the 250 or so I expect from Shipley year 1. Complicated, I know. But if it was easy, everyone could make predictions for themselves and there'd be no fun in things such as fantasy sports. Essentially the 250 yards I project Shipley to have rookie season as a slot receiver plus the difference that Ray Rice has over Leon Washington is where I got my range.

By Year 4, his final of the rookie season is when the Jets may finally evolve to a pass oriented offense behind a developed Mark Sanchez running 3 and WR sets very frequently. Still I think 4000 yards is questionable from Sanchez, the #1 receiver would ideally have 1000, Cotchery or the #2 would have about that too. Keller becomes the 1000 yard TE the Jets envisioned and Shipley the slot could may be get 800 yards.

By suggestion is to use the two picks on defense that we have. The most recent GGN draft had us trading our 2011 1st rounder for an early 2nd and 4th. I don't see KC doing that only because of their numerous holes, but a good thought. Ideally Graham, Odrick, or Hughes in that order is a Jet, and a corner second again ideally McCourty or Cox. I posted a mock in which I took McCourty one only because I traded down to get more picks, and Odrick and Graham would surely be gone and most likely Hughes. I took Cam Thomas which wasn't too popular but I think outside of Odrick he would fill a need on that DL and great options. Can you even imagine having Jenkins and Thomas lined up to penetrate the B and C gaps (between the G - C and C- G) Yes, I'm suggesting a 2-4-5 or 2-5-4 3rd down formation to blitz with. Also Jenkins concerns me and he Thomas or Pouha could be used on an end. And to briefly touch on why I had a TE, once Richardson is gone I think we could use a lot more double TE single back formations. I'd like to have a TE who can do more than run block and get flagged.

But anyways that's my argument to go other need or even trade down with that second pick. I hope I've at the very least opened your eyes about expected production versus what a player can be capable of in the right system.

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