Santonio Holmes (1-A)
There are off field issues here, but these ratings deal primarily with work on the field. I think a lot of people do not appreciate how good Holmes really is. He is an extremely precise route runner, capable of creating a ton of space on underneath routes. He has the speed to stretch the field. He is an extremely intelligent receiver. Think of the AFC Championship Game. He caught a touchdown because he quickly recognized the Steelers had nobody deep when the man covering him fell down so he broke his route and went for the end zone. He is extremely clutch. Braylon Edwards gets a ton of credit for his blocking, but Holmes is also an effective blocker who gives effort. Nobody is better walking the tight rope on sideline catches. He drops too many passes, but he is still very productive. He became the best receiver on a team with a lot of talented pass catchers when he joined the Jets.
Braylon Edwards (2-B)
Edwards has all of the physical ability in the world. He has blazing speed and is an enormous target at receiver, which makes him an excellent deep threat. His short and intermediate route running is more suspect. Catching and running on slants are his primary contributions on non vertical routes. Edwards has been something of an underachiever in his career, but he also has had way below average quarterback play in all but two years of his career. He is a very good run blocker as well. He worked to eliminate drops from his game. There are off field issues like Holmes and some questions probably exist about how much of his 2010 production and focus eliminating drops might fall off when he is not playing for a new contract, but a team is in really good shape when he is the number two receiver.
Jerricho Cotchery (2-B)
Some are down on Cotchery because his production has fallen off the past two years, but I think it is important to put them into perspective. He was playing with an extremely inconsistent rookie quarterback in 2009 on a team that ran almost 6 out of every 10 plays. In 2011, he played hurt much of the year and saw his role decrease because of an influx of talent at his position. He never complained and came up huge in the Playoff game at New England. Cotchery does not blow you away with his size or speed, but he is as tough as they come, willing to fight for contested balls, and a very good route runner. He had too many drops in 2010, but he normally has good hands. He is still a more than adequate starter. A team is in really good shape when he is the number three receiver.
Brad Smith (3-E)
You might think this is too low. Think about this, though. Would you be happy with Brad Smith starting at wide receiver? He has not developed at all at his position. He is not a good route runner and has poor hands. Guys low on the depth chart are counted on to perform extra duties, like work on special teams. Smith might provide more of these extras than anybody in the game. He is an ace returner and very good on coverage units. He also provides the Jets a threat as a gadget guy on offense. Does this deserve a higher rating, though?
Jeremy Kerley (3-D)
The more I watch of him, the more optimistic I am. He looks like a quick, shifty guy who could find a home in the slot. He is dangerous in space. He also has experience as a return man and as a Wildcat quarterback, which makes him seem like a natural replacement for Smith.
Scotty McKnight (3-D)
McKnight faces an uphill climb to make the roster. He seems like a guy who gets more than his physical attributes would suggest. While only
5'7" 5'11" McKnight has very good hands and good vision as a route runner to find openings on the field. He also was very productive in college, registering at least one catch in every college game he played. To play in the NFL, a player needs a bare minimum of athletic ability. Can McKnight play up to his 4.5 timed speed? If so, his intangibles might help him stick as a slot guy.
Patrick Turner (4-F)
Some are high on him . I do not see it. I never understood why the Dolphins took him so high. I argued with a few Dolphins fans here about him. Miami gave up on him after one year, which is extraordinary for a third round pick. He's big, but that is not enough to be successful. A receiver needs to be able to create space in some way. Maybe that means having speed to get by defenders vertically. Maybe it means having lateral quickness. Maybe it means being able to outleap or outmuscle defenders. I have not seen any of this from Turner. I could be wrong. I hope I am. I just do not see any reason to get excited about him.
Logan Payne (4-F)
His path to the roster goes through Mike Westhoff. He probably cannot make it without being a special teams contributor.