Our roundup of the Jets' roster and their standing on said roster continues with a player who should and will obviously be back. Young, cheap, and quality are good adjectives for any player. They describe too few players on the roster, but Jeremy Kerley is one of them. He followed up a good finish to 2011 by showing he belongs in the NFL. During stretches where Santonio Holmes and Dustin Keller were out, Kerley was probably the only NFL caliber receiving threat on the roster.
With 56 catches for 827 yards and 5 touchdowns, he was the closest thing resembling a weapon on the offense. Due to his smallness and shiftiness, he is best suited inside at the slot. His numbers were likely inflated by the lack of other weapons on the roster. You probably will not see Kerley exceed them. He is at least a capable target who belongs in the mix. He actually showed a degree of explosiveness with the ball in his hands.
There are two blemishes in Kerley's game. The first was the four fumbles he had this year. That is entirely too many. The second was his record number of fair catches as a punt returner. The fair catches stem from the fumbles. It felt like after a muff against the Steelers Week 2, he was told to fair catch everything unless he had a wide open field in front of him and even then. His 68 yard touchdown return in the opener against the Bills was his lone highlight. Kerley either needs to learn when to fair catch and when not to, or the Jets need to find a new punt returner.
Kerley will be back. The question is what his role will be. I see him as a slot receiver, not somebody on the outside. I also see him off punt returns.