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Who Will Comprise the New York Jets Receiving Corps?

Rich Schultz

Earlier, we discussed the members of the New York Jets secondary. One of the other main position groups that will undergo an intense training camp competition are the wide receivers. Last year, the team had five receivers on the roster to end the season, and the team seems to fluctuate between five and six. There are currently eleven receivers on the roster:

Wide Receivers
Eric Decker
Jeremy Kerley
Stephen Hill
David Nelson
Jacoby Ford
Jalen Saunders
Shaq Evans
Quincy Enunwa
Clyde Gates
Saalim Hakim
Greg Salas
Michael Campbell

Currently, Decker and Kerley are locked in as starters, leaving three-to-four open spots on the roster. It's extremely likely that Saunders will stick, even if he's mostly playing punt returner, although I believe they'll use him situationally his rookie year. That leaves roughly three open spots. If I had to guess, Hill will have a good training camp and they'll give him one more year to develop. I think Evans will prove to be too promising to risk cutting and trying to put on the practice squad. Lastly, I think they'll keep Ford as another veteran backup and as a kick returner. It seems likely they'll cut Enunwa and stash him on the practice squad, and part with the rest.

The major person I left off the list is Nelson. I think he'll be competing largely for Hill's spot, but here's the thing with Nelson... we know who he is, and he's a career backup. I think most fans tend to inflate their opinion of Nelson because of his off-the-field activities in donating so much to Haiti, and that's obviously a wonderful thing. But I do think it subconsciously affects people's perceptions so that their desire to cheer for him as a person influences what they think of him as a player. As a result, I think many fans think more highly of Nelson than the team or any other player/organization does. Along those lines, Nelson played decent football down the stretch last season. However with few other threats (when guys like Hakim and Salas are getting snaps, you know you're in trouble), it was almost impossible for him to not look good. Since Nelson has just one year left on his contract (although many think he signed a two-year extension for whatever reason, his initial deal was for the reported two-years), it won't be burdensome to cut him at all.

Now, of course, if Hill doesn't show any development, then they should probably go with Nelson over him. If it's close, you always go with the younger player with higher upside. While Hill is still developing at just 23 years old, we know what Nelson is at this point in his career, and he's reached his limit.

What do you think? What receivers will make it onto the final roster?