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Patience Is Needed With Jets Rookie Wide Receiver Devin Smith

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This wasn't how it was supposed to go, however it was always how it was likely to go.

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Being a rookie wide receiver isn't easy in the NFL, regardless of how easy players like Amari Cooper make it look. The difference between a polished receiver selected in the top 5, and a raw receiver selected in the 2nd round is gargantuan He's not raw like Stephen Hill, not even close. There are different kinds of raw. Stephen Hill had speed, and little else. Devin Smith has speed, and a lot of other positive attributes.

However, Devin Smith played just two snaps in the Jets 28-23 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, and when asked about that, Bowles explained that Devin was getting himself back together:

He didn't take many reps during that week with the first (or) second team. He was just running routes and getting himself back together. He'll be a little more involved this week.

The lights shine bright in New York and expectations are high. He was expected to be that deep threat that cleared a lot of room underneath for Marshall and Decker to work. He wasn't expected to catch a lot of balls, but the odd deep pass wasn't out of the question.The Jets have actually targeted Smith deep on 8 occasions, and by deep I mean 20 yards or more down field, he failed to catch any of them.

However after missing significant time in the off-season and missing time due to a number of nagging injuries during the season, it's not surprising to see him take a step back. Learn the intricacies of the position, learn to run the route tree and add dimensions to his game. He can track the deep ball with the best of them

Devin has been targeted 16 times and he's caught 6 of the passes for 60 yards, with a long of 16. He's hasn't been credited with a single drop in the 16 passes that have come his way, however two of them have been intercepted and an argument could be made that he should have fought for those balls a little more.

He';s gained only 7 yards after the catch and has yet to score a touchdown. All of these numbers are disappointing, there is no way to avoid that, but it's early in his career and he needs time to develop. Bowles has made the right call to have him take a step back from the light, putting more emphasis on his long term development.

Snap counts

Week Snap Counts
1 0 Snaps (Not Active)
2 0 Snaps (Not Active)
3 63 snaps (83%)
4 55 Snaps (71%)
6 16 Snaps (24%)
7 17 Snaps (24%)
8 0 Snaps (Not Active)
9 2 Snaps (3%)

Did we expect too much from him too soon? Possibly.Most draft experts considered him to be a little raw in his routes. Great speed, great ability to track the ball, but he'd need to work on his patience and getting off the line against physical corners. You can work on this and you can improve on this, but it's hard to do in-season. Especially when you miss significant chunks of the off-season.

Devin has a lot of talent and I have no doubt he'll improve. However right now he needs to step back from the game and just concentrate on refining his skill-set, so when his number is called he's ready to produce.

I don't think we should be down on Smith or the selection, some players just take longer to make an impact at the pro-level. I wouldn't expect his snaps to go over 20 again the rest of the way, unless he shows significant improvement, or the Jets are hit with an injury crisis.