In the 2017 NFL draft the Jets drafted two safeties, Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye, back to back in the first and second rounds. The back to back safeties surprised a lot of people, but the Jets weren’t done there. In the third and fourth rounds the Jets again went back to back, selecting wide receivers ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen.
With little behind Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson at wide receiver it was expected that Stewart and Hansen would both get their chances to earn substantial playing time as rookies. When Enunwa went down with a neck injury for the year it began to look like the two rookie receivers were destined to take prominent roles in the 2017 Jets revamped passing attack. Then the Jets traded for Jermaine Kearse and signed Jeremy Kerley, and the two rookies were reduced to afterthoughts in the offense.
While both rookie receivers have struggled to make their marks in 2017, Stewart at least has made some plays and registered some statistics. Chad Hansen, on the other hand, has been the Invisible Man.
Chad Hansen has played 75 offensive snaps for the Jets, or the equivalent of approximately one and a half games if he were a starting receiver. In all those snaps Hansen has zero receptions. And he has zero targets. He has been entirely invisible. To put those numbers in perspective, 286 pound fullback Lawrence Thomas has played 63 offensive snaps and managed 4 receptions on 4 targets. Fellow rookie receiver ArDarius Stewart has played 110 snaps and has been targeted 8 times with 4 receptions. Will Tye had 101 snaps, 6 targets and 4 receptions while he was a Jet. Neal Sterling and Charone Peake each have less than 30 snaps, yet each has managed one reception.
These are, for the most part, fringe players. Yet each has managed to produce something, and those with similar snap counts to Hansen have managed to produce multiple somethings. And then there’s Chad Hansen. He has produced nothing at all. It’s not like he’s been brought in for his blocking and isn’t expected to contribute in the passing game. This is a player whose only substantial contribution can come in catching the football, and he hasn’t even been targeted. This is an odd thing.
On Sunday Hansen will be thrust into a major role in the Jets passing offense. With Jeremy Kerley suspended and ArDarius Stewart injured Hansen becomes the team’s third wide receiver. In that role he no longer has the luxury of remaining invisible. The Invisible Man has an opportunity to begin to stake his claim to more playing time in this league. Whether he does so depends largely on whether he can find an invisibility antidote on Sunday.