As things stand right now in early April, the Jets’ roster consists of a whopping 17 wide receivers, enough to fill an entire NBA roster with two reserves left over.
I like the approach. Everyone has heard it said on a broadcast before: “it’s a passing league.” So, how could you go wrong putting out a whole basketball team of pass catchers out there? You will never be short on targets to throw to! For a franchise that seems on the brink of investing in a young franchise quarterback, what better way to ease him in than to give him a vast, war-ready arsenal of weapons?
OK, all kidding aside, we know this group is going to be whittled down eventually. There are a few near locks, such as Jermaine Kearse, Robby Anderson, and Quincy Enunwa, but who out of this mega-group could emerge as a surprise contributor?
Here are some of the best nuggets I could dig up from each of the Jets’ currently rostered pass catchers. Do keep in mind that it took some rigorous digging to excavate a few of these, and that small sample size alert is in full effect, but this is all about the positive angle!
Quincy Enunwa: Among the 58 WRs with at least 50 receptions in 2016, only 1 ranked in the top 10 of both yards per reception and YAC per reception, and that was Quincy Enunwa.
Robby Anderson: According to Pro Football Focus, Anderson ranked 5th in the league in passer rating when targeted on the go route. His 6 touchdowns of 20+ yards tied with DeAndre Hopkins for second in the league, behind Tyreek Hill (7).
Jermaine Kearse: Kearse caught 63.7% of his 102 targets in 2017. With that accomplishment, he joined Eric Decker (2014) and Brandon Marshall (2015) as the only Jets to post that catch efficiency at that volume since Jerricho Cotchery did it three times in a row from 2006-2008.
Terrelle Pryor: Pryor’s 1007 yard campaign in 2016 made him only the third Browns wide receiver to hit the four figure mark over the past eleven seasons, along with Braylon Edwards in 2007 and Josh Gordon in 2013.
Devin Smith: Smith led the Big Ten in yards per reception at Ohio State in his final season (28.2) and owns the fourth highest career yards per reception rate (20.7) in Big Ten history.
Chad Hansen: 7 of Hansen’s 9 receptions in 2017 went for first downs, a very impressive rate despite the minuscule sample size.
ArDarius Stewart: (Had to fish pretty deep for this one) Stewart had 27 rushing yards and 82 receiving yards in 2017; making him the 23rd Jets rookie to do that (Elijah McGuire did it as well). There are some solid names on the list, including Robby Anderson, Jeremy Kerley, Danny Woodhead, Leon Washington, Freeman McNeil, John Riggins, and Emerson Boozer. Glass half full!
Lucky Whitehead: Among the 24 returners with at least 15 kick returns in 2015, Whitehead ranked 5th in kick return average at over 28 yards per return.
Damore’ea Stringfellow: Stringfellow ranked 12th in the SEC with 15.6 yards per reception in his final season at Mississippi in 2016.
Andre Roberts: Roberts’ 71 kick returns are the most of any player over the last two seasons (see more on Roberts here)
Charles Johnson: Johnson made 60 receptions as a Viking from 2014-16, averaging 13.9 yards per catch. That ranks 48th of the 147 wide receivers with at least 60 receptions since 2014.
Teddy Bridgewater has four interceptions targeting Johnson, but has averaged robust numbers of 15.3 yards per completion and 8.6 yards per attempt when targeting him, on 69 looks from 2014-15.
Charone Peake: Peake’s 34” arms put him at the 95th percentile at the wide receiver position, according to mockdraftable.com.
Daniel Williams: Williams compiled 2,497 yards and 19 touchdowns at Jackson State, but saw his yardage and touchdown totals dwindle each season.
Tre McBride: The former Titan caught 8 balls in 2017, 6 of them for first downs. He averaged 18.0 yards per reception on those 8 catches; the 5th highest average among the 144 wide receivers with at least that many catches in 2017. His 9.60 yards per target also ranked 15th among that group of 144.
Jojo Natson: Firstly, I need to point out a negative stat for Natson that stood out so much it needed to be noted. He averaged 2.4 yards per return on his 16 punt returns in 2017. Minimum 15 returns, that’s the worst output in a season since Pierre Garcon in 2011, and one of only three returning campaigns with an average below 3.0 since 1967. It’s the 11th worst punt returning season ever among players to return at least 15 punts in a season, and the worst since 1965.
Good things though! Natson was a great returner at Akron. He had 2 punt return scores in each of his three seasons and surpassed an average of 11.3 yards per return in every season, for a career average of 12.6 yards per return.
Brisly Estime: Estime averaged 18.0 yards a return over his career at Syracuse, leading the ACC in punt return average in both 2015 and 2016.
Jalin Marshall: Marshall did haul in 2 touchdowns in 2016. He also averaged 24.9 yards per kick return, the second best rate (behind Antonio Cromartie) among Jets kick returners with at least 10 attempts since 2013.
Which camp competitor has the best chance of making the team?
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