Over the last month, we've been taking a brief and early look at some of the potential solutions that could provide offseason upgrades for the Jets in each position. Today, we continue with a look at wide receivers - looking at outside receivers this morning and slot receivers this afternoon:
2018 represents a tipping point for the Jets wide receivers. As the team prepares itself to hopefully address their quarterback position once and for all, they have a group of receivers with talent, youth and upside, but uncertainty surrounds each of the key members to the point where it's impossible to predict what the group could look like in a few years.
Robby Anderson is coming off a breakout year, but has major off-field concerns and may be suspended. Quincy Enunwa is coming off a neck surgery that caused him to miss the entire 2017 season. Jermaine Kearse filled in admirably, but do the team see him as a long-term option?
With Enunwa a restricted free agent and Kearse entering the final year of his contract, the Jets may be looking for alternatives. Anderson might not be here much longer either if he keeps getting arrested. Could the Jets instead make a splashy move for a number one receiver so that these guys can instead vie for supporting roles?
In terms of young depth, the Jets have plenty of options, but seem just about ready to give up on the likes of Charone Peake, Jalin Marshall and Devin Smith. So, how much of a draft priority the receiver position will be likely depends upon whether they're still high on 2017 draft picks Chad Hansen and ArDarius Stewart after each had an underwhelming rookie year.
If the Jets opt to go down the big-ticket free agency route, perhaps in an effort to attract Kirk Cousins to sign with them, then Allen Robinson is probably the best option in this year's free agency class. Robinson had 80 catches for 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2015. However, his production fell off a bit in 2016 and he missed most of last year with an ACL tear. The Jags are reportedly - and surprisingly - not going to franchise him.
Sammy Watkins also had a thousand-yard season in 2015 but has been banged up since then, averaging just 11 games, 34 catches, just over 500 yards and five touchdowns over the last two seasons.
The next tier down includes guys like Paul Richardson, Marqise Lee and Mike Wallace. Each of these caught somewhere in the region of 50 passes, 700 yards and four touchdowns in 2017, but would they even represent an upgrade over Kearse, who is under contract for $5 million?
Four options whose production fell off in 2017 are Dontrelle Inman, John Brown, Donte Moncrief and Terrelle Pryor. Pryor, still only 28, is only a year removed from a thousand-yard season, but struggled with an injured ankle last year before being shut down and having season-ending surgery. Inman has nice size at 6'3".
One final upside play could be Jaron Brown. He fits the profile of a player who didn't do much in his first few years but then had a career year right before he hit free agency (31 catches).
Potential first round picks heading into the combine included Calvin Ridley from Alabama, James Washington from Oklahoma State and Courtland Sutton from SMU. Ridley is a good all-round talent but he's an older prospect and his workout numbers were disappointing. Washington, whose tape and big-play numbers are impressive, posted average workout numbers. However, Sutton, who has the best size of the three, posted terrific numbers, including a sparkling sub-6.6 second three cone drill.
There is a group of taller receivers, any of whom would add a dimension to the Jets' offense that they don't really have right now. From this group, Notre Dame's Equanimeous St. Brown and Iowa State's Allen Lazard helped themselves the most with their combine workouts.
Auden Tate from FSU, Marcell Ateman from Oklahoma State and Chad Wieneke from South Dakota State all measured in at 6'4" or over but posted disappointing workout numbers that they'll probably look to improve upon at their pro days. Indiana's Simmie Cobbs was disappointingly only just over 6'3" but did post an excellent three-cone time of 6.7 seconds.
One of the guys who helped himself the most at the combine was LSU's DJ Chark, who also stood out at the senior bowl. Chark ran a 4.34 40-yard dash and posted excellent numbers across the board to vault himself into first round contention.
Other talented players with interesting results included Clemson's Deon Cain, who ran a 4.43 40-yard dash, but posted bad results in nearly all of the other disciplines. In complete contrast, Missouri's J'Mon Moore only ran a 4.6 40-yard dash, but posted terrific results otherwise. UCF's Trequan Smith, on the other hand, had good results for speed and explosiveness, but poor agility scores.
Some more draft options include CSU's Michael Gallup, who is PFF's top-rated receiver, Cedrick Wilson, a well-rounded talent from Boise State, DJ Moore, another combine stand-out from Maryland and Jordan Lasley, Josh Rosen's favorite target at UCLA.
How would you approach this position? Is there anyone out there you'd target who we didn't mention? Let's have your thoughts in the comments.
BONUS LINK: Wide receiver prospects breakdown