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. Earlier, we looked at outside receivers but now we're looking at slot receivers:
The Jets' primary slot receiver for much of last year was veteran Jeremy Kerley, who was suspended midseason and is now gone.
However, it's not like the Jets don't have options at the position. Jermaine Kearse moved into the role after Kerley was gone and produced well.
Also, one of the interesting storylines heading into the season was how Quincy Enunwa might fare in a role where he would be required to play outside more. Ultimately, that never materialized due to his neck injury so maybe Enunwa could just transition back into a slot role after all?
Last year's rookies - ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen - both have the ability to produce from the slot too, so their development will be a factor in the need for a slot option. You can perhaps add Jordan Leggett to that mix too, although if the Jets bring back Austin Seferian-Jenkins or an alternative starter at tight end, that might also give them a slot option.
The premier free agent who is identifiable as a slot receiver is Jarvis Landry. However, he's not really your conventional slot receiver type - or at least hasn't been in Miami. Landry catches a lot of short passes and would probably be most effective if paired with at least one elite downfield threat. The Dolphins are expected to rescind his franchise tag but it's difficult to justify making him a number one receiver based on the money he's expected to command.
If not Landry, then two pending free agents who can produce well from the slot are Jordan Matthews and Kendall Wright. Or for two more experienced stop-gap mentor types, perhaps Danny Amendola or a returning Eric Decker could be good value.
Other, less attractive options that had some slot production last year include Albert Wilson and Ryan Grant. Taylor Gabriel could be an option too although he actually played mostly outside in Atlanta, despite his small stature.
Finally, a couple of productive slot receivers that are restricted free agents are Adam Humphries and Willie Snead. Snead perhaps won't be tendered after his numbers fell off last year.
There weren't many combine stand-outs from this group as many of them didn't run and there were no elite performances in terms of agility numbers.
Based on their film, Texas A&M's Christian Kirk and Anthony Miller from Memphis are the two best prospects who can produce from the slot, although each is equally adept out wide. DaeSean Hamilton from Penn State is a similar player who might be an option later on, as is USC's Deontay Burnett.
For more of a pure slot option, Texas Tech's Keke Coutee, Miami's Braxton Berrios and Pitt's Quadree Henderson could be possibilities that might also contribute in the return game. Elite record-breaking punt returner Dante Pettis could be drafted solely for that purpose but has the ability to play in the slot too.
Finally, Richie James from Middle Tennessee State is another dynamic player like Miller who can play outside or inside but may find himself employed as a slot specialist at the pro level.
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