When the Jets selected Elijah Moore with the 34th overall pick last month, that became the ninth-highest pick used by the Jets on a wide receiver in franchise history and the highest for 20 years. What kind of numbers can we expect him to put up in his rookie season, though?
25 years ago, Keyshawn Johnson was the first overall pick and had a successful rookie season with 63 catches, 844 yards and eight touchdowns. However, every receiver the team has drafted with a high pick since then hasn't come close to those numbers.
In all, the Jets have drafted 10 players in the first four rounds since that 1996 draft. These have had varying levels of success but none of the good ones really broke out until after their rookie season.
Denzel Mims actually had the most catches out of these 10 players in their rookie seasons with 23, despite missing five games and seeing his production fall off down the stretch. Laveranues Coles' 370 yards were the most any of them managed and Stephen Hill was the only one to catch three touchdowns.
In fact, the most productive season by a rookie receiver in recent memory came from an undrafted player - Robby Anderson, who had 42 catches, 587 yards and two touchdowns in his first season.
Of course, a lot of these numbers were influenced by the player missing games in their rookie year which could easily happen to Moore too, although he didn't miss any games in college until he decided to opt out at the end of last season.
Santana Moss, the only one of these 10 players drafted higher than Moore, was limited to five games and two catches and Mims, Hill, Dedric Ward and Devin Smith all missed at least five games. Others such as Jerricho Cotchery and ArDarius Stewart just didn't get to play much in their first season.
The Jets have adequate depth at the receiver positions which could enable them to bring Moore along slowly and limit his year one production and will be well equipped to fill in for him if he misses any time. However, with some of the skills he displays on film, the temptation is going to be to get him on the field as soon as possible.
Rookie years like the one Johnson had are rare and he was, of course, a much higher pick than most of the 10 receivers mentioned above. However, it's by no means out of the question for a rookie receiver to put up big numbers. For example, eight rookies caught 50 or more passes last year with Justin Jefferson racking up 1,400 yards and Chase Claypool catching nine touchdowns.
Moore was the sixth receiver picked and actually was picked earlier than three of those rookie receivers with 50 or more catches last year, including Claypool, so he definitely has a shot to have a big year and is a good bet to be the most productive Jets rookie receiver since Johnson.