About this time last year, we discussed what kind of production the Jets could expect from wide receiver Elijah Moore, whom they had selected with the 34th overall pick, in his rookie season. As we know, he got off to a slow start, then had a run of good games, but was hurt at the end of the year which limited his production.
All told, he ended up with 43 catches, 538 yards and five touchdowns, which was easily the best rookie season by any Jets receiver drafted since Keyshawn Johnson 25 years before. He comfortably surpassed the previous highs in each of those categories from (believe it or not) Denzel Mims, Laveranues Coles and (no kidding) Stephen Hill respectively.
Of course, the best rookie season by a Jets receiver in that timespan belonged to an undrafted player, Robby Anderson, who had similar numbers to Moore with 42 catches, 587 yards and two scores as a rookie. Factor in Moore's 54 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown though and he again has the edge.
Many of the same points we made in our Moore article apply equally to this year's rookie receiver - 10th overall pick Garrett Wilson - so it's worth re-reading that for the finer points.
It's highly unlikely that Wilson will put up numbers to rival Johnson's rookie output of 63 catches, 844 yards and eight touchdowns, primarily because he's going to be sharing touches with the likes of Moore, Corey Davis and Braxton Berrios, not to mention a deep group of running backs and tight ends. Johnson was joining an awful Jets team that ultimately won just one game.
As noted in the Moore article, the Jets have had players like Santana Moss, Jerricho Cotchery and Coles who didn't do much in their rookie years but developed into good players, but have also had players like Mims and Hill who showed some promise at times in their rookie season only to regress in year two.
Rookie receivers can explode for big seasons, as Justin Jefferson and last year's Rookie of the Year, Ja'Marr Chase did. However, the Jets should have the luxury of being able to bring Wilson along at his own pace rather than relying on him to produce or having to force-feed him targets to the detriment of a more NFL-ready player like Davis.
On paper, if Wilson was the 10th overall pick then the expectations for him should be higher than they were for the second-rounder Moore. Let's see if he can live up to those expectations.
We'll share our in-depth report on Wilson within the next day or two.