The New York Jets are in desperate need of pass catchers, and the team will likely enter next month’s NFL Draft looking for a top-tier wide receiver, as their free-agent options continue to dwindle.
Gang Green also lost a bidding war on Tuesday to the Miami Dolphins in their efforts to trade for former-Kansas City Chiefs wideout Tyreek Hill.
Second-year quarterback Zach Wilson played 13 games in his rookie season, and threw for a forgettable 9 touchdowns and 11 interceptions on 179.5 yards-per-game, while completing a league-worst 55.6% of his passes.
Head coach Robert Saleh and general manager Joe Douglas will surely attempt to surround Wilson with new weapons to help his growth in his sophomore season.
Last year’s Jets receiving leaders Elijah Moore and Corey Davis are returning for the upcoming season, but neither player has yet shown proof that they can be a top talent at the position against elite defensive backs. The team will also likely lose their third-best receiver, Keelan Cole, in free agency.
With other potential free agent signings landing contracts with other teams, the best chance for the Jets to acquire an elite pass catcher to pair with Wilson is in next month’s draft, where many NFL insiders have speculated that the Jets could use either the 4th overall selection, or the 10th pick that they received in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks on a wideout.
Here’s some possibilities in the pass-catching department they Jets will consider with their first-round selection:
Drake London, USC
ESPN’s Mel Kiper projected in his latest mock draft that the Jets would use their first pick on London, a standout wide receiver from USC.
At 6-feet 4-inches, and 219 pounds the 22-year-old possesses an NFL-like frame that could allow him to leap over shorter defenders to snag passes. As ProFootballFocus reported, London led all college football players with 19 catches of contested passes, which will undoubtedly serve him well if he were paired with a young quarterback still adjusting to the league.
Garrett Wilson, Ohio State
An Ohio State University product, Wilson boasts elite athleticism and speed, which was on display during the NFL Combine, when he recorded a 4.38-second 40-yard dash time.
At 6-feet tall, Wilson would rely on his speed and vision more than his vertical size, but his competition of quickness, solid hands, and impressive body control will make him a threat to any opposing defenders.
Jahan Dotson, Penn State
From Penn State University, Dotson will need to overcome his sub-6-foot frame, but he does possess all the qualities you need to succeed as a longterm receiver in the NFL.
After receiving for 1,182 yards and 12 touchdowns last year, despite shaky quarterback play from the Nittany Lions, he’ll come to the NFL with pro-level route-running ability, and reliable hands.
Chris Olave, Ohio State
A fellow Ohio State product, 21-year-old Olave ran a lightning-fast 4.39-second 40-yard dash at the Combine, and comes out of college with a renowned reputation for his steady hands.
His senior season saw Olave catch 65 receptions for 936 yards, while recording 13 touchdowns. If the Jets selected Olave, he would be as close to a surefire bet to mold into an every-down receiver, with great catching ability, incredible speed, and already-refined route running status.
George Pickens, Georgia
Pickens is 6-feet 3-inches tall, which puts him among the taller receivers in the draft class. He doesn’t have the muscle frame to match his height, but he is very fast — boasting a 4.47-second 40-yard dash time.
He has suffered from troubling knee injuries, which could steer the Jets away from Pickens, but when healthy, he remains a terrific asset for his quarterback, with the ability to get behind the defense, or jump over defenders on jump balls.