The Jets head into training camp looking to shore up their porous wide receiver core from last year, and they’ve got some explosive young options to help them do it.
Gang Green attempted the 13th most passes in the NFL last season with 603, but ranked just 20th overall in total completions with 357, and 26th in passing touchdowns at 20 — which came as a sign that both their quarterback play and wide receivers needed to improve this year if the team wanted to make a jump from their forgettable 4–13 season.
Starting quarterback Zach Wilson, who came to MetLife Stadium as the 2nd overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, finished his rookie season with a 55.6% competition percentage over 13 games, while recording 9 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
Many of those lackluster stats can be attributed to his youth and inexperience coming out of BYU, but the team also offered little help with a pass-catching lineup led by his fellow rookie Elijah Moore, along with Corey Davis, Keelan Cole and Jamison Crowder.
Now, with Wilson having a full year under his belt, and Moore in his second season, along with the team’s addition of Ohio State standout Garrett Wilson with the 10th overall selection in the 2022 draft, fans can reasonably expect the passing game in New York to improve.
Moore figures to be the #1 receiving option on the Jets this season.
At 5′10″ and around 180 pounds, Moore is best as a slot receiver, which will help Wilson with his development with short passes that should allow Gang Green to control the ball on offense, and march down the field with steady, low-risk plays to limit turnovers.
In his first year, Moore caught for a team-high 538 yards and 5 touchdowns, and reeled in 55.8% of his passes for the Jets. Wide receivers often struggle as rookies, and improve as they adjust to the pace of the game — which gives fans hope that he can build on his impressive first year, and become a true leading receiver in the NFL.
He will have new help at the line of scrimmage as well, with Garrett Wilson joining him in the wide receiver room this season.
Gerrett Wilson has big-play potential at 6’0″ and 183 pounds, and was considered one of the best offensive athletes in April’s draft. He boasts incredible quickness off the line, and has a huge catch radius that will likely make up for any misthrown balls from under center — providing a massive security blanket for Zach Wilson.
“When that ball is in the air, it’s his. It’s just all-encompassing in terms of the way he’s wired,” said Jets head coach Robert Saleh. “He’s got great body control and he’s a lot stronger, you see him, and he looks a little slight, but he’s actually very strong. He plays the game very strong, he’s got great range, he’s got really good speed.”
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Wilson will provide a solid pairing with Moore, who possess a much different skill set for the Jets, said Saleh.
“It allows you to isolate players in different parts of the offense,” the coach said.
Along with those two youngsters, Zach Wilson has also had time to train and learn with Davis, Cole and Braxton Berrios — a continuity that should help the young passer find a better rhythm in the pros.
“Zach’s had a really, really good offseason,” said Saleh. “His grasping of the system is much more comfortable…He’s more confident. He understands mistakes before the coaches even have to get to him.”
“It’s a young nucleus of skill players, and it’s going to be really fun to watch this team, and all these young guys grow together.”