The Jets Don't Need A Wide Receiver

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First a few updates:

1. My bad in my last article saying that Vinny Testaverde tore his ACL, when he actually ruptured his Achilles tendon. I was only 11 years old when it happened, but no excuses. I am getting a little sloppy with my injury history.

2. Rich Cimini returned from a long hiatus to update his blog today and I am actually basing this article off some of his thoughts about the Jets need for a receiver, although taking it a little further.

3. The scouting combine starts this week, hopefully the Jets won’t fall in love with a guy runs really fast and can lift alot of weight, but can’t tackle and has no passion for football.

4. Make sure to follow Turn On The Jets on facebook…plenty of good Jets related links to check out today.

The Jets Don’t Need A Wide Receiver

I have been surprised by how many people are predicting the Jets taking a receiver in the first round of the upcoming NFL Draft. By my count, more people are giving the Jets a receiver instead of a corner or defensive lineman. Nearly everybody who breaks down the Jets off-season needs, always mentions wide receiver right around the top of the list. The way I see it, the Jets would be crazy to spend their first round pick on a receiver. I know it is tempting to add a big name guy from a big name program like Golden Tate or Damian Williams for Mark Sanchez, but the need isn’t there.

The title of this article may be a little misleading. The Jets could use a #3/slot receiver. Basically, a Chansi Stuckey type player with some quickness who could be a viable option on third downs. Yet, compared to their other needs, a #3 receiver is a luxury. Why?

PhotobucketThe Jets have Dustin Keller, who is basically another wide receiver. I know Keller was underutilized last year and was also held back by Mark Sanchez’s mid-seasons struggles. However, during the Jets playoff run Brian Schottenheimer finally figured out how to use him and Sanchez began to play better, and what happened? Keller caught 12 passes and 3 touchdowns in 3 games. He is athletic enough to run routes from the tight end spot, H-Back, slot receiver, and split end, which allows Jerricho Cotchery to slide into the slot. Keller is capable of being a 65 catch, 900 yard, 6 touchdown guy.

The Jets have Leon Washington returning from injury. Washington has the skill set to line up in the slot and catch passes out of the backfield. He had 15 catches in 6 games last season and 123 career receptions. I would expect Washington’s role on the offense to be based more around catching passes out in space, especially early in the season as he feels his way back from the injury. The Jets aren’t going to be throwing him into the interior of the line in September and October.

When people analyze the Jets receivers, they continue to underestimate Jerricho Cotchery. You need to watch the Jets on a weekly basis to appreciate how good Cotchery actually is. Nothing frustrates me more than when somebody like Mike Francesa says “Eh…Cotchery is just another guy, he should probably be a #3 receiver instead of a starter.” The guy catches everything thrown at him, constantly makes clutch receptions on third downs, and is a threat to run after the catch. For most of his career, Cotchery has been durable and if he didn’t miss three games last year, he would have been a 1000 yard receiver. If you want an answer in the slot on third down, split Keller out and move Cotchery into the slot and watch him come through, time and time again.

Most people weren’t crazy about Braylon Edwards’ production last year, and yes he was a mild disappointment because of some key drops. Yet, considering how limited the Jets passing offense was, he still had his share of big plays. I still think of Cotchery as the Jets #1 receiver because of his consistency but Edwards is still a quality big play threat and a guy who will improve with a full off-season to work in the Jets offense, and with Sanchez becoming a year better.

I think Jerricho Cotchery, Braylon Edwards, Dustin Keller, and Leon Washington are a good enough top four pass catching options to win with. It would be nice to have another guy to line up in the slot but remember the Jets found Chansi Stuckey in the 7th round and Jerricho Cotchery in the 4th round. There is no need to spend a first round pick on a receiver. How many balls is the Jets number three receiver even going to see next year, considering how often the team runs the ball and how many pass catching options will be ahead of him? If it gets to pick 29 and there is no corner or defensive lineman/outside linebacker that matches the Jets draft board in value, Mike Tannenbaum should trade back and acquire more picks, not look for a receiver. The Jets need depth all over their roster. There is nothing wrong with drafting a receiver but save it for the 5th, 6th, or 7th round. The Jets need help in round 1 and round 2 at corner (we can’t afford to start Dwight Lowery with the type of defense we run) and outside linebacker/defensive end (we need both depth and a pass rusher who could get to the quarterback without a blitz or stunt being called for him).

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