A closer look at the Jets fifth round pick, Jeremy Kerley –
Background – Kerley was a four sport athlete in high school in Hutto, Texas. As a junior, he led his football team to the state championship game as a quarterback. He was recruited to play both baseball and football in college but ultimately decided to stick with football at TCU.
College – Kerley began making his primary impact as a return man during his sophomore year. During his junior and senior year, he became a bigger part of the offense while remaining the team’s primary punt returner. Last season, he finished with 56 receptions for 575 yards, with 10 receiving touchdowns. He also added 97 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns, a touchdown pass and 388 punt return yards.
Vitals – 5’10, 189 pounds, ran a 4.56 40 yard dash at the combine.
Position – He will work as a slot receiver in the Jets offense and immediately compete for the primary punt return job, which is wide open this year. The Jets will also likely experiment with him in the Wildcat formation, especially if Brad Smith doesn’t return.
NFL Comparison – Everybody is penciling him in as Brad Smith’s replacement already, although they are very different body types and Smith was a quarterback in college. Kerley should be able to be a more fluid receiver than Smith.
“I had a great workout for the Jets when they came down and worked me out,” he said. “Ever since then I’ve thought in the back of my mind, ‘Maybe, somewhere down that line, it could be.’ I’m just glad it was today.”
Where He Fits – Kerley should compete for reps as the Jets number three receiver, especially if either Braylon Edwards or Santonio Holmes don’t come back, along with Brad Smith likely leaving in free agency. He should also get a shot to be their punt returner and maybe get a few looks on kick return, beyond contributing on the coverage units for Mike Westhoff.
Best Case Scenario – Kerley finds a way to fill the role left by Brad Smith if he isn’t back next year. He becomes a versatile weapon on offense, contributing both as a receiver and a runner. Kerley also works into the rotation of punt returners.
Worst Case Scenario – He struggles to adjust into becoming a slot receiver in the Jets offense and doesn’t get meaningful reps on offense this season. Kerley also loses out on the punt return job.