While the Jets have a very crowded wide receiver depth chart at the moment, it’s safe to assume Mike Maccagnan would like to see progress from each of the receivers he took in the 2017 NFL Draft in ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen.
Neither were particularly productive as rookies last season, but it’s not time to hit the panic button just yet on the former third and fourth round selections. What can they bring in 2018?
Let’s start with Hansen in this edition, who has wasted little time turning heads during OTA’s.
Weight: 202 lbs.
4th round, 141st overall pick
2017 season (rookie): 9 receptions, 94 yards
Coming out of college, Hansen was known as the go-to target in the Cal offense where the production in his final season was absurd (as seen below). He caught everything that came his way and did a good job of getting up field with the ball in his hands.
Chad Hansen dropped 4(!) of his 144 targets this yr. Caught 92 of them – +acceleration, ++hands, +routes, +size: pic.twitter.com/1ds4WBrfSy
— Connor Rogers (@ConnorJRogers) February 19, 2017
Throughout a relatively quiet rookie season for the Jets last year, we saw his ability to find the soft spot in a zone and even climb the ladder to win the football in the air at times.
His opportunities were limited until the final few weeks of the season but there weren’t any glaring ‘rookie mistakes’ during that stretch.
While much of his catches came underneath in the middle of the field, his best play was against a talented New Orleans secondary where he won off the line of scrimmage (a concern as a prospect) and tracked the ball perfectly:
Chad Hansen is going to be one of the interesting 2nd year guys to keep an eye on at #Jets camp this year – crowded WR group but has a chance to get more reps on the outside if Pryor is banged up. Good length and tracking to win the ball in the air pic.twitter.com/T0lpSY0gKV
— Connor Rogers (@ConnorJRogers) June 5, 2018
After a year where the sample size is so limited, what can we expect from Hansen in year two working in such a crowded receiver depth chart?
Oddly enough, he can very well be an x-factor. The Jets top two targets are too talented to become unseat from play, but Quincy Enunwa is working his way back from neck surgery while Robby Anderson could miss a game or two due to suspension.
Those two factors make depth key, with Jermaine Kearse, Terrelle Pryor and Hansen being the assumed no. 3-5 receivers on the roster.
Pryor has become a much more popular name after a breakout 2016 in Cleveland, but Hansen is the one who has been on the field this Spring.
With superb hands and the ability to work back to the quarterback, he’s a good fit with third overall pick Sam Darnold who has a knack for extending plays with his legs.
The key things to keep an eye on in training camp with Hansen is his overall play strength (he had a lot of room to add to his frame coming out of school), the timing in his routes and regaining his form as a threat with the ball in his hands after the catch.
The Jets are often classified as a ‘rebuilding’ team (which is justified), but the wide receiver group is the deepest on the team. Hansen will have his work cut out for him in year two, but his size profile and skill set make him an intriguing option for Gang Green’s offense in 2018.
Photo Credit: NFL.com