How Much Can Jets Offensive Rookies Contribute?

Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer recently discussed the four new offensive rookies the New York Jets added in April’s draft, all of whom are skill position players. Looking at the 2011 season, if and when it occurs, how much can the Jets really expect from their rookies with such a shortened off-season?

Jeremy Kerley – Considering the roster situation, Kerley seems the most likely to contribute in his rookie year. If free agency goes how expected, there is going to be some reps available at the wide receiver position and Kerley is expected to work into the mix as a slot receiver. He should also compete for the punt return job with Kyle Wilson and Jerricho Cotchery. However, he will have to pick up the offense quickly which will not be easy, especially for a slot receiver where many route changes are made on the fly and are dictated by certain coverages. Punt return won’t be as complex obviously. Look for the Jets to start him off slow by only featuring him in certain packages.

Bilal Powell – The highest of the Jets offensive selections won’t have any pressure to contribute right away considering he is behind Shonn Greene, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Joe McKnight on the depth chart. Similar to Greene’s rookie year, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him inactive for the first part of the season while he picks up the offense and then maybe get worked in depending on injuries and the productivity of the players in front of him.

Scotty McKnight – He does already have the chemistry with Mark Sanchez which will help him in his battle for reps at slot receiver. As a 7th round pick he will have an uphill battle to even make the roster so the pressure will be on to make an immediate impact in the pre-season. He is also going to have to show that he can contribute on special teams, which is something he didn’t really do in college.

Greg McElroy – McElroy is more than likely going to be the third quarterback, unless something unexpected happens in training camp or the pre-season. Apparently, he was just about the smartest player in the draft and he has two good mentors in front of him with Mark Sanchez and Mark Brunell, so he should be able to handle his role this season.

All About Greg McElroy

A closer look at the Jets seventh round pick, Greg McElroy 

Background– McElroy played his high school football in Texas, where he won a 5A championship as a senior. He actually didn’t start his sophomore or junior year, as he sat behind Chase Daniel. In his one year as a starter, he threw 56 touchdowns to 9 interceptions.

College– McElroy started as a junior at Alabama and helped lead his team to a BCS National Championship, throwing for 2,508 yards and 17 touchdowns, along with a 60.6 completion percentage. In his senior year, he improved to 19 touchdowns and upped his completion percentage to 70.6 percent.

Vitals – 6’2, 222 pounds, scored a 43 out of 50 on the Wonderlic Test.

Position – Most likely he will be the Jets number three quarterback in 2011 and projects as their long term backup for Mark Sanchez.

NFL Comparison – How about a poor man’s Chad Pennington, considering his intelligence and intangibles but lack of ideal physical skills?

Quotable

“I can’t think of a better place to go.  It’s an incredible opportunity to learn from one of the greatest young quarterbacks in the game right now and to also play for one of the greatest coaching staffs.  It’s an incredible tradition and legacy.  I’m proud to be able to continue it and try my best to make the Jets a better organization.

Where He Fits – McElroy will compete with Kevin O’Connell, Drew Willy, and maybe Erik Ainge for the Jets number three quarterback job behind Mark Sanchez and Mark Brunell. I am assuming Kellen Clemens won’t return next year.

Best Case Scenario– He shows promise in the pre-season and easily wins the number three job. McElroy gives the coaching staff enough confidence to make him the number two quarterback heading into 2012.

Worst Case Scenario– McElroy struggles in training camp and is relegated to the practice squad during his rookie year, with O’Connell or somebody else ending up as the number three quarterback.