New York Jets – Potential NFL Draft Wide Receiver Pairing

Michael Meegan reviews potential wide receiver pairings for the New York Jets in the 2020 NFL Draft

With next week’s draft approaching it seems it is highly likely the Jets use pick 11 to select an OT.  This will be a massive boost to their offensive line but they still need to work on getting Sam Darnold more weapons. On Day two of the draft the Jets should potentially double dip at receiver with picks #48 and #79. Based on current mock drafts, I selected three pairings who could be available at those picks that fit the mold of the two receivers the Jets need to help complete their group…

The All World Potential Pair – Pick #48 Brandon Aiyuk , Pick 79 Donovan Peoples-Jones

Aiyuk  Threat to score every time he touches the ball.  Only asked to run three routes in college but is very fluid in his running, so his route tree will expand at the next level.  Aiyuk is a big play, deep threat with very consistent hands as he never dropped a pass that traveled over 20 yards in the air in college.  He is also a dangerous return man which gives another weapon to Brant Boyer. The most underrated part of Sam Darnold’s game is his ability to give his receivers a chance to make plays after the catch and he would thrive with someone like Aiyuk.

Peoples-Jones An absolute genetic freak, Peoples Jones destroyed the combine with his 44.5 inch vertical and 4.47 40 time.  DPJ underachieved as a 5-star recruit at Michigan and his lack of production is why he is in the 3rd round.  A lot of that can be contributed to the terrible QB play and why he projects to be a much more productive pro then he was a college player.  The Jets have done a horrible job giving Darnold red zone weapons and DPJ would help solve that. He has reliable hands and when given the chance a solid route tree. 

Aiyuk has struggled with injuries through the draft process, as it forced him to miss the Senior Bowl and he recently had a core muscle surgery after the combine. Peoples-Jones at Michigan was over shadowed by other receivers on his team. There are risks with both these players but Aiyuk could become a lead receiver and DPJ has the tools to become a very high end number #2. 

The Yin and Yang Pair – Pick #48 Tee Higgins, Pick #79 Van Jefferson

Higgins The best red zone target in the draft. Higgins tied the Clemson school record for touchdowns with 27. He has a long slender frame and has a huge catch radius, which make him a factor in not just the red zone but also with big plays down the field. Darnold has never played with someone like Higggins and would fit Sam’s aggressive style of letting his receivers fight for those 50/50 balls perfectly.  

Jefferson has the most complete route tree in this class outside of Jerry Jeudy. Jefferson did not put up eye popping numbers at Florida but he lit up the Senior Bowl and showed off his excellent hands to go with his precise route running.  Jefferson has the makings of an excellent security blanket for Darnold and it is very easy to see Sam forming a strong bond with him the way he has done with Crowder and Herndon so far in his career.

Higgins for all his college production has struggled in the pre-draft process, as his vertical came in at 31.5 inches and he ran 4.56 in the 40. Higgins is very boom or bust as he could be the guy on his tape in that Allen Robinson/AJ Green mold or he could always struggle to separate from coverage and be closer to a guy like Josh Doctson.  Jefferson will never be a number #1 wideout but he’s going to be a solid pro for a decade. 

The Hybrid Pair – Pick #48 Michael Pittman Jr, Pick #79 Bryan Edwards 

Pittman Jr Possess maybe the best hands in the entire draft. Pittman is a go up and get it receiver who uses every bit of his frame to snag contested catches.  Pittman is very powerful in his run after catch and is a handful to get down in open space. He is a much better athlete then given credit for as he ran 4.52 at the combine.  Darnold was teammates with Pittman at USC and they hooked up for 23 catches 403 yards and 2 TDs in Darnold’s final year there. In a shortened offseason it be great to grab someone as pro ready as Pittman who already has built in chemistry with Sam.  

Edwards Very physical receiver. Edwards uses his body to help break off of routes and make contested catches.  He is very shifty for his size and absolute bulldozer in space as once he gets going. He has very good long speed and rarely goes down to the first tackler.  With Quincy Enunwa likely heading towards retirement, Edwards is the perfect replacement as he can work outside as well as the slot.

Pittman Jr. and Edwards are both guys who can be effective red zone targets, as well as reliable possession receivers who can plays after the catch. That versatility is likely what Joe Douglas is looking for. Neither will ever be a number #1 receiver in this league but both can be quality number 2s and be the start of a young group of pass catchers that Sam Darnold can grow with.