With the NFL draft to go on as scheduled beginning on April 23rd, the New York Jets certainly have a plethora of options as they sit comfortably with the 11th overall pick.
With Robby Anderson’s departure to the Carolina Panthers, the only WR1 that Sam Darnold has had in his career thus far is now gone, leaving him with a receiving corps consisting of Jamison Crowder, Quincy Enunwa, Breshad Perriman, and Josh Doctson. No shade to any of those guys, but it is time for the Jets to have a real premiere playmaker at the wide receiver position.
The Jets haven’t had a true number one receiver since Brandon Marshall in 2015, who was also their last one to have 1,000 yards. Luckily, this is the draft to look to bolster any squads receiving unit. As rich and as deep a receiving class as ever, I expect several of these prospects to be repeat pro-bowlers. More to that point, the skillsets of these prospects range from speedy, polished route runners to big-bodied, physical go up and get it guys.
So who fits the bill best for the Jets?
1. Jerry Jeudy, Alabama.
Jeudy is the most polished route-runner in the entire draft class, with almost zero bust potential according to most analysts. Scoring 24 touchdowns in his last 28 games, Jeudy still balled out despite his star QB Tua Tagovaila playing only nine games. His route running is down to a science, with both speed and patience, and his attention to detail keeps DB’s guessing where he will end up. If Jeudy drops out of the top ten, he should be a no-brainer for the Jets at 11.
2. CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma.
Lamb is considered by many to have the highest ceiling out of all of the prospects. His pro comp being DeAndre Hopkins, Lamb is a big, physical receiver who is a monster after the catch. Averaging 21.4 yards per catch in 2019 as a primary target, Lamb was a vital asset in Lincoln Riley’s arsenal and Heisman Trophy runner up Jalen Hurts’ favorite weapon. Lamb could be just the kind of weapon Sam Darnold needs.
3. Henry Ruggs III, Alabama.
The fact that his 4.28 40 yard dash time at the combine was considered by some as “disappointing’ is a testament to just how explosive Ruggs is. His game-breaking speed will require safety help, thus opening up the middle of the field in the back end of the defense, allowing opportunities for Darnold to work more with an open field. His release and smooth hands are attributes that are strong and disciplined and could contribute as a deadly returner on special teams as well.
4. Justin Jefferson, LSU.
After being an integral part of one of the most historic offenses in college football history, Jefferson has WR1 potential on an NFL squad. With quick hands and great initial burst off the line, Jefferson is another intriguing choice that could go to the Jets in the first round. Darnold would love his catch radius that makes any ridiculous, contested-catch look easy.
5. Laviska Shenault, Colorado.
Shenault is my surprise first-rounder for this year’s class. Not a slight to his abilities, just the sheer number of receivers expected to go in the first round alone this year is surprising. Shenault is a hulking, physical receiver at 6’1 227 pounds, that became one of the nation’s top receivers in 2018. While not capitalizing off a strong 2018, Shenault still showed his potential to be a top receiving prospect. Playing all three receiver positions at Colorado, Shenault has an excellent combination of size, speed, and strength. One of the more versatile receivers in this class, the Jets could look to him to bolster their group.