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Zach Rogers runs with a catch against Mississippi State in 2012.
The Jets began OTAs with four injured wide receivers: Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill, Clyde Gates and Jordan White. This can mean more opportunities for rookies to showcase themselves. The causes of UDFAs Zach Rogers and Ryan Spadola could benefit.
On the left side, Holmes' foot injury will limit his repetitions through the end of training camp and perhaps beyond. Until his backup's, Gates, hamstring recovers, the top slot will belong to second-year receiver Titus Ryan, backed up by Rogers and another second-year player, Vidal Hazelton.
However, Ryan and Hazelton have no measured accomplishments. They might as well be rookies themselves. That could mean an opportunity for Rogers to move up the depth chart after he impressed coach Rex Ryan during rookie camp with his work in the slot and on punt returns.
Said Ryan, per the transcript:
... The guy that stood out at receiver was this young man from Tennessee, I thought he stood out, Zach Rogers, No. 15, he caught a lot of balls out there, slot receiver, I saw him return punts, and he did a good job on the special teams drills as everybody watched, you know, breaking down, form tackling, things like that, so he looked good.
Having his former college quarterback Matt Simms in camp can't hurt Rogers' chances. The pair combined for a 72-yard touchdown play during Tennessee's 29-26 overtime victory against Alabama-Birmingham in 2010.
It's a similar situation on the right side. Hill, the projected starter, is having recurring knee issues. His backup, Jeremy Kerley, is healthy but often plays from the slot. Since Jordan White is also out with an undisclosed injury, that leaves available repetitions for UDFA Ryan Spadola, the Lehigh receiver who caught 232 passes and scored 24 touchdowns in college.
According to Jets spokesperson Eric Allen, Spadola "had the typical ups and downs during rookie camp. [He'll] have to make some noise during OTAs."
If Rogers and Spadola make enough noise, they might be on their way to wearing green and white this fall.