New York Jets Wide Receivers: Complete Position Evaluation

Aidan MackieSenior Analyst IJune 6, 2013

July 28, 2012; Cortland, NY, USA; New York Jets wide receivers Santonio Holmes (10) Royce Pollard (18) Stephen Hill (84) and Chaz Schilens (85) walk off the field following training camp at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Despite all the turmoil that the New York Jets franchise is embroiled in, perhaps the team's biggest concern is its questionable wide receiving corps.

The unit was anything but productive last season, as the group continually dropped passes and failed to get open. Injuries also played a part in the unit's failures.

New York will bring back every wide receiver from last season, except for Braylon Edwards and Chaz Schilens, who remain unsigned. Unfortunately, Gang Green did little to improve the position this offseason.

Therefore, veteran and former Super Bowl hero Santonio Holmes remains the team's No. 1 option in the passing game.   

Holmes has never truly lived up to his five-year, $45 million contract, but he has been a consistent threat for Mark Sanchez in his three years with the team. 

However, Holmes is still rehabbing from foot surgery last year. For a player who relies heavily on speed to be effective, he may struggle out of the gate this season. If Holmes can't get going early, there isn't much hope for the unit in general.

Second-year man Stephen Hill will be the team's No. 2 option behind Holmes. Playing in 11 games as a rookie, Hill struggled with injuries and inconsistency, and he ended his first season with just 21 catches, 253 yards and three touchdowns.

The 22-year-old possesses immense potential, though. If he can overcome his drops, Hill's combination of speed and size could be too much for opposing defenses to handle.

Hill's ability to improve his overall game in his sophomore season could go a long way in determining the success of New York's passing game.

Jeremy Kerley is expected to man the slot again in 2013. Kerley was the team's best receiver for most of last season, mainly because of injuries to the other top targets.

But it's hard to gauge whether Kerley will improve upon his 56-catch, 827-yard 2012 season. 

The third-year man will lose targets if other receivers stay healthy, but he might also be able to sneak into opposing secondaries with these other targets attracting attention. Either way, Kerley should have another solid campaign for the Jets. 

After Holmes, Hill and Kerley, the depth chart at wide receiver becomes suspect. 

Clyde Gates has been a solid No. 4 option in recent years, but sophomore Jordan White possesses plenty of potential. 

A possible return by either Braylon Edwards and Chaz Schilens is also a possibility, as the team needs veteran depth at the position. 

Here is my prediction for the depth chart at wide receiver for 2013:

1. Santonio Holmes

2. Stephen Hill

3. Jeremy Kerley

4. Clyde Gates

5. Jordan White

6. Zach Rogers

The undrafted Rogers, who played in the shadows of Cordarrelle Patterson and Justin Hunter at Tennessee, is a possible sleeper. Rogers still managed to put together a solid collegiate career, and his steady hands and route-running ability could lead to some playing time, especially if injuries decimate the unit.

Position Rating

Three out of 10. The unit lacks proven players outside of Holmes, and even he is a question mark coming back from a major injury. Hill's value lies in his potential, and unless he and the other young receivers can step up and improve dramatically, the unit could suffer another brutal season. 


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