Breaking Down the New York Jets' Wide Receivers

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Breaking Down the New York Jets' Wide Receivers
The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Jets will enter training camp with the worst depth chart at wide receiver in the entire NFL.

The team features 10 wide receivers who boast a realistic chance of making the 53-man roster, although half of them would have a difficult time making the practice squad on most competitive rosters.

New general manager John Idzik wants to administer in-house competition in an effort to construct the most formidable roster possible, while simultaneously disallowing players from becoming complacent in guaranteed starting roles.

The Jets stare down extreme concern at wide receiver, regardless. The team's current depth chart features a defunct group of wideouts that showcases average skills at best.

The team's No. 1 receiver is Santonio Holmes, who could miss the start of the season because of a Grade 4 Lisfranc fracture that he suffered in Week 4 of 2012.

Starting wideout Stephen Hill has failed to develop into a reliable downfield target, struggling to catch passes in OTAs and walk-through activities. His speed is ultimately an asset, although his ability to gain separation from defenders downfield is redundant because he seldom catches the football.

Hill reeled in 21 of 47 receiving targets last season, averaging 12 yards per catch. His second-best statistical performance happened against the New England Patriots in Week 5, when he also cost the team the game. Hill exhibited a despicable display of ineptitude, dropping a potential game-winning pass from second-rate QB Mark Sanchez with less than three minutes remaining in regulation.

The Jets endured a crippling defeat at the hands of Hill, losing to the Patriots by a final score of 29-26 in overtime. His drop also arguably led to the inevitable pitfall of Sanchez, who succumbed to a league-worst 5.2 yards per pass attempt.

It became known that the team needed to rely on other receivers to achieve some element of a downfield threat on offense at that juncture, although Hill is still considered to be a potential future playmaker.

Slot receiver Jeremy Kerley has become the most efficient receiver on the Jets roster, especially considering Holmes' injury. Kerley pulled down 56 receptions for 827 yards and two touchdowns in 2012. He's bound to see upward of 10 targets per game in OC Marty Mornhinweg's version of the West Coast offense.

Kerley isn't the type of receiver who can break away from defensive backs downfield, but he's effective in underneath passing routes and should provide some element of stability for the Jets.

Second-tier wideout Clyde Gates is entering his second season with the Jets. He was scarcely used on offense last season, recording 16 receptions for 224 yards. The 27-year-old could see an increase in playing time in 2013, given the lack of depth at wide receiver on the team's roster.

The most experienced second-tier receiver on the Jets depth chart is Ben Obomanu, who played in 66 games over five seasons with the Seattle Seahawks. He's tallied 87 receptions for 1,209 yards and seven touchdowns in his career. His best season was 2010, when he caught 30 passes for 494 yards and four touchdowns.

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Obomanu was brought in because of Idzik's familiarity with his abilities. The Jets were starved for depth, which is what Obomanu should help provide. He's a veteran presence who could prove reliable in certain down-and-distance situations, even though he's not a name-brand kind of guy.

Other nameable receivers trying to make the 53-man roster include rookies Zach Rogers and Marcus Davis and Jordan White.

Rogers is an undrafted first-year player who totaled 63 receptions for 906 yards and nine touchdowns in four seasons at Tennessee. He was impressive at rookie camp, earning praise from Ryan. He could supply some value to special teams on kickoff and punt returns and might earn a roster spot if he's able to continue showcasing dynamic ability as a receiver and return man.

Davis is also an undrafted first-year player who recorded respectable numbers at the collegiate level. He pulled down 105 receptions for 1,827 yards and 13 touchdowns during his four seasons at Virginia Tech.

White appeared in two games for the Jets in 2012 and caught one pass for 13 yards. It's unlikely for White to see an increase in playing time this season, but it's possible that he earns a roster spot on the back-end of the depth chart.

The Jets' roster depth at wide receiver is ultimately marginal at best. The team could be forced to rely upon the receiving skills of second-tier players like Gates and Hill if Holmes doesn't return to peak ability.

Kerley could prove to be the team's only reliable receiving target, unless guys like Rogers rise to the occasion and surprise the coaching brass.

The Jets' quarterback competition is the most talked about component of team training camp, but the receiving corps will directly effect the success of the team's starting QB.

The Jets averaged just 17.6 points per game in 2012, scoring the fifth-fewest points in the NFL.

The new-look offense showcases a revamped rush attack and relative stability on the offensive line. The problem lies in uncertainty at QB and legitimate depth issues at wide receiver.

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