Jerricho Cotchery has been a consistent and steady force for the New York Jets since he was drafted in the fourth round of the 2004 draft from North Carolina State. He was instrumental in helping rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez reach the playoffs in his first season and provided the young QB with knowledge of the Jets offense and a veteran to lean on for help. However, Cotchery is more than a hardworking leadership figure, the guy is one hell of an NFL receiver.
Underrated is the word that best describes Cotchery. He hasn't put up all pro numbers in his career but he's always been a steady target for whoever was under center for the Jets, whether it was Chad Pennington, Brett Favre, or Mark Sanchez. J-Co has a knack for making spectacular catches in big moments. There was just last year when he made a spectacular drive extending catch vs the Browns in overtime after pulling his groin.
Then again two years ago Cotchery made a spectacular one-handed catch against the Patriots on Thursday Night Football courtesy of Brett Favre. His ability to gain big yards after the catch make him more dangerous than he gets credit for. In a 2006 playoff game at New England, Cotchery had a 77 yard touchdown after an initial catch of 14 yards. Yards after catch is where Cotchery becomes a real threat to a defense.
The guy is still dangerous without a question. Playing last season with injuries diminished his numbers, but reports show that he will be 100 percent healthy entering the 2011 season. Even with his injuries last season Cotchery still contributed in key situations. Remember his huge catch in the divisional round against the Patriots? Cotchery took the ball 58 yards down the field on the first play of the fourth quarter, setting up a score. A healthy Cotchery should prove to be a valuable weapon for a team facing wide receiver questions.
When drafting your fantasy football teams don't forget about Cotchery in the late rounds. He will likely be on the board still, and he's healthy playing alongside a quarterback who showed substantial growth from his rookie to sophomore season. In his last healthy year in 2009 Cotchery notched 57 catches for 821 yards, and that was with a rookie quarterback on a team that ran more than any other in the league. Put together the fact that the Jets now throw a lot more than in 2009, and the fact that he is healthy and usually overlooked by the opposition and number 89 is a solid sleeper pick.