New York Jets: Mississippi's Donte Moncrief Could Be Draft-Day Steal

Travis Wakeman@@traviswakeman10Featured Columnist IVMarch 1, 2014

Mississippi receiver Donte Moncrief runs towards the end zone in the second quarter during an NCAA college football game in Oxford, Miss. (AP Photo/Austin McAfee)
Austin McAfee/Associated Press

It shouldn't be much of a secret that the New York Jets need help at the wide receiver position. They should be searching high and low this offseason, both in free agency and the NFL draft.

The market was already thin at wide receiver, but the Eagles gave other teams even fewer options by locking up their own free agents, Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin. Cooper agreed to a new five-year contract while Maclin came to terms on a one-year deal on Friday.

The Jets should still be aggressive with free agency, but there are several great options available in this year's draft.

While players such as Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Marqise Lee and Kelvin Benjamin will get all of the attention leading up to the draft, plenty of hidden gems lie in the later rounds.

One of those players is Donte Moncrief, a receiver who isn't getting a lot of mainstream attention but appears to have all the tools to be an NFL star.

Moncrief had a solid combine (see stats below, obtained via NFL.com's combine tracker) and may start moving up draft boards as a result, but he is a player who likely won't be taken in the first two rounds.

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However, the team that ends up taking him will be happy they did.

Moncrief has good size (6'3", 226 lbs), and in three seasons at Ole Miss, he put up good numbers. He finished his college career with 156 receptions for 2,371 yards and 20 touchdowns.

In the 2013 Music City Bowl, he helped lead the Rebels to a win over Georgia Tech by hauling in six passes for 113 yards and a score.

There is a lot to like about Moncrief's game. He is a great route-runner and possesses superb hands. He routinely gains separation from defensive backs and has the skills to make very tough catches look easy.

He is very good in the running game as well, often making the block to help spring the running back for a big gain.

NFL Scouting Combine Results
Player40-yard dashBench Press RepsVertical JumpBroad Jump
Sammy Watkins4.431634"126.0"
Marqise Lee4.52N/A38"127.0"
Mike Evans4.531237"N/A
Kelvin Benjamin4.611332.5"119.0"
Donte Moncrief4.401339.5"132.0"
NFL.com Results Tracker

While Moncrief doesn't have world-class speed, that may be the only knock on his game. He will give the team that drafts him a lot to look forward to.

As far as the Jets are concerned, he would be an excellent draft choice. In New York, Moncrief could come in and be an immediate starter.

Geno Smith had a turbulent rookie season at quarterback, and the team needs to surround him with all the help they can get him. A young, reliable receiver like Moncrief would be a good place to start.

He would also fit right in with what the Jets like to do, assisting in their power rushing attack.

If the Jets were to add another veteran wide receiver in free agency, such as James Jones or Hakeem Nicks, along with selecting Moncrief, the offense would be markedly improved.

If the Jets can land a player like Lee or Evans in the first round of the draft, they shouldn't pass that up. But Moncrief is as good, if not better than both of them, and they could get him a round or two later.

Just someone for general manager John Idzik and his staff to consider.


All combine results via NFL.com's results tracker.