The New York Jets need talent at the wide receiver position. Outside of the reliable slot weapon Jamison Crowder, there is a lot of questions remaining. Breshad Perriman had a great end of his 2019 season but is far from a sure thing to replicate over the course of a season. There have been no updates on if veteran Quincy Enunwa will ever play again. At the end of the day, quarterback Sam Darnold cannot have Josh Bellamy, Josh Doctson, or unproven receivers such as Braxton Berrios and Vyncint Smith starting on Sundays. If the Jets elect to spend their round one pick on an offensive tackle instead of an elite prospect, they need to draft maybe not one, but two receivers early in the 2020 NFL Draft. So let’s take a look at who the Jets can select on day two of the draft…
New York Jets Wide Receiver Options on Day Two
The NFL Draft might go down as one as having arguably one of the best and deepest receiver corps in history. CeeDee Lamb (Oklahoma), Jerry Jeudy (Alabama), and Henry Ruggs III (Alabama) seem to be the three locks to be selected on day one. After that, there are five receivers who could be late day one to early day two picks.
Justin Jefferson (LSU) [NFL Draft Profile]
A huge part of the 2019 championship season for the LSU Tigers, Justin Jefferson looks to capitalize as a potential first-round pick later this week. At 6’1” and 202lbs, Jefferson is a physical receiver with phenomenal hands who need to continue to develop his route tree to be effective when lined up outside. For the Jets, if he somehow fell to 48th overall, Jefferson will be that instant-impact player they desperately need.
Laviska Shenault Jr. (Colorado) [NFL Draft Profile]
Colorado’s 6’1” and 227lbs receiver is the definition of a swiss army knife. Laviska Shenault Jr. can line up on the outside, in the slot, at tight end, as a running back, or a wildcat quarterback. His skill set is very similar to San Francisco 49ers’ Deebo Samuel but also means head coach Adam Gase will need to work the ball to him as his game needs polishing. At the end of the day, his physical game and catch radius are too good to pass up for giving Darnold if he is available in round two.
Jalen Reagor (TCU) [NFL Draft Profile]
A smooth athlete with fantastic footwork, TCU’s Jalen Reagor has overcome poor quarterback play during his final season to establish himself as a solid round, one candidate. At 5’11” and 206lbs, he is a stud in space, with the ability to make defenders miss at all levels. He even can be an electric returner for the Jets too. Being physical at the line and jump-balls are not his strength, but he can produce when lined up on the outside. An athlete like Reagor would be a great addition to the Jets offense too in creating a scary downfield combination with Perriman.
Denzel Mims (Baylor) [NFL Draft Profile]
A late-riser through the combine until now, Baylor’s Denzel Mims has even been rumored to be a possible top 20 pick of late. His rise began after measuring at 6’3” and 207lbs at the combine and then running a ridiculous 4.38 40-yard dash. Mims has an insane catch radius that would give Darnold a new best friend in the red zone. His route running, release, and concentration will take time to develop to become a well-rounded receiver. But to take in the second round, the Jets would love to implement Mims as a red-zone and jump-ball specialist as he becomes a finished product.
Round Two Options
Tee Higgins (Clemson) [NFL Draft Profile]
Clemson star wideout Tee Higgins has fallen victim to the talent of this receiving class. His stock has remained steady as a day one starter in the NFL, but the rise of other receivers through the draft class has seen him fall to a potential second-round pick. But he should not last long. Especially if he is available by the Jets at 48, they cannot pass him up. At 6’4” and 216lbs, he will easily be the biggest weapon the Jets have had since Brandon Marshall. He can lineup anywhere, create mismatches, has fantastic body control and has the instincts to be an amazing starter. While his release is not breathtaking and his size makes him an easy tackle, Higgins could be Darnold’s best weapon for years to come.
Brandon Aiyuk (Arizona State) [NFL Draft Profile]
As natural as a pass catcher and athlete as any other receiver in the class, Brandon Aiyuk is another gadget receiver. Aiyuk is the type of player who anytime an offense has the ball, they will get the ball in his hands. His instinctive play and yard after catch ability just cannot be taught, as well as his limited physicality. At 6’0” and 205lbs, Aiyuk’s game is not built to win contested catches and he struggles against press coverage. Gase will need to get creative to get the ball in his hands given his below-average catch radius, but Aiyuk can be an elite playmaker for the Jets.
KJ Hamler (Penn State) [NFL Draft Profile]
The 5’9” and 178lbs Nittany Lion is built for the slot in the NFL. Unfortunately for KJ Hamler, the Jets already employ Crowder there. Yet this draft will be all about putting weapons around Darnold to throw to, and that is exactly what Hamler is. Despite his small frame, his elite speed, solid route running, and elusiveness allow him to stretch the field. Hamler will not be a physical receiver who gets lobs in the end zone, but his ability to separation will make him a problem no matter where he lines up. The Jets would need to get creative in playing Hamler and Crowder at the same time, nevertheless, the potential is too good to pass up and harder things have been done.
Michael Pittman Jr. (USC) [NFL Draft Profile]
Why not pair Darnold with his former teammate? At 6’4” and 223lbs, Michael Pittman Jr. is not a flashy player, but a smart and reliable possession receiver. His ball skills are phenomenal, and he will be a plug-and-player starter for Gang Green. His speed is nothing special and he lacks suddenness of the line, both being factors that have him in second to third-round draft range. For the Jets, it could come down to his size, his past with Darnold, and the consistency that makes him intriguing enough to take in round two.
Round Three Options
Chase Claypool (Notre Dame) [NFL Draft Profile]
At the 2019 NFL Combine, Notre Dame’s Miles Boykin “wowed” scouts with a fantastic combine performance. This year, it was another member of the Fighting Irish in Chase Claypool. He ran a 4.42 40-time while being 6’4” and 238lbs, with a 40.5” vertical jump. Claypool can be an instant impact player despite needing time to continue to develop his game. His diverse playmaking ability with his speed and size will make him a mismatch anywhere on the field. Claypool does have poor agility that makes his routes easy to track, which could wind up him switching to tight end like Las Vegas Raiders’ Darren Waller did. At the end of the day, while Claypool brings a boom or bust type prospect, he might just be worth the risk for the Jets.
Donovan Peoples-Jones (Michigan) [NFL Draft Profile]
Donovan Peoples-Jones has flown wildly under the radar during the entire draft process, in large part because of Michigan’s run-first offense. He was always limited in college, wracking up only 1,327 yards and 14 touchdowns in three seasons. Though alarming, Peoples-Jones brings great size (6’2” and 212lbs), speed, and return game to any offense. His routes are solid, as he capitalizes on footwork and body control to win matchups. Peoples-Jones may not be the flashy weapon the Jets need, although they do still need complementary pieces. That being said, Peoples-Jones is a safe pick who could play a Cordarrelle Patterson type role in the Jets offense.
Bryan Edwards (South Carolina) [NFL Draft Profile]
A physical receiver with starting potential, Bryan Edwards has struggled with durability issues in the past. He did not work out at the combine, and his injuries also prevent him from settings more records for the Gamecocks before leaving for the league. At 6’3” and 212lbs, Edwards has made a consistent receiver who even with drop problems, has the making of a solid pro. He is great at beating defenders off the line but does not have elite speed or athleticism to capitalize downfield. Edwards is best suited for a big slot role, even so, he can still line up outside. For the Jets, Edwards could be a solid and reliable weapon by the end of year one.
Van Jefferson (Florida)
The son of Jets wide receiver coach Shawn Jefferson, Van Jefferson has been connected to the Jets more often than not. He can lineup anywhere on the field at 6’1” and 200lbs, and has the separation to do damage more often than not. His versatility is appealing, as well as him being able to be a day one impact player, which the Jets need. Jefferson may not be a number one target, yet the consistency and competitive nature could make him and Darnold good friends right away.
Devin Duvernay (Texas) [NFL Draft Profile]
Another gadget player similar to Samuel, Devin Duvernay feeds off of short routes – which is Gase’s specialty. Duvernay stands at 5’10” and 200lbs, and in the long term is going to make a very good slot receiver. For the Jets, his yard after catch ability and frame make him a bowling ball who will fight for every yard. Duvernay would make a good complement if he were the second receiver the Jets took in the draft.
Tyler Johnson (Minnesota) [NFL Draft Profile]
Even with all of Tyler Johnson’s college production, his game still has work to be done. Given he is not a speedster and his routes are not great, he has won through elusiveness, consistent hands, and his physicality. Johnson brings the type of player who will fight for every ball and be a modest contributor early but will take time to reach his full potential. Using his 6’1” and 206lbs frame, Johnson made a living off of contested catches, and while NFL corners are bigger and stronger, he could capitalize the same way in the pros if developed right.
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