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Inside the Numbers | Garrett Wilson's Record-Toppling Rookie Season

Jets First-Round Wideout Surpasses the Standards Set by Several First-Year Receiving Legends in Franchise History


It wasn't a great night for any Jets against the Jaguars, including rookie WR Garrett Wilson, who had four catches for 30 yards but had a first down and possibly another rookie distinction kicked out of his hands for a late-game lost fumble.

Yet Wilson's season has been outstanding, perhaps NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year-worthy. As coordinator Mike LaFleur said recently, "Garrett's a special person. He loves this game and there's no surprise with it. Sundays are not too big for him. ... He's a rookie and he's going to continue to keep getting better."

Here's a sampling of how good Wilson has been as he's toppled the records of other big-name Jets first-year wideouts.

Toon's Mark of Distinction
Despite the precocious, productive pass-catchers the Jets have brought to the team over the years, only one had recorded more than one 100-yard receiving game as a rookie. That was Al Toon, the 10th overall draft pick in 1985 who hung up hundred-yarders in back-to-back games at Miami and vs. Tampa Bay.

That distinction stood until Wilson got rolling. He had 102 yards in the first win this season at Cleveland, followed by 115 yards at home against New England to match Toon's achievement. Then Wilson erupted vs. the Vikings for 162 yards on eight catches and this Jets rookie record was his alone.

Taking Aim at a Key Statistic
Next in Wilson's sights, the week after Minnesota, was first overall selection Keyshawn Johnson's rookie receiving yardage record of 844 yards, on 63 catches, in 1996. The way Wilson was racking up the numbers, this one appeared vulnerable for a while. And in the game at Buffalo, it came tumbling down. Wilson entered with 790 yards, and his 78 yards on six receptions from Mike White lifted him past Johnson.

In the last three games, Wilson was looking to grab another Jets mark that is also an NFL standard: 1,000 receiving yards by a first-year player. He needed 34 yards vs. the Jaguars but got only 30, so perhaps on his first reception at Seattle a week from Sunday, he'll become the Green & White's only member in the One-Grand Rookie Club.

Catching and Passing Chrebet
Another Green & White rookie standard has been Wayne Chrebet's 66 receptions as the fan-favorite free agent from Hofstra in 1995. Wilson chipped away week by week until he went into last Sunday's Detroit game with 63 catches. He was held to two catches most of the way, until he caught a couple of Zach Wilson connections on the Jets' final drive, a 22-yarder to tie Chrebet and a 10-yarder to pass him.

Be Prepared, Wesley
Wilson doesn't have this one yet but he's got two games to get there. The record is most "explosive" receptions, a favorite term of head coach Robert Saleh that we'll define here as receptions of 20-plus yards. Which Jets rookie has the most explosives in a season? It's not even close — second-rounder Wesley Walker had 16 such catches in 1977, hinting at the longball magic that was to come in his Jets career.

Derrick Gaffney got to 12 catches in '78 and Rob Moore grabbed a dozen in '90, but no one challenged Walker in this category ... until Wilson made three chunk-play (old term) receptions vs. the Lions to get to 12. Garrett's got two games to get four more explosives to match Walker, five more to surpass his gold standard.

There is no rookie record for yards after catch because YAC still is an unofficial statistic that doesn't go back to the early days of the franchise. Despite this caveat, we can say that Quincy Enunwa, now a commentator, was one of the great YAC receivers during his short time in green and white.

According to our unofficial records, in the last 26 seasons, Enunwa has the three best YAC seasons of any Jets wideout with at least 20 catches, and that includes his rookie campaign of 2015 with a 6.2 yards/catch average. Wilson's not likely to match that mark since he has a healthy but not-in-the-Q-neighborhood 5.0 YAC average after J-Ville, tied with another Legend-ary Jets WR, Laveranues Coles, who also had a 5.0 average in 2000.

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