After the Jets effort to obtain Tyreek Hill from Kansas City, an effort that ultimately did not succeed when the Chiefs shipped the game-breaking WR to Miami, they could elect to address wide receiver early in the Draft.
"This was a unique opportunity," GM Joe Douglas said about the prospect of giving second-year QB Zach Wilson a "youthful veteran" and premier target. While maintaining he'll be ready to strike if the right player presents himself, the Jets have valuable early draft capital with the No. 4 and No. 10 selections in the first round, plus No. 35 and No. 38 in Friday's second round.
In one of a series of NFL Draft Previews with Eric Allen and Ethan Greenberg of nyjets.com, Dane Brugler of The Athletic put his focus on the deep reservoir of talent at wide receiver, perhaps the position group most stacked with potential game-breakers. Any of the five players below would augment the Jets' already solid and evolving WR group.
Garrett Wilson (6-0, 188), Ohio State -- Elite speed (4.38 in the 40 at the Combine; fifth-best among the position group), a 36-inch vertical jump, good hands and an impeccable route-runner, Wilson reminds some observers of the Colts' former star WR Marvin Harrison. A three-sport star in high school, he turned down a basketball scholarship offer to catch the oblong ball for the Buckeyes. His numbers improved year on year at Ohio State, culminating in 2021 with 70 catches, 1,058 yards (15.1 yards per catch) and 12 TDs. Wilson may not be a true "burner," but his intangibles are off the charts.
Brugler said: "It comes down to what he does before and after the catch, getting open and creating separation. He does that well right now and you feel that he's going to get better as a route runner as he continues to develop. Not the biggest guy, but the way he plays through contact, the body control, so he can make contested catches, getting open before the catch to me, that's the biggest difference."
Treylon Burks (6-3, 225), Arkansas-- Burks is an imposing physical specimen capable of filling myriad roles, much like Deebo Samuel does for San Francisco. For the Razorbacks in the 2021 season, Burks amassed 1,104 yards in the air with 11 TDs while rushing 112 yds. His 2,399 career receiving yards are the sixth-most in school history. He could be an interesting complement, in terms of physical presence, to Jets current WR corps of Corey Davis, Elijah Moore and Braxton Berrios.
Brugler said: "Six-three, 230-pound wide receivers shouldn't be able to move like that. He did every drill at the Combine. He says he tries to 'mimic' his game after Deebo Samuel, which fits my LB-size Deebo competition. Overall, Burks is underdeveloped as an outside route runner, but he is a dynamic weapon with the ball in his hands and boasts the unique blend of size, athleticism and ball skills to grow into an NFL team's No. 1 receiver."
Drake London (6-5, 210), USC -- London is considered to be a top possession receiver, using his height and strength to out-battle cornerbacks. He was well on his way to a stellar season before being hit by injury at the end of October. Still, he put up 88 receptions for 1,084 yards (12.3 yards a catch) with 7 TDs. Turned in dominant performances in losses to Utah (16 catches, 162 yards) and Notre Dame (15 catches, 171 yards). Strong up top, London will not shy away from engaging in blocks at the line of scrimmage and downfield.
Brugler said: "When you look at Drake London, the ultimate respect of a receiver is that when you know where the football is going. Everyone in the stadium knows where the football is going and the defense still can't do anything about it. He averaged 15 targets per game and if he didn't get hurt, his final season production would have been astronomical. I think the fact he can win at the catch point, he's a bully, his focus and ball skills are outstanding. You just can trust him."
Jameson Williams (6-2, 189), Alabama -- A spectacular season came to a crushing conclusion when Williams sustained an ACL injury in Alabama's loss to Georgia in the National Championship Game. His ability to quickly rehab and be ready for the start of the 2022 NFL season has raised questions among potential suitors and could mean the difference between a top 10 spot in the first round and being picked later. The 2021 season put Williams' skills and stats on full display: 79 receptions, 1,572 yards (19.9 yards a catch) and 15 TDs. He had been rated the top WR in the draft before the injury; now it's a question if a team would be willing to make a value pick and wait until perhaps October or November for Williams to be ready for action.
Brugler said: "Every receiver is available there at 10, no receivers have been drafted yet. If you grade Jameson Williams, a healthy Jameson Williams, as being the most impactful receiver in this draft for your team and doctors say knee progressing well and a timeline, say midseason, you draft him."
Chris Olave (6-1, 189) Ohio State -- Olave grabbed 13 TD passes in 2021 (he sat out the Rose Bowl and announced for the NFL Draft), leaving Ohio State as the school's career leader in TD receptions. What he might lack in size, Olave makes up for with soft, Velcro-like hands. His 2021 season ended with 65 receptions in 11 games for 936 yards (14.4 yards a catch) and those 13 TD receptions.
Brugler said: "Chris Olave is a very smooth player, a very seasoned route runner, doesn't give you much after the catch and you wonder about the physicality."