Originally written on Turn On The Jets  |  Last updated 7/21/13
Members of the New York Jets have varying levels of importance when it comes to the team’s success this upcoming season. The Jets could be ok if Dee Milliner doesn’t play lights out from Day 1 because they had a highly ranked pass defense with Kyle Wilson playing corner opposite Antonio Cromartie. If David Harris doesn’t bounce back from a subpar 2012 it will hurt less if Mo Wilkerson and Quinton Coples don’t consistently put pressure on the QB. Some would say Mark Sanchez and/or Geno Smith need be nothing more than glorified game manager and the offense can stil be successful if Chris Ivory produces. However, two Jets who absolutely have to deliver because of question marks surrounding the wide receiver position are Jeremy Kerley and Stephen Hill. Kerley, a 5th round draft pick in 2011, had 56 catches for 827 yards and 1 touchdown last season. Hill, a 2nd round pick last season, had 21 catches for 252 yards and 3 touchdowns. Due to the injury to Santonio Holmes last year, and his concerning prognosis for this season, Kerley becomes the de facto number one receiver. Hill, if healthy from his knee surgery that cost him five games last season, will line up opposite Kerley and be a vertical threat in Marty Morningwheg’s offense. Holmes’s injury coupled with the lack of depth behind the Jets top three receivers, make it evident that the Jets are depending alot of their passing offense’s success on the shoulders of a 2nd round pick and a 5th round pick, respectively  Let’s take a look at notable, and comparable, 2nd and 3rd day draft choices from 2003 to 2013 to see how they did at receiver, and see if that can help us gauge whether the Jets are smart or foolish to expect prolonged success from Kerley and Hill. Notable WRs drafted in 2nd-5th rounds Anquan Boldin, 2nd round, 2003: Big and physical target. Five 1,000 yard seasons, Super Bowl champion, appeared to have lost a step during the regular season in 2012-2013, but stepped up game in the playoffs and was huge reason Baltimore won Super Bowl. Brandon Lloyd, 4th round, 2003: Best season was in Denver in 2010, where he caught 77 catches for 1440 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has battled some injuries throughout career, missing 32 games and only playing 16 games 4 times in 9 seasons. Jerricho Cotchery, 4th round, 2003: drafted primarily as a punt returner by the Jets, put together three straight 70+ catch, 800+ yard seasons, eventually became the team’s slot WR, and then eventually their #1 WR, where he posted career highs of 82 catches for 1130 yards and 2 TDs. Vincent Jackson, 2nd round, 2004: played sparingly his first two seasons before seeing an increase in playing time and has now posted 50+ catches, 1000+ yards, and 7+ touchdowns in 4 of the last 5 seasons. Greg Jennings, 2nd round, 2006: 2 Pro Bowls, 5 straight 50+ catch, 900+ yards, 4+ touchdown seasons until injuries hampered him last year. Sidney Rice, 2nd round, 2007: Best season was with Breet Favre at QB, as he posted career highs in catches (83), yards (1512), and touchdowns (8). Hasn’t duplicated that success since, but did have 50 catches for 748 yards and 7 touchdowns last year with Seattle. Jordy Nelson, 2nd round, 2008: Had 68 catches for 1263 yards and 15 TDs in 2011 as he stepped into a starting role while Donald Driver battled injuries. Battled injuries himself last year, as he missed four games. Mike Wallace, 3rd round, 2009: 1 Pro Bowl appearance, three straight seasons with 60+ catches, 800+ yards, and 8+ touchdowns, played in 63 out of a possible 64 games in his career. Golden Tate, 2nd round, 2010: career highs of 45 catches and 688 yards last year while playing primarily in the slot for Seattle. Torrey Smith, 2nd round, 2011: Back to back seasons of at least 45 receptions, 800 yards and 7 touchdowns. Led the league in yards per reception in 2012. Randall Cobb, 2nd round, 2011: 80 catches for 954 yards and 8 touchdowns last year as Cobb became the Packers’s primary slot receiver while Jordy Nelson transitioned to the Split End. What This Means for the Jets Many teams have been able to strike gold with their second and third day draft picks in regards to wide receivers. For example, the Packers drafted a very good WR in Greg Jennings, currently in Minnesota, and were able to compensate for his departure by drafting Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. The Steelers prepared for the eventual retirement of Hines Ward by drafting Mike Wallace. Anquan Boldin had success in Baltimore, but Baltimore was able to draft his replacement (Torrey Smith) in the second round in 2011. The good teams are able to draft and develop their own WRs. Not listed above were Ben Hartline, Eric Decker, and Julian Edelman, who have had varying levels of success in the NFL after being drafted in the second and third days of the draft. The Jets have a player in Kerley who merits some comparison to Randall Cobb on this list: both ran 40s in the 4.46-4.56 range, and Kerley has a 1 inch advantage on their vertical leaps. Both were drafted with high expectations on special teams; one scout said that Cobb “does not possesses great top-end speed and not overly elusive in the open field” and the same scout said that Kerley “lacks the top end speed to stretch the field at the next level.” They both excel in space, and are able to be lined up all over the field to exploit mismatches. Last year, with arguably the worst QB play in the entire league, Kerley was able to produce. Therefore, it isn’t foolish for the Jets to depend on Kerley and expect prolonged success if healthy. Stephen Hill is another matter. The player he compares to the most on this list is Sidney Rice. Hill has about 15 more pounds on Rice, and out ran Rice’s 40 time by .15 (4.36 for Hill, 4.51 for Rice). Both have 39.5 verticals, and both have battled knee injuries. Both have struggled with consistency. With the potential emergence of one of he Jets UDFAs or maybe the signing off a veteran at the end of preseason, Hill needs to show strides in training camp. At this point, he hasn’t shown enough to expect production at the level the Jets will need.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Kobe responds to Aldridge report with funny meme

One pitch away: Carrasco loses no-hitter in bottom of the 9th

England loses World Cup semifinal to Japan in heartbreaking fashion

Braxton Miller had 'successful' check-up visit

Raptors signing Carroll is shrewdest move of free agency

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Los Angeles Clippers will sign Paul Pierce

With Kevin Love retained, the Cavs can take care of LeBron

Aldridge crosses Lakers off list, did not mesh well with Kobe

Jerry Dipoto officially steps down as Angels GM

Report: Rajon Rondo wants 'all of' Kings' $10M cap space

Reports: Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson returning to Cavs

David West explains why he opted out of Pacers contract

Warriors, Draymond Green agree to 5-year, $85 million deal

Twins call up top prospect Miguel Sano

Robert Griffin III speaks at UN to advocate for protecting oceans

Cavaliers re-sign Iman Shumpert to four-year contract

Mike Green is joining the Red Wings on a three-year deal

Grading the deal: Davis commits to Pelicans until 2020

ESPN denies censoring Keith Olbermann commentary

The best and worst MLB players in the month of June

Report: Lakers didn’t make strong impression on Aldridge

Danny Green takes the Andre Iguodala path

DeSean Jackson rips Eagles in new reality TV show

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

With Love retained, the Cavs can take care of LeBron

Grading the deal: Davis commits to Pelicans

Obama Administration: Change name if Redskins move to D.C.

Deciding what the All-Star Game means

Odell Beckham Jr. offered professional baseball contract

Orioles keep finding a way to win

Lloyd sends USWNT to World Cup final

Selecting the 2015 AL All-Stars

NBA Draft grades: Eastern Conference

Under the radar NBA free agents

Michael Sam, boyfriend broke up?

Mickelson linked to money laundering?

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.