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NFL New York Jets

New York Jets WR Jeremy Kerley Could Emerge as One of the Best Slot Receivers in the NFL

Jeremy Kerley

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

There weren’t that many bright spots for the New York Jets in 2012, especially on their beleaguered offense. But wide receiver Jeremy Kerley shined in his second NFL season, despite who was throwing him the football.

The 5’9, 188-lb Kerley came up big in 2012, after he was pressed into service as the de facto number one option in the passing game due to injuries to wideouts Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill, and tight end Dustin Keller.

Kerley was targeted a team-high 88 times, catching 56 passes for 827 yards and two touchdowns. Not bad for a guy who only got on the field for about a third of his team’s snaps in 2011 as a rookie fifth-round draft pick.

While the numbers don’t look too gaudy, Kerley’s sophomore season was a big leap forward for the diminutive wideout, who proved that he could play on the outside if needed and be a reliable target wherever he lined up.

With new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg taking over the offense in 2013, Kerley has a chance to take an even bigger leap forward in year three, especially with the return of (hopefully) a healthy Santonio Holmes.

I believe Holmes and Kerley could thrive in a Mornhinweg offense that stresses sharp, precise route-running, and that would take a lot of the pressure off Stephen Hill as he tries to rebound from an inconsistent rookie year.

After seeing what Kerley did with bottom of the barrel quarterback play, it’s fun to imagine how good he can be, once the Jets’ quarterback play improves. It certainly doesn’t seem like it can be worse in 2013, that’s for certain.

Just 24 years old, Kerley has a chance to be develop into one of the best slot receivers in football over the next few years. Regardless of who’s throwing the football for the Jets, Kerley is definitely worth keeping an eye on.

Jon Presser is RantSports.com’s New York Jets Lead Columnist
Follow him on Twitter @metsjetsnets88 and on Google+