For all the talk about the new quarterback working out at the New York Jets‘ three-day rookie mini-camp this weekend, there hasn’t been too much discussion about the guys that Geno Smith has been throwing to.
The Jets receiving corps is short on experience, with Santonio Holmes the only seasoned veteran, and the Jets didn’t address the position via the draft this year. Holmes is still recovering from a devastating foot injury as well.
Nevertheless, the Jets signed four undrafted free agent rookie wide receivers after the 2013 NFL Draft, and they’re at rookie mini-camp this weekend looking to show the coaching staff that they belong on an NFL field.
Former Tennessee wideout Zach Rogers (above) is among those guys. Unlike college teammates Cordarrelle Patterson and Justin Hunter, the 6’0, 172-lb Rogers did not hear his name called on draft weekend.
Rogers was an All-SEC Academic team selection twice in his college career, and he had with seven touchdown receptions in 2012. Picking up the playbook quickly is a good way to get on the coaching staff’s good side.
Antavious Wilson out of Marshall is another guy who got overshadowed by a high-profile teammate, as Wilson went undrafted after teammate Aaron Dobson was selected by the New England Patriots in round two.
When we discussed the rookie wideouts on my weekly podcast this past week, a guest of mine that spoke with Wilson believes the 6’1, 198-lb Wilson has the potential to be just as effective a player as Dobson in the pros.
The other two undrafted rookie receivers in camp are Brooklyn native KJ Stroud and New Jersey native Ryan Spadola. Stroud finished his college career at Bethune-Cookman, while Spadola starred at Lehigh.
Spadola, who is listed at 6’3, 200-lbs, grew up a Jets fan in Howell, NJ and racked up 232 career receptions for 3611 yards and 24 touchdowns at Lehigh. He’s a classic small-school kid with a chip on his shoulder.
The 6’3, 205-lb Stroud played at Rutgers for two seasons before transferring to Bethune-Cookman for his junior and senior seasons. He and the rest of his rookie teammates will be competing hard all summer long.
John Idzik has preached competition, and regardless of the names involved, the battle of the wide receivers is going to be a big one. It’s certainly worth keeping an eye on in rookie mini-camp and throughout the summer.