Heading into a Week 5 matchup with the Atlanta Falcons, the New York Jets are desperately hoping that one of their young wide receivers will step up. One player who could emerge is undrafted rookie Ryan Spadola.
A small-school talent who slipped through the cracks of the 2013 NFL Draft, Spadola has played sparingly for the Jets early on in his rookie campaign. With injuries likely to keep starters Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill out of the game, though, Spadola could get his first chance to see significant snaps.
While Jeremy Kerley and Clyde Gates are expected to start the game out wide for the Jets, Spadola should slide into the No. 3 role. That could open up a door for the rookie out of Lehigh to assert himself as a reliable target for quarterback Geno Smith.
Through the first four games of the season, Spadola has failed to haul in a pass during limited playing time. He never saw the field in Week 3, and has totaled just 26 snaps in the other three contests he has played in. The one pass that has come his way was dropped due to outstanding coverage courtesy of New England Patriots free safety Devin McCourty.
Spadola is an under-the-radar receiver who has quietly worked his way into the rotation for the Jets. His first – and possibly only – opportunity might come because of injuries, but if he can capitalize on the extended playing time, Spadola could carve a niche for himself in the New York passing attack.
Keep an eye out on Monday night for No. 85, who could emerge as a significant part of the Jets’ offense.